- Courtesy of Valorie Burton
As a woman, it may sometimes seem that in order to be happy, you have to be a master juggler as well. The expectations of a successful woman in today's society can be a challenge but take heart, because you aren't struggling alone. There are tricks, says Valorie Burton, to being happy and successful at the same time without giving up the things that matter to you most.
Grow a Pair of Ovaries- Taking Risks is Good
"When you're young, you usually have a lot less to risk," life coach Valorie Burton said during an interview with The Christian Post. She points out that as people grow older, it become easier for them to become comfortable with the life they have, without necessarily acquiring their desired happiness along with it.
"The older people get, the more money they make, the more responsibilities they have, the more they're risking when they decide to do new things. I think it can feel scary," Burton suggests. But Burton still advises career women to go after their dreams.
"I don't think that going after your dreams is reckless. Not doing it, is something that you just don't get over," she said.
Former Cosmoplitan Editor Kate White has also offered similar advice. In a 2010 interview with College Candy, she stated that a "lot of confidence comes from taking risks and seeing that it pays off."
"Get your toe in the water and see how good it feels," she said. "You'll also discover how well taking risks and breaking rules pay off. It will make you do it again and again."
Don't Put Love on the Back Burner
For Burton, however, that doesn't mean just assessing your career if you happen to want a family as well. The path to acquiring a fulfilling life requires painting a full picture from the get go, according to the published author, who often deals with women's issues. One of her books includes "Successful Women Think Differently," and talks about habits that women can form to build happier lives.
"You have to be intentional about both your relationships and your career," Burton says.
Donald Trump and Stilettos
It is no easy task to balance a promising career and look for the man of your dreams all while your biological clock is ticking. If you have a husband and children, it may be difficult to move up the ladder and walk out the door every day in a pair of kill-your-feet heels. Why suggest, then, that women become some kind of hybrid between a Stepford wife and Donald Trump? It seems unlikely, if not impossible. For this reason, women are less happy than they were a decade ago, according to Burton.
"There is a lot of expectations on women that you're going to have a great career, you're going to have a great relationship, you're going to have great kids," Burton explained. "People will expect that you've got it together financially, that you look great, I mean it's just a lot."
But no one seems to expect Trump to be the perfect father figure with an esteemed public reputation and enduring marriage as he shuffles through his billions. Why is that? Burton says men just have it easier.
"Men don't have the same level of expectation," Burton points out. "The expectations for men, I think, are lower than they used to be because women are making a lot more money and having careers; they are contributing a lot more to the household."
"So the stress on a man compared to 40 years ago is totally different to when he was the head of house hold responsible for making the money and all of that was on his shoulders," Burton adds. "That's just not the case anymore and today more than 30 percent of households have women making more money than men."
"Life is a Journey, Not a Destination" – Ralph Waldo Emerson
So what is the key to happiness if you want to do it all? The answer may be to take time to reward yourself for what you've accomplished and stop feeling guilty about what you haven't.
"Women feel a lot of guilt whatever direction they go," Burton says, suggesting that women might feel that others are doing a better job of getting it all than they are. "I think that while there are a few that may be doing it all, it's not the majority."
In her book, she advises women to never settle, which hits home with a recent interview that Bette Midler did on Oprah's Next Chapter. Even Midler, an accomplished entertainer, admitted that she didn't feel she had become all that she wanted to be.
"I've settled into myself about 60 percent, the other 40 is still struggling ... The vestiges of that, 'Got to get there, got to get there.' The vestiges of that are still alive and they make themselves felt," Midler told Oprah during her appearance on OWN.
"We all want to get there," Burton suggests. But while it's good to have challenging goals, success is about becoming the woman that you want to be. We may never actually "get there," but that doesn't mean you aren't already amazing as you are. Better Midler, after all, has already won three Grammy awards at just "60 percent" of herself.