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Discover your future self and your worth!

  • Dorisse Shakir-Ullah

Can I Really Do It All?

For me, the answer is no. I have learned that balancing a career, family, and self-care is a difficult juggling act that I haven’t mastered. Before I retired from my position as an administrative officer with the FBI, I worked long hours, weekends, and most holidays. In addition to my demanding job, I was a mom of four kids, wife, parent caregiver, and a volunteer. Looking back, I wonder how I managed to be pulled in so many directions while trying to meet everyone's needs, often overlooking my own self-care. I convinced myself that I had it under control until one day my body showed me otherwise.


Fast forward to the other side of my 'pause,' which brought me a moment of clarity and an opportunity to be okay with not being the woman with the superhero cape. I’m still a hard charger, but I have learned to allow myself grace, practice gratitude, and set boundaries. I discovered ways to protect my peace while still pursuing my goals. Justin Mecham shared 72% of workers report feeling stressed at work. (American Psychological Association) so the right boundaries, can help take control of your energy.


Mecham’s infographic "10 Boundaries You Need" reminded me of practices I use (not perfectly) to be okay with no longer being the 'superhero.' It was hard putting away my cape, and my hyper-achiever saboteur tested me often. I found myself slipping back into unrealistic expectations about what I could get done in a day and why I couldn’t ask for help. I imagined being a performer with multiple plates spinning on tiny sticks, praying that I kept all the plates balanced and spinning. To avoid disappointing others, I would take on a smaller plate or two. This was an unsustainable cycle, and it was not a healthy balance of work, family, and self-care.


Two life-changing moments reshaped my world. The first was the unexpected passing of my mom, and the second was my introduction to coaching through the Federal Internal Coach Training Program (FICTP) in 2016. I’ll save the first life-changing moment for another time. What I gained from completing the FICTP and becoming a coach changed the trajectory of how I move through life and value the gifted moments I get. I learned to be more intentional in my choices and I’ve become protective of my peace. In my career, it enhanced my leadership style, presence, influence, team building, listening skills, and much more. I discovered a better approach in developing people, managing performance challenges, delegating responsibilities, setting limits, resolving conflicts and minimizing negative energy as part of my self-care routine.


Allow me to share six (6) actionable activities I use. Feel free to choose any, all or none:


1. Embrace the Journey: Setting boundaries is not about achieving perfection but embracing the journey of growth and self-discovery. Each step you take towards better self-care is a victory worth celebrating.

2. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Recognize that every boundary you set is a step towards a healthier and more balanced life.

3. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that it's okay to say no and prioritize your well-being. Self-compassion is a powerful tool in maintaining your mental and emotional health.

4. Share Your Story: Inspire others by sharing your experiences. Your journey can provide hope and encouragement to those struggling to find their balance.

5. Create a Support Network: Surround yourself with people who support your goals and respect your boundaries. A strong support network can provide the encouragement and accountability you need.

6. Exercise Mindful Practices: Incorporate mindfulness practices into your routine. Whether it's meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few moments to breathe deeply, mindfulness can help you stay grounded and focused. The Office of Personnel Management offers an incredible opportunity for Federal workforce and retirees to accomplish mindfulness-based strategies through the Mindful Fed initiative: MINDFUL FED . I take advantage of these sessions regularly.

I can't do it all, but I can prioritize things by setting boundaries like those in Mecham’s infographic and feel good about it. Setting boundaries is essential for maintaining peace and self-care. It’s a journey that requires patience, practice, and self-compassion. Remember, you don’t have to do it all. By prioritizing and protecting your well-being, you could elevate your moments to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

What resonates for you?


Book a discovery call to talk. ~ Coach Dorisse Shakir-Ullah, Career & Personal Growth Strategist for dedicated Federal professionals and those who dream of a Federal career of service.

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1 Comment

Jul 03

Great insights!

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