Amy Rees Anderson

Sometimes You Have to Choose

Sometimes in life you are faced with a choice between two things that both matter to you.  Today I had that experience.  I will give you some background that will help explain the situation: 

My entire life since I was old enough to have a workers permit (which I think was 14 years old) I have had a job.  Growing up in a family of ten kids it was necessary for all of us to get jobs and start saving money for college as soon as we could.  I worked through High School and College and I worked until the day my water broke with my first baby (it broke on the job…awkward) and then I was back to work a month later because I simply couldn’t afford to take a full six weeks off.  I did the same thing when my daughter was born (but gratefully my water didn’t break at work this time 🙂  ).  I then started my first company when my daughter was about six months old and I have been running my own companies since that time as an entrepreneur, which meant working crazy hours for both my kids entire lives.  When I sold my company in 2012 my son was just leaving on his mission for two years.  I had just launched my charity, the IPOP Foundation, and then I transitioned out of my sold company and immediately started REES Capital.  So the bottom line is that I had not had a break away from working my job for my children’s entire lives, in fact their entire lives I have always worked more than full-time because I was an entrepreneur growing a large company and it required crazy hours of time.

With that background you will understand the choice I faced this summer.  I had committed to my children that once my son returned from his mission that I would take this entire summer off of work and focus all my attention on my family to play and do fun things with them.  With both of them leaving home in the fall for college I knew this summer would be a unique time in our life when I could actually afford not to work for a summer and spend all my time having fun with them and I felt I owed them that much after all the years they sacrificed their moms time for her job.  So that is exactly what we did.  I let everyone know that I was taking the summer off with my family and everything else would have to be on hold until September.   I have to admit it was such a foreign experience for me to do that with work and it caused serious anxiety at first….I felt seriously guilty for saying no to everyone’s requests for meetings. It was really hard for me to do, even though I was super excited to spend the time with my kids.

Then as I got into the summer I started getting presented with opportunities to be involved in things that I would have loved to say yes to.  Then today I was presented with a choice to be involved in something or possibly lose the opportunity all together….it was a really tough thing for me because it was something that really mattered to me and that I wanted to be a part of it and I hated the fact that by asking to delay it I would be risking the opportunity all together.  But I had to make a choice….In the end I had to remind myself that I had made the decision to put my family above all else this summer, no exceptions, and even if that meant I would lose out on some other opportunities that I needed to be okay with that…I had to pick what mattered most to me over other things that mattered.  My family matters most to me and that was the choice I made.

I think there will be a lot of times in our lives when we have to choose between two good things and by choosing one opportunity we have to be willing to risk losing the other.  That is just the way it is.  But never let yourself regret it when you choose the thing that matters most.  Just feel good that you chose the best thing and let go of the “what if” questions that might linger about the other thing you had to let go.  You can never pick every option out there – you have to be ready to choose your priorities and then feel good about those choices.  Will it test you at times – sure!  Today I felt tested myself, but it also felt really good to stick to my guns on what I knew in my heart needed to come first….come what may.

Have a great day everyone.  Choose what matters most to you and don’t waste a minute thinking about what things that might cause you to lose…you still did the right thing.




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