At the end of the day, there is nothing like the ROI of being a parent or loving someone else with abandon. That is what it's about.

I have an apology for someone very near to me that needs to be said.  Her big brown eyes couldn’t comprehend the guilt I hold, but something tells me that when she is older, she’ll understand. In between clients and personal brand and networking and life… I’ve said too many times to my daughter, “not now, I need to do this,” or, “give me 10 minutes,” which never equaled just 10 minutes. Somewhere in the midst of professional and parental, hiding inside a princess tent or playing Polly Pockets came in a lousy second to my life online.  And I’m deeply sorry.

I came home tonight, after experiencing one of the most selfless gifts from another person and looked my daughter in the eye to tell her I was sorry but I had ‘more work‘ to do. She sat quietly at dinner as I plugged away on a presentation I offered to give… for what? For branding? To have more people know my name? To become wealthier or smarter or anything but fulfill a little girl’s wish that we watch a movie and ‘snuggle.’ It’s one of the hardest lessons I’ve hard to learn: saying “no.”

I write this now as her little body is cuddled in exactly 5 blankets, (it’s never less,) and her fingers clutch the stuffed animals I pick up thoughtfully when out, or when I can imagine her face twisting into glee knowing she has something else to love. I think most parents face this, single or not, wealthy or not, successful or not. At what price does our success cost to our families? For others, it’s at what price do families cost success. The truth is: The grass not under our feet may always be greener.

I’ve always felt a certain pride knowing I had ‘boundries’ for meetings. I’m not a happy-hour drinker, or an early morning coffee grabber- I’m a graveyard shifter and a midnight oil-burner. Somehow, I’ve managed to connect the dots in my life and bring people along while proudly displaying my best ROI in tow at the grocery store or out to dinner. In the past month, I’ve let myself feel guilty for not being able to fulfill every need, every wish and every want with 100% precision. For someone that talks about being human, I’ve made myself too much of a machine.

I’ve been focusing so much on the art of saying “no,” (because it is an art.) I’ve focused however, not on the word “no” but on making sure I’ve said it to others, when really I needed to say it to myself. In my push to help one more person get back to work, or one more client reach a successful spike in sales, I’ve misconstrued the notion that I could do it all. No one can. Success is about knowing your strengths, living them out loud and reflecting on your weaknesses. Perfectionism, as a parent has high costs. We hold ourself to unreachable standards and instead of sympathizing or offering ourselves a realistic glance into a situation, we often criticize. Perfectionism in business can be equally challenging.

From now on, you may not find me online much during the hours of 5-8 and I’ve decided to turn my phone off promptly before dinner. I need the feeling of rug-imprinted knees from picking up puzzle pieces or tiny, Barbie shoes. You’ll hear the giggles radiating from my living room not because of something on Twitter, but because I’m taking every moment with my daughter again, before she no longer wants to humor her mother inside a small, pink, princess tent.

My struggle to prove I can do it all came to a beautiful head as I sat quietly after cuddling my daughter for an hour and made a difficult decision. I’ve worked hard to bring her and I to this place and now, it’s time to enjoy it. I know you’ll forgive me, because I know you face this too: the unbearable desire to be everything, all at once.  The need to always be ‘on’ or dedicating your life to differentiating yourself in today’s market is hurtingus all. Sometimes, it’s alright to close the computer, turn off the phone and sing silly kindergarten songs until your daughter laughs so hard she clutches her tummy and says, “This is why I love you.”

As we grow older, (or younger,) our factors of success change. Real life doesn’t have a Klout score, or a PeerIndex to tell us that our parental abilities have dipped from Thought Leader to Explorer. What matters is what we think and feel. Real life’s analytics are what separate us as friends, family, lovers and partners.

My big, kindergarten brown-eyed girl, I’d trade you for any metric. I don’t want to wait until you’re old enough to understand all the times I couldn’t. I want you to remember all the times I did. You are my favorite success story, afterall….