How My Life Changed When I Redefined Ambition
I have been thinking about how the word ambition loads lately and what it means in 2017. The word conjures different images and feelings for different people, but almost universally there is an understanding that ambition looks like ‘going big’ and ultimately proving yourself in the broader, external world. It looks like striving for success, like goal-setting, taking action, not stopping until you’ve hit it and, most of all, doing, doing, doing.
There’s a tipping point. If you’re too ambitious, I’ve noticed, it can be viewed as a negative thing. You’re trying to do it all and might even be considered selfish. Not to mention, have you noticed how many ambitious people talk about all the blood and sweat when they do reach their goal? As if it’s only possible to get there by sacrificing your right arm, ignoring your children, and working 60 hour weeks. Not to mention, do you ever feel like your ambition limits your freedom?
Freedom to take a personal day and veg out.
Freedom to take that art class you’ve always wanted to take.
Freedom to focus on being a Mom. Full stop.
Despite all of that, I still describe myself as an ambitious woman, and I am drawn to women with ambition. However, I realized when working with a client recently that my vision of ambition looks very different than the traditional, more masculine picture that I described above.
I’m inviting you to reconsider how you define ambition because the belief you’re currently holding might be keeping you from really getting to know yourself and may be causing unnecessary struggle.
My vision of ambition is one that marries doing and being.
Ambition isn’t merely the fire that gets me from where I am to where I want to be. It is the experiencing of the fire, the enjoyment of the fire. Some would say it’s a combination of feminine and masculine energies. I don’t disagree entirely.
I think of ambition as having two halves: one-half seeks opportunity and experiences; the other half relishes and delights in each moment of those experiences. Thus, allowing you to experience yourself in the process and work with your drive in a way that feels more graceful, and less of a struggle.
This idea that ambition has to be, “Go Big or Stay Home” isn’t always true. Did you ever hold this belief, and in what way?
Where in your life have you been “going smaller” as part of a conscious decision? Was it because in the midst of your ambition, struggle began to trump your joy? Or worse, your freedom?
I invite you to enjoy the experience of your own ambition. If you were to adopt this new definition for just today, how might your world shift?
I want to know! The CWM community wants to hear too. Share in the comments below. I know for me, the striving and proving ended and I found a new level of freedom and happiness.