I decided that this year would be my year and that I would make my long for dreams real and then I felt really overwhelmed by all that that could entail. I realised that this is a normal pattern for me and it’s why things keep staying pretty much the same so I had to stir it all up.
So I’ve started working in a different way, including using different planning tools to keep me on track with my beloved Make It Happen Journal (loving how this works so effectively), being rather brutally frank with myself about my own limitations and setting more realistic goals.
Dad Expects Me to Be Ambitious
It was a conversation (maybe read argument) with my dad about my business that got me thinking about ambition. Dad expects me to have the same sort of ambition that drove him to grow a really successful small business. I initially baulked at this, knowing that he didn’t really love the field itself, his hobbies were where his passion lay and I want to live my life differently.
But it got me thinking about ambition. I had to really question myself about what it meant to me. Dad was driven by different factors to me but he still expected me to have the same level of ambition as him. Now I don’t know if he sees where the differences are but I’ve realised that he’s seen ambition in me.
Finding My Meaning of Ambition
I had to really question what ambition meant to me and it was really quite liberating because, I am ambitious. I enjoy being ambitious. Unfortunately there were experiences from my own corporate life that had me layering on some really negative meanings to ambition. I was folding into it the behaviour of some really nasty, huge egos that were succeeding by being bullies and I didn’t like that.
So I wrote out what I saw as the negative aspects of ambition next to what I saw as positive elements of it and that was really enlightening. I could see where my personal and professional values fitted and clearly understand why I’d started bundling into ambition some strong negative feelings. I don’t have to behave like those morons. I live by my own lights. And I actually enjoy being ambitious.
I want to have a successful creative business. I want to define that success by my own terms. I’ve felt that way for ages and I’ve come to see that by having some negative thoughts around what it takes to achieve this success I’ve been limiting myself.
I Enjoy Being Focused and Determined
This all lighted a weight within me and the thoughts started flowing more freely. I not only enjoy being ambitious, I enjoy being focused and determined.
Taking hold of a project and getting stuck into makes me feel good. It’s why family members give me the difficult presents to hunt down because I’m dogged in my pursuit of them, I’m determined and focused. And I like it.
I also like the results. I get things done when my sights are set and I go after that target. It works in all manner of areas, from ideal Christmas gifts to saving for a holiday to designing a new range to building the online store to becoming a permanent at the top artisan market in the country.
And this my friends, is ambitious, focused determination. And it is a very fine thing.
I’m enjoying owning it.
I’m getting more things done and loving the feeling of ticking things off my goals for the year list.
It’s motivating too. When I’m wading through the grunt work needed to achieve my current project I look at the little sign I made for myself saying “I enjoy being ambitious, focused and determined” and I plough on. When the task is done, I pat myself on the back and say “I enjoy being ambitious, focused and determined” and smile like a satisfied cat.
While I’ve been looking at this strange phenomenon that is “Ambition” I’ve realised that as women we can often put negative meanings to it, that we can leave it as something that is more male than female with comments like “oh no, I’m not ambitious, I just want to…”. And to be frank that’s just stinking rubbish. I understand why we sometimes do it, but really, it’s so much more fun owning ambition and it’s results.
Put a Girl In Front of It
In this era when we feel there is a need to put Girl in front of words like Boss or Female in front of Entrepreneur I’m wondering if we will come up with some female term for ambition just so it can be more easily accepted. But is that really necessary? What about an honest conversation with yourself?
Personally I’ve been a boss and an entrepreneur for most of my working life with my own businesses since I was 24 years old. There are certainly more women owned businesses now than there were 25 years ago but every single business owner, every entrepreneur, every boss is ambitious. Maybe not are as focused and determined as they need to be to keep their businesses.
Why Let Ambition Be A Male Thing?
But why let ambition be a male thing? I was certainly letting that happen for a while with the limitations I was accepting and the ugly meanings I was layering onto it. I’m so glad I had the “conversation” with dad now. His disappointment in my apparent lack of ambition got me questioning it. And I did question it with my usual stubborn, honest to a fault, focused determination to get to the bottom of it.
My ambition includes me passionately wanting to keep living this creative life I love so deeply. It encompasses the determination that it will be a good life that is rooted in financial security and freedom because poverty breaks the spirit. I want my spirit to soar, I want to make profits and do good. I want to create positive change in this world and I want that to be achieved through a successful creative artist business making ceramic jewellery.
I am being bold for change by being ambitious, focused and determined and it will change not only my life but those that I share it with.