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Ambition Revised – It’s Not Just a Work Thing

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     1.having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.

Did you notice that the definition above doesn’t end with:
“…. determination to succeed in your career.”? Or,
“…. determination to succeed at work.”?

It has taken me this long to discover a huge misconception I’ve had about my ambition. I used to define ambition the way society defines it: get to the top of my field, gain financial freedom, have lots of “followers.” But, when I quickly scanned my life, I wondered why I never took the time to acknowledge my desire and determination to succeed in terms of my: marriage, family, home, friendships, work, and all the friggin’ energy I invest in stupid personal growth.

When I take the time to appreciate the scope of ambition, I’m able to recognise it all around me. Ambition can be found not just in landing a job, but in leaving one, not just in staying married, but in walking away from an unhappy marriage, not just in the choice to have children, but in the choice not to have them. The goal is not just the top of the mountain, it’s all the climbing, day after day– through the cold, the rain, the pandemic, the grieving process. Ambition can be seen in the perseverance of every step, both forward and backward.

I think identifying the ambitious acts in my life goes back to what I learned from Greg McKeown in the book Essentialism that I mentioned in a post I wrote in 2021. What does “done” look like for me? Done looks like: planning date nights week after week for the health of my marriage; getting the friggin’ furnace serviced; showing up for ladies’ nights and meditation groups; being willing to put up with the attitude I’m going to get when I make the hard-but-right parenting choice; cooking and loading and running and emptying the dishwasher, over and over and over, again and again. It’s ALL THE THINGS. And I don’t get a special title, I can’t see it in my bank account, and it doesn’t get me a single “follower.” Being “done” is just showing up, day after day, with the desire and determination to succeed. Now, let’s take a deep breath together and acknowledge all our hard work: We’re doing a great job, TeamC!

BLOG: Ambition Came to Talk to Me and this Is What She Said
PODCAST: Ambition Came to Talk to Me and this Is What She Said

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  1. Amen! Thank you for this gift.

    • Lisa, you know I’m always more than happy to tell you, anytime you need to hear it, how hard you work and what a phenomenal job you’re doing!!!

  2. As a proud team member “unofficially” since 1978 and “officially” since 1992, that was beautifully put. Thank you for the reminder?

    • *** MVP Member ***
      And, I can speak to how much effort you put in — very, VERY AMBITIOUS!
      *** KEEP UP THE SUPER WORK ***

  3. Thank you Mags! A great reminder and perspective check once again. While I haven’t considered my ambition in that way, it is a nice reminder to recognize all the “little” things we do every day … why we do them and maybe, just maybe that we do them well! I like this line “Being “done” is just showing up, day after day, with the desire and determination to succeed.” CHECK!

    • I think it’s tough to remember this stuff when we’re being flooded with messages and images that benefit from us feeling scared and “less than.”
      It honestly takes me some time to get to a place where I can really soak in all the effort put into being a kind and loving human.
      And teenagers can make that a real challenge 🙂

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