Food For Thought: A Note on Ambition

April 17, 2019

Photo By: John Parkinson III
One of my favorite podcasts - the life coach school podcast - has an episode about ambition that really challenged the way I look at ambition and the reasons why I pursue the things I do. I get so much value from this podcast. Not because I want to become a life coach, but because it focuses on teaching the tools we need to cultivate our minds and control our thoughts and emotions. And since our emotions influence our actions, really this podcast is teaching us how to develop discipline so we can achieve our goals.

I’ve always been a pretty ambitious and driven person. I thrive when I’m in that state, but I never realized the key problematic factors that Brooke points out and anyone who’s ambitious should address.

There’s one question that she repeats during the podcast that made me stop and pause while on my commute to work, “why are you ambitious or why aren’t you ambitious?”

For me, the answer to this question has changed over the years. I used to be ambitious because I thought I had to be an overachiever in order to be valued and to be important. This was not a healthy attitude because I was driven by fear and the belief that I wasn't good enough unless I was achieving great things. And that’s not a sustainable driving factor. This fear led to burnout and depression: two things I’m still actively working to recover from.

And this lead to an interesting chapter in my life... the lack of ambition... because I stopped believing I was capable of getting what I wanted, so I avoided (and have recently been avoiding) taking massive action. This is a mindset I'm battling every day so I can get back to the version of me that follows through on my word to myself... for myself and myself alone.

But then there was this other point that Brooke made that completely disturbed my previous ideas about ambition, success, and achievement. She believes (and I now believe this too) that if you're ambitions because you think you’ll be happier once you achieve x y & z, you’re going to be disappointed. You might be coming from a place of lack instead of learning to be at peace in the moment - and we all know we aren’t promised another moment on this earth, so we should take advantage of the moments we do have.

Fuck... that’s exactly how I’ve lived my entire life!! By chasing external achievements, expecting to be happy when I make a certain salary, find the love of my life, live in that dream apartment/townhome, don’t have to stress about money, am completely debt-free, etc... If I work hard enough, all of these problems will disappear, and I’ll live happily ever after, right? Hahahaha wrong Nia.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will never give up on my dreams and desires. I’ve taken breaks from massively pursuing my goals, but I’ve never given up on them because when I’m growing and overcoming obstacles, that’s when I feel the most inspired, invigorated and fulfilled. Being ambitious is not the issue. Being ambitious because I want to contribute to the world and continue to grow into the person I want to be is a goal I’m very proud of. But when my ambition is driven by lack and fear (aka two things that have been trying to run my life for the past 3 years) and because I think that once I achieve that goal, I’ll finally be happy, that’s when my mental, spiritual and physical health starts to deteriorate. That’s when I start being cruel to myself and telling myself that I have to push harder in order to be worthy of success and love and happiness. But I am already worthy of those things. You are already worthy of those things too.

My main goal of the year was to grow my business, but now my main goal is to stop looking outside myself for fulfillment and a sense of purpose. My name literally means purpose afterall, and I believe our purpose is to focus on becoming the best version of ourselves, regardless of what other people think or say.  I want to create a tiered business that serves others, but I want to do so from a place of love, contribution and peace, not from a place of fear, misery or selfishness. And I can’t do that until I heal my relationship with myself. This podcast is helping me do just that. It is a daily reminder that I should let go of shaming myself for not being ”perfect” and not being “good enough”.

This podcast is just one of the critical tools that’s helping me actually learn how to love myself. While I’m learning to love all parts of myself, I’m also learning to appreciate the discomfort that comes with growing into the best version of myself. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you today. I hope you related to something in this post today and feel less alone/scared if you've been battling the same sense of scarcity and fear as I have. I’d love to hear what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s career-oriented, health-oriented or romance-oriented, ambition can impact every area of our lives. But most importantly, I'd like to hear why you are pursuing that dream. Our job is to make sure that we are pursuing those ambitions for the right reasons. Thanks again for reading. Your support means the world to me. Be sure to leave a comment letting me know your thoughts about the podcast episode linked below! Until next time my friend.


Post a Comment

Latest Instagrams

© Nia Maria. Design by FCD.