This piece by Grace Olivia Parry, a freelance writer and blogger, was originally published on www.wordsbygrace.com, where she shares pieces on her life as a writer, as well as snippets on careers, growth and development.
by Grace Olivia Parry
As a girl, I didn’t put an awful lot of thought into the person I wanted to be. It wasn’t all that encouraged and I guess in many unspoken ways, following suit was all that was expected of me. But I’ve never let that hold me back. That was never an option.
I may not have put a lot of thought into it, but I knew who I wanted to be, the kind of person I wanted to become and exactly how I wanted to live my life.
If you were to ask me who I am now, I’m not sure how I’d answer. There are so many things that we use to define ourselves with, including looks, personality and interests. I guess I could say redhead or outgoing or blogger, but I know I wouldn’t. These are a part of me, of who I am, but none of them define me.
From tween to teen to young adult and then onto now, there’s only one thing I can think of that sums up who I am, says a lot about me and definitely defines me. Ambition.
Ambition can mean many things to many people. For some it’s a career choice, others use it to express their frame of mind. For me, it’s both of those things and more. Ambition is the word I would choose to define who I am.
Over the years, I’ve heard the word ambition used in a negative light. Especially when discussing women. Ambition can signify ruthlessness and selfishness to some, but to me, it’s not so black and white. Being ambitious can never been seen as a bad thing, no matter what others try to make you believe.
Wanting to do good, work hard and earn achievement in whatever field you choose will always been a good thing. This is what I’ve always chosen to believe anyway. No, not chosen to, but simply believe, just because it feels natural.
I could only ever dream of conquering the world as a child. I never wanted to aim any lower than the sky. Even then, the sky was never the limit. Now, I’m no different. In fact, my ambition only burns brighter. I’ve never really thought about why I’m so ambitious, but if I step back for a moment now, I know the exact reason.
It’s all to do with happiness, passion and the drive to enjoy life. I’m not a settler and the words that will do don’t exist in my vocabulary. I have no time for resentment, regret or failure, in fact, I don’t even believe in all three. To me, choosing to be happy is all that matters and I think you’ll agree, having ambition certainly fuels that so much more than resentment, regret or worries of failure ever will.
Ambition doesn’t have to conjure up a highly strung image, even if the person in question is. It should stand for strength, wilfulness and a sense of achievement – no matter what the end result, expectation and performance level means to you. This is why I’m ambitious.
My ambition doesn’t just define me and what I stand for, it makes me who I am. It drives me and guides me, supports me and encourages me. That little burning fire I have built inside of me keeps me on track, keeps me smiling and keeps me grafting, even when I really don’t feel like it at all.
Ambition can be healthy. It is healthy, despite what some may lead you to believe. If and when I have a child, I wish for them to be fuelled by the same level of ambition as I am. To see the world for what it is, to seek out opportunities and value a strong work ethic. To me, ambition means that you’re trying; you’re doing everything you can to live your dreams, enjoy your life and be happy. Surely that’s all any parent can want for their child?
But it isn’t my own ambition that constantly keeps me inspired; it’s that of others. Some may choose to reflect negatively on themselves when faced with motivated, successful and ambition people, but for me, it has the complete opposite effect. There’s nothing that motivates me more than that infectious inspiration you get from hearing the success stories of others.
Successful people drive me. Their stories, their tips and their overall achievements serve as a constant reminder that anything is possible, the world is my oyster and nothing can hold me down. But I also think the act of appreciating the paths of others helps to share in our own motivation. Especially when it comes to other women.
As they say, Empowered Women, Empower Women. This is something I truly believe in. Supporting others, sharing in their successes and allowing them to share in yours helps to spread inspiration like nothing else can. It’s at moments like these when ambition can shine.
So the next time you even think about suppressing your appetite for success, feel shame after being called ambitious or doubt your desires, don’t. Ambition may mean different things to different people, but there’s no mistaking it’s power. Let it drive you in life, let it take you to places you’ve dreamed of and don’t, even for one second, think about putting out that inner fire that ambition has given you – let it define you and never look back.