Earlier this month I asked some of you to tell me what you struggled with.
One of the responses was unexpected and real ~
“I find it difficult to get enthused about stuff, I’m more lukewarm and accepting of all possibilities so not much pulls me completely. Drive and ambition are not a part of my vocabulary. Still, I’m a vibrant, spiritual person with joy for life. Go figure!”
She wanted to know what was up with that. What instantly popped into my mind was “hey, there’s nothing wrong with a lack of drive and ambition”!
Interestingly (or not ;)), I’ve always thought of myself as lacking ambition as well. Many who know me will protest, but I have never been ambitious.
At least, not in the sense most people think.
You see, I never wanted to be the CEO of a company, or make a 6 figure salary, or travel first class for work, or buy a fancy home and live a jet setting lifestyle (changed my mind on the 000,000’s just this year).
To me, that’s what ambitious people wanted. Me, I was content to take it one day at a time, follow my sense of fun and adventure and not worry about climbing the corporate ladder.
Heck, every time I was up the ladder, I jumped ship and set sail to a new country.
In retrospect, I just didn’t agree with other people’s definition of ambitious and driven! From someone who job-hopped every 9 months and could never see herself as being self employed to running her own business as an entrepreneur and coach, I’ve come a long way baby.
Not ambitious? LOL!
Looking at the past 12 years of my life, I see that I WAS driven. To have fun. To travel. To learn. To grow. To follow my own path. To morph my life experiences into who I am today.
My ambition, (even though I didn’t know it then), was to see the world, create memories and nurture close connected friendships all over the world. In the process, I grew up, opened my world of possibilities and became a sponge.
Too often we relate being ambitious and driven with what we think it’s supposed to be.
When we think of an ambitious person, we often think of someone with a lot of energy, many passions, opinionated, strong willed, maybe a little ruthless (!), possibly works 80 hours a week, lives the fast life, is vibrant and alive!
True for some, very untrue for others.
Here’s the deal – Aliveness can show up in many different ways. As a society we’ve been led to believe he who creates the most ripples is the most driven.
However, some of the most inspiring people in the world have a purpose and passion in life that’s so strong, you can sense it in every pore of their being (a certain late nun in India comes to mind). Is that not driven?
To my friend I would say:
- redefine what these words mean to you
- find out what you really, truly want
- notice where you put your attention, and how it makes you feel
- pull apart “drive & ambition” and “vibrant & spiritual” – are they being collapsed together somehow?
I’ve taken one approach to answering this question but I know there are lots more like setting routines, willpower, changing habits, energetic vibe, physical health, etc.
And now I’m musing .. Do we really have to be ambitious to be successful? Can you be hardworking without being ambitious at the same time? Does lacking ambition and drive make one lazy and unsuccessful? Does it mean you’ll always be a drifter? Can it be a good thing?
Your turn. What would you add if this was your friend, son, daughter, employee – how would you respond? What do YOU really think about ambition and drive and how does that show up in your life? I’m looking forward to learning from you, thanks for playin!