At the tail end of my marriage (unbeknownst to me), my then husband and I were in a Bible study class and we had to outline what were the characteristics we admired about the other. I came up with a fairly generous list stating words like patience and generosity. He on the other hand could only come up with one word: ambition. Even then, I could sense the word did not come from a positive place. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
Here’s the thing. I believe it’s only seen that way by most women. I have never been ambitious in the “climbing the corporate ladder” sense but ambitious in uncovering my highest potential. The fact that I had to explain what ambition meant to me to you is such a self-deprecating womanly thing. Let me tell you that there is nothing wrong with the corporate world either. To each its own I always say so long as you don’t hurt anyone in the process. That’s applicable for both men and women!
If you say a man is ambitious, it is admired. How often have you heard a man say they are looking for an ambitious woman as a life partner and how often have you heard a woman say they are looking for an ambitious man? When a woman is described as ambitious, what image comes to mind? Pause. Think. True?
I am currently reading a book by Tara Mohr called Playing Big. How often do we self-sabotage ourselves with our words and our “playing it safe” attitude? How much can I make a impact to the people around me by playing it safe? My pastor once asked if we wanted a great pastor in our church or a so-so pastor. It’s called false humility. It’s false.
Maybe our role models of ambitious women have been the likes of Jezebel, Delilah…or Madonna! Aung San Suu Kyi is ambitious. Mother Teresa was ambitious. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook is ambitious. JK Rowling is ambitious. That said, JK Rowling and EL James, author of 50 Shades of Grey (like her book or not) had to use initials because they were afraid that female names might not sell as well. What’s up with that? Why do we constantly have to hide? Who’s making us hide? Are men our enemies or are we women our own worst enemies?
I’m going to quote Tara Mohr and you should listen to my many interviews with Faridah Hameed about the words women use all the time. Women say things like just, actually and kind of/almost. There are other examples in Tara Mohr’s book. Do you catch yourself making statements like “I’m just wondering,” “I actually have a question,” and “I kind of think the report should be reorganized this way”? Remove the crutches. Do the sentences sound different and yet convey the message with more clarity and strength?
In the Bible, Matthew 5:13-16 reads “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” May you be both salty and bright!
Yes, I have ambitions and I am ambitious. I have BIG plans. The world is waiting for me. No explanation required. I am woman, hear me roar…