Ambition: an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame or wealth and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
I was asked recently to choose a word that best describes me. The first word that came to mind was ambitious, but I hesitated before admitting this. I like the word ambitious but it isn’t a word that falls off my tongue too readily. I’m not sure if it’s something that’s okay to admit to, as a female.
Ambitious men are admired, but when the word ambitious is applied to women, all to often it seems to be associated with an insatiable quest for power. It conjures up images of women trampling over everything and everyone in their path to get to top. And all too quickly it becomes an ugly word, particularly if you have a family because it is often assumed you are putting your career before your children and damaging them in the process.
But isn’t it possible to have a career and a family? And at the end of the day, isn’t it all about personal choice based on your own personal circumstances? We are more privileged in the West to have more choices than many other women. What’s wrong with embracing the opportunities we have, if that’s what we want to do?
So I’ve decided to come out and admit it. I am ambitious. I’m building a career later in life than many others but it’s never felt more right. And rather than this meaning I’m damaging my child, it means I’m happier, more fulfilled and that positively affects her too.
I’m also showing my daughter that women can work outside the home if they want to, follow their ambitions and achieve whatever they want to in life though hard work and determination. And that’s a pretty powerful role model for her I’d say.
I’d like more girls to believe in themselves know and know that being ambitious is okay. It isn’t an ugly word we should shy away from.
Who’s with me?