1 Having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.
‘a ruthlessly ambitious workaholic’
More example sentences
1. 1.1 (of a plan or piece of work) intended to satisfy high aspirations and therefore difficult to achieve.
‘an ambitious enterprise’
My word for the year is “ambitious” and I don’t like it so I’ll work on it until I do. Last year’s word, “nuance” was gentle and nurturing, an invitation to explore and sit with the confusion until the mist cleared. It made me feel better, made me a little smarter, and met me where I was with no judgment. This word though is like a junior high bully that still makes my stomach drop if I see her at the hometown Target 20 years later. We have a history, you see and I had packed ambition away as something too dangerous to consider with young kids in the house. This year, it won’t leave me alone. I wanted a different word but like most bullies, the power it wields is in my head and it is best to confront it head on.
Etymology reveals that early use in English was “always pejorative” so my revulsion isn’t completely unfounded but there is something particularly repulsive about claiming “ambitious” while female and that is what needs to change in my own mind if I hope to make a difference for anyone else, my family included. Last month, I was speaking to a local business leader explaining a concept I thought might help the area, he grinned in a kind way, and oozed, “wellll, that’s ambitious…” If he could have patted me on my head I’m sure he would have and he awoke the beast. “Ambitious” sidled up to the bar right next to me and hasn’t left since. “Hey Pal, wanna show them what you’re really made of and crush someone along the way?”
“Go away! I’m a nice lady. He didn’t mean it that way. I like my quiet life. I’m a Mom! I need to worry about carpools and dance costumes.”
“That will never be enough…let’s be ugly.”
So that is my challenge for 2018. Can I create a path where compassion and maturity coexists with ambition? Can I trust myself with it? Can I use it for good? Can I make it not so ugly? I think so. I do feel hearted to learn that the Latin root is, ambitionem (nominative ambitio) "a going around," especially to solicit votes. Soliticing votes in 2018 seems a worthy pursuit!
I begin my journey with an ambitious list of how I would like to show up in 2018. In the past I thought ambition was about “having it all” but I don’t believe anyone should have it all. That thinking leads to the ugly, lonely side of ambition and is not what I want my year to be about. I do believe everyone should have what they need and will do what I can to work towards that goal. If your word hasn’t found you yet, I’d welcome some company. Feel free to share your own ambitious list for 2018.
1. All the people I love and care for will feel loved and cared for. This includes my husband, daughters, my rural community, my digital community, co-workers and friends.
2. I will be compensated for my time, experience, and expertise appropriately so I am able to donate my time, experience and expertise to worthy causes.
3. I will work with people I trust and respect and be sure they trust and respect me.
4. My art will not stagnate as my schedule changes.
5. I will help my family get out of debt and be honest about financial limitations.
6. I will teach my daughters to care for themselves, their home, and each other. I will not let my own anxiety about being a “perfect mom” keep them from growing into confident women.
7. I will understand my privilege and use it accordingly. I will model a better way to show up or sit down as needed. If I make a mistake I will apologize and work harder to do better.
8. I will help the women I know and respect win their political races.
9. I will review my past choices and be open to both harsh critique and generous reframing. I will apologize and forgive as needed.
10. I will not quit.
11. I will work with love and peace as my guide and not allow ambition to make me or my goals ugly.
Wish me luck. I'm tired already.