You've heard the sayings, "Life's a bitch, Love's a bitch, That son of a bitch." Even one of my favorite characters all-time, Micheal Scott from The Office has a phrase, "Downsizing is a real bitch" upon hearing his love and passion, Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, was in financial trouble. We have had those "bitch" moments and they certainly, well, suck. But where do those moments originally come from? I observe that a great many come from Ambition.
So is Ambition a bitch?
We may not label them as such, but those moments of stress, sadness and disconcertion come from caring a lot, and being passionate. Perhaps we've dedicated time, effort and resources to areas of our life, only to have things not meet our expectations and what we envisioned.
Events this week have made think about Ambition and its positive and negative effects on us. A best friend suffered a setback that led all of us to feel sad, mad and frustrated. A dream so close he could touch it! Personally, this week, a dream for me has almost become realized. A dream so close I can touch it! Completely different dreams that are not comparable or on the same level, but each respectively requiring years of effort, sweat and tears. At the core of both is Ambition. In this isolated week, his Ambition has led him to a place of disappointment and sadness, mine, to a place of inner reward.
Ambition certainly has its drawbacks. It requires you to sacrifice, to be disappointed, to hurt and to wonder, "why the hell am I doing this?" Maybe you are eating "shit sandwiches" on a daily basis in a job you know that has the potential to be something magical and fulfilling. Perhaps you miss qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 12 seconds one year, 59 seconds the next and then by 3 minutes the following year. Or, you applied for a dream job in which years of proof makes you a "slam dunk" for the position, only to have that decision be in the hands of others who clearly have an agenda of their own to fulfill at the expense of you. In those moments Ambition has led you to moments of despair. Ambition IS a real bitch.
In that space of disappointment you sit in your "chair of choices." Now what do you do when faced with your failure, your obstacle or your challenge? Life doesn't stop or slow down for you to decide what you are going to do next. You are either living or dying, going forward or going backward in relation to your hopes, goals and dreams. There is no stasis when it comes to what you are ambitious for. Each action has a reaction leading you towards or away from your Ambition.
If your Ambitions are lofty, aggressive and big, you will find yourself in these moments of adversity and pain. You will or should fail on occasions. That will not feel good. So why possess and pursue Ambition? Well, on your pursuit or journey, if you look, there are a lot of special moments and great things happening to you and those around you.
When I turned 40, my girlfriends from college gave me a gift of a sign that hangs in my home. It reads, "Life is about the journey, not the destination." In my adult years I can say that I consciously live that quote, but I had not articulated that or even been conscious of it. They have no idea what a valuable gift that has been for me to look at everyday since then. I now recognize that Ambition is rewarding us with "trophies" all the time on our journey. Unfortunately, we miss out on these moments far too often. We are ingrained to believe we only win or get a trophy at the end of our destination or what we set out to accomplish.
Your Ambition takes you to great places. With Ambition, you are winning all the time! In just a small window like this weekend, my Ambition will take me;
- on a 20+mile trail training run
- to the Leinenkugels Oktoberfest to play drums on stage with great musicians in front of great people (even if most were Packer fans)
- on a date with a wife who loves and supports me
- to a viewing party to watch the Vikings kick the Packer's ass, hopefully, while being surrounded by my family, new friends and old friends
- to First Avenue to see Wolfmother in concert with my rock and roll Pals
- to enjoy "Donuts with Daddies" at my 3rd grade daughter's school Monday morning
None of that occurs without Ambition.
I encourage you to recognize and label your Ambitions, be intentional with your actions around them, and pursue them with passion! Know that failure and/or disappointment will likely come along the way. See a setback as a tremendous gift that may actually bound you forward towards your goal depending on how you frame it. Take time on your journey to celebrate a win and give yourself a metaphorical trophy! Life can be be a bitch, but life can also be bliss!
Where has Ambition taken you? Where does it lead you today? Where will it lead you tomorrow?
With Hope, Joy and Wellness,