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let your ambition guide you toward success and happiness


Meg Panozzo | Jun 19, 2018 | Photograph by: Collin Hardy

List five words you would use to describe yourself.

Don’t worry about what you think others’ perception is of you.  Instead, look deep inside, and write down the words that describe your core being.

I’m almost certain you won’t write the word ambitious.  I certainly wouldn’t have, before.  Before I started thinking about it; before I decided it wasn’t a word to be feared.

I had this view that an ambitious woman was somehow synonymous with greedy and power-hungry, self-serving and out for herself.  I think you all know by now that I am ambitious, but it’s taken me a long time to accept that.  I used to flinch when someone used that word to describe me, and while that feeling was raw I would hide myself; berate and promise myself to be quieter about the things I want to do in my life.  All because of fear.

I’ve only recently decided to own that drive that’s inside me, and not fear being labelled as ambitious.  So this is for you: you, who may feel ambition but try and quell it.  Being ambitious should be a positive part of who we are.  It’s OK to be driven and excited to grow and develop.

And we shouldn’t be apologetic for it.


Ambition is what you make of it 

We, as society, seem to have attached meaning to ambition to only be in reference to climbing the corporate career ladder.  But it’s so much more than that.  I’m ambitious in many parts of my life, not just my career – fitness, writing, learning; you name it.  Being ambitious is a small part of yourself that is linked to motivation, drive and desire to do better than yesterday.

You may have a hobby or side-hustle that you love pouring energy into: that’s ambition.  You may want to save money for an overseas trip: that’s ambition.  Want to run a marathon?  That’s ambition.  Being ambitious is exactly what we make of it.


Don’t be afraid of it: instead, use it 

Let your ambition guide you to be the best person you can be, so that you aren’t complacent.  Use it to drive you towards building a better life for not only yourself but also those around you.  Use it to maintain a hunger for a better version of yourself tomorrow than you are today.

  • Use it to fuel motivation
  • Use it to find your purpose
  • Use it to say yes to opportunities
  • Use it to step outside of your comfort zone
  • Use it to take action instead of just dreaming or wishing


You’re more than your ambition 

Even if you could be described as ambitious, it doesn’t have to define you.  You’re a multi-faceted human being.  Maybe you’re also quiet and gentle or goofy and smart.  Your ambition is just one part of you, and as with so many things, it also comes back to balance and reason.  We don’t want to be too extreme and become blind to life’s little pleasures.  Instead, your ambition should be a flame that burns, and sometimes we turn to it and other times we take a break and eat pizza and watch too much TV and stay up too late talking to friends.


Ambition [noun]: A strong desire to do or achieve something. 


That “something” can be anything: and you’re in the driver’s seat.


This article was originally published by Her Bold Universe as, “Thoughts on the Word Ambition”. 




Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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