On Not Being Afraid of Your Own Ambition

February 02, 2011

True story: this weekend I fell deep into a hole that seemed inescapable. I was scared, and I was allowing my future to be defined by others. And while this saddened me enormously, I could not help but falling deeper into self-doubt or questioning my goals as a writer, as social worker, and as an entrepreneur. In short, I fell hook line and sinker into a place that I am quite certain many of you know very, very well.

But what can one do when they fall so deep into their own dark place?

Examine the evidence. State the facts. Define your own reality.

If you believe it, so will everyone else. This is the business edition of fake it ’til you make it, wherein you dig deep to harness your strength, energy, and self-love to make magic happen.

This is also known as the moment where it all comes together. The moment that allows you an opportunity to examine your priorities, put your game face on, and decide to fight for all of the things that make you uniquely YOU.

When I started here, I needed an outlet. I felt like I had so much to offer the world, and yet I was just one girl, sitting in her pajamas, dreaming wildly from behind her computer screen. This blog was what I needed to catapult my life to the next level. It represented the concrete steps that I could take to make those wild dreams come true.

And now?

I am still a woman hammering away at a keyboard in her pajamas, but I am a woman who knows without any uncertainty that I am capable of a) supporting myself well doing things that I am authentically good at, b) helping others learn to love themselves by sharing the truth of my experience, and c) building something successful that is completely and irrefutably mine.

  1. Throw yourself into work that jives with your heart and values, and make no compromises. This isn’t always the easiest step, because sometimes you can become lost in the what do I truly love to do question. My advice? Don’t allow yourself to get lost. Start at the beginning. Start with small things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning. Trust the process. When you are being authentic with yourself and proceeding from a place of child-like bliss, the universe conspires to open doors everywhere you look.
  2. Open yourself to constructive criticism. Heck, don’t just open yourself to it – explicitly ask for feedback. Smile. Combine your self confidence in knowing that you are on the right track with unwavering faith that criticism makes you better, stronger, and more successful.
  3. Sell yourself. Sell yourself all over the place. And not in a um, I just write this little teensy blog but it’s totally not a big deal and I mean practically no one reads sort of way. Rehearse an elevator pitch in your head, be succinct, be confident, state your intentions loudly and with your chin up so that others can hear you. Inspire intrigue wherever you go by oozing self-love and commitment to your accomplishments. Is this hard for you? It’s hard for everyone at first.
  4. Stand your ground. Not everyone is going to love you, but not everyone is going to hate you either. I consider the first I think you are an idiot and everything you stand for is wrong email to be a MAJOR sign of success. Someone hates you so much that they want to tell you all about it? You’ve arrived.
  5. Define your own path. I happen to believe that my strength comes from sharing with you my darkest moments of vulnerability, but many disagree with this method and would warn you against scaring people away. Now, I firmly believe that sharing these moments won’t scare you away, but in fact brings you together in a community where you feel safe to reach deep into your own dark place, knowing that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I am an obsessive silver lining seeker, but that does not mean not acknowledging the dark moments – I means turning those moments into learning experiences.

I am deeply grateful for moments of self-doubt, because they allow to you pull together all of your strength and recommit yourself to authentic living. At the end of the day, efforts that are only partially made, or projects that you don’t quite commit yourself to fully – are not nearly as successful as those that you can stand behind with all of your heart and being.