#TBT: A Love Letter to Ambitious-Types Elevating on All Levels
I AM AT AN ALL-TIME AMBITIOUS HIGH AND I WON'T COME DOWN ANYTIME SOON.
My 25th year has been all about elevation on all levels: mentally, physically, professionally, academically,
spiritually, spiritually, spiritually.
(but more on that in a minute)
I identify strongly with being an "ambitious-type," so if that sounds like you, trust that I see you.
I see that your standards for self (and others) are so exceedingly high. I see that you're a maximizer, trying to make the most of every minute of every day. I see that you're always trying to get "there," that when you do, "there" is no longer enough. I see that you are staying in your own lane, only comparing yourself to who you were yesterday and who you know you can be tomorrow. and, my love, I see that you're not stopping to pat yourself on the back, so let me just take a moment to applaud you.
because you and your journey are oh so worthy of applause.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY NEXT POINT:
US AMBITIOUS-TYPES ARE SO HARD ON OURSELVES.
we're so hard on ourselves that we don't even agree with this statement. we are so hard on ourselves that we actually don't think we are ever pushing ourselves hard enough.i was going to title this post "a love letter to all overly ambitious-types," but most ambitious-types don't believe there's such thing as being overly ambitious. that's how hard we are on ourselves.
anyway, I'm not here to change you (although I do hope you are encouraged to be more gentle with yourself by the end of this post), but I'm simply here to gift you with a much needed love letter, from my exceedingly ambitious heart to yours.
dear ambitious friend,
Like you, I am never satisfied. But if this year of elevation has taught me anything of value, it's that contentment and satisfaction are two different things. you see, contentment is something I've learned to carry with me every step of the way, regardless how far away my destination is, regardless how unsatisfied I may be with where I currently am. I am always content. I had to learn to be happy with myself before I embarked on this wondrous journey; otherwise, I wouldn't be seeing this journey for the wonder that it is.
I had to learn to practice internal gratitude every single day, regardless what was happening externally. I had to realize that a lack of gratitude is 100% equivalent to greed, and well, who wants to be greedy? besides, greedy-types are on an endless, pointless journey that could not possibly lead to satisfaction. they are not grounded in a greater purpose. just a never-ending hedonic treadmill. don't do that to yourself my love. you deserve better.
don't misunderstand me. I am all for the ambition. don't dial that back at all. I wouldn't slow my roll for the world. but where are we going? are we growing along the way? sure, a lot of things are happening externally: we get a promotion, we meet our goals, we excel academically, we buy a new house, we pay off our debt, whatever goals you've set and are on track to achieving, you deserve all of the applause. but what about your spirit? great things may be happening around you, but what is happening within you?
are you happy?
not happy with x, y and z. I'm not asking if you're happy with your progress, happy with your job, happy with your relationship, happy with your new puppy, happy with your good habits or new wardrobe. those are all cool things to be happy about. but are you happy? like with or without all of those external factors. don't even let your mind go there my love, you are enough without those things.
I'm asking about you and you only. are you happy?
as I mentioned in my 8-weeks-of-no-makeup post, ambition is such a valuable quality that I wouldn't trade in for anything. but if we don't couple our ambition with self-acceptance, love and a greater purpose, our ambition alone can be an extremely toxic and self-destructive force in our lives. do our accolades, accomplishments and achievements really matter if our spirit isn't in good health? if we want elevation on all levels, we cannot neglect internal, spiritual elevation. and believe me, true elevation is waiting on the other side of our intense spiritual growth. set goals all day my love, just make sure a good number of those goals are around nourishing your spiritual health.
I needed a reminder of these lessons this week - not because I was being too ambitious, but because I was forgetting to do the internal work necessary to achieve my goals. does this sound familiar to you at all?
it's too familiar to me. looking back on my ambitious years prior to this one, I wasn't doing such a great job of nourishing my spirit, and there are days when I find myself reverting back to my old [read: lost] ways. before this year, I was so externally focused that I was neglecting what was most important: my spirit. one of my favorite lessons came from my father who could clearly see through me. he would tell me:
"I don't know what you're looking for, baba, but you won't find it anywhere but home."
I replay this reminder over and over in my head almost every day. it grounds me, and it can mean something to all of us. in a world where distractions are plentiful, let us be reminded that we are enough as we are. we are a home within ourselves. we should feel most at home when we are by ourselves. before we embark on our next journey, let us first find solace in our own spirit.
because honestly, all of those other things - the job, the relationship, the kids, the money, the technology, the awards, the degrees, the recognition, society's expectations of us, our reputation - they're just extra, they're just decorative. you came first. you are beautiful, powerful, magical without all of those things. you can and should be a great person without all of those things. get your mind, body and spirit right before you go out looking for "extra." make your home a home before you go out looking for all of that decor.
ask yourself this, my love:
do you feel at home within your mind, body and spirit? can you sit alone in a room and feel comfortable with your thoughts? have you developed an internal compass that helps steer you when you've reached a fork in the road and don't know which turn to take?
do you have prayers and affirmations readily available in your heart when you're feeling particularly anxious or stressed? do you know how to practice self-love - like actually know how to perform self-love as an action verb? can you be happy for others regardless what you do or don't have going on?
do you feel grounded in a greater purpose that you can clearly articulate? are you overwhelmed by the plethora of reasons to be grateful? does your connectedness to something greater humble you every day?
I can spend days and days listing my accomplishments and achievements, and I'm sure you can too. there is so much for us to be proud of. but I mean it when I say that those things would mean absolutely nothing to me if I couldn't answer yes to the questions listed above. in fact, my accomplishments only started making me proud after I got my spirit together.
I don't need to look anymore. I've found home - everything else is just extra.
more than anything, I just want you to know that you are enough. be ambitious. want all of the things that you currently want. but I hope you stay reminded that you're enough. i hope you stay reminded that all of those things, they're just extra. keep pushing yourself. keep elevating. but I hope that you'll push yourself to elevate spiritually first.
AND MY LOVE, EMBARK ON ALL OF THE JOURNEYS YOU'D LIKE, BUT ALWAYS, ALWAYS COME HOME TO YOURSELF.