Ambition - What Are You Working for, Mama?
ambition: n. a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. | desire and determination to achieve success.

The word ambition gives me hives — because it reminds me of the “me” I was before I became a mom.

For the 12 years that I worked in the marketing agency world, I viewed ambition as a cage match. It was accepted and understood that peers would inevitably be pitted against each other for recognition, money, power, freedom … and that only the most aggressive would make it to the top.

In that environment, you were constantly battling the opposing pulls of appearing completely selfless (i.e., putting company and client needs above all else, like the basic human needs of eating lunch or getting up from your desk) and being completely selfish about one’s own goals, dreams and career trajectory.

Back then, pre-kids, ambition meant rising as high as I could. Being above the others around me. Success was about autonomy and decision-making ability, and that was about it.

Writing it — admitting it — makes me cringe.

So. Transitioning into being a solopreneur is odd when that’s your definition of ambition. Hell, transitioning into being a MOM is odd when that’s your definition of ambition. Because you get that autonomy and decision-making ability right away — even more than you actually want.

Done, your goals are achieved.

It took me a while to transition both my heart and my mind out of this outdated version of ambition. And to be honest, I didn’t really see how wrong the things I yearned for in the past were until I became a mom (to two girls, nonetheless).

I realized how hollow those markers of ambition were. That they didn’t really mean anything to me, my growth, my family, my children. They were singular confidence boosters, like watching numbers tick up on Instagram followers — empty validation that says nothing about personal ability or intellect or worth.

I’m now four years in to business ownership and nearly seven years into motherhood. And today, ambition looks a lot different. Ambition looks a lot like legacy.

Ambition means striving for something that extends beyond myself and my personal reach. Ambition means achieving something, yes — but for someone else. For my daughters. For my community. For my MotherHustlers. Ambition means being determined, and working hard, for others.

So this month on MotherHustle, our panelists are going to be exploring the concept of ambition. What it means to them, to their businesses, and to their roles as mothers.

But like I said — it’s not, and it never will be, just about us. It’s about you, mama. We want you to join in this conversation. Using the hashtags #MHambition and #mymotherhustle, share with us what ambition looks like for you.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • How has your ambition changed (or not) since becoming a mom?
  • Is there anything you like/don’t like about the word ‘ambition’?
  • Is there a story you can share that demonstrates how ambition impacts your business or your family?
  • What are your ambitions, as a boss AND as a mom?

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Hell, it doesn’t have to be the same answer today that you’d give tomorrow. We just want to hear your voice, and your story. So join in on Facebook, or Instagram — or email me and let’s chat about it — and let’s all figure out this ambition thing together.

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  • Kathy

    so good Em! Love (and painfully relate to) it all!

    June 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm

  • Illiah

    BEAUTIFUL! “Ambition means achieving something, yes — but for someone else. ” 100% yes. Ambition through the eyes of our daughters has a whole new meaning worth living and striving for.

    June 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm

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