Thursday, October 29, 2009

So Ambitious?

“The motivation for me, was them telling me what I could not be. Oh well. I’m so ambitious!”Pharell on Jay-Z’s “So Ambitious” (Blueprint 3)

On this track, Jay-Z recalls all the people in his life who told him he’d never amount to anything, that he couldn’t make it and that he was destined for nothing; and how he used this negativity to fuel his ambition. As I listened, I began to think about my own life and what it was that I was told about myself growing up. I realized that ironically, I was told just the opposite all my life! I was encouraged and pushed and told that I was destined for greatness; that I was intelligent and talented and could shoot for the stars! There was praise and opportunity and more praise. Instead of being propelled forward by this though, my response was to shrink from it and to live below the expectations placed upon me, for fear of disappointing all those people who were rooting for me. I had thoughts like, “What if I’m not as smart as they think I am?” “What if I CAN’T do it?” I was not in tune enough with myself to be able to see me as others saw me and I was terrified that I would be discovered to be a fraud. Crazy, huh? Yep, I know.

It’s interesting to see the ways in which fear manifests itself in our lives. I had and still struggle with a fear of success. Oh, I can see it for what it is now, and my self-talk is such that I counter it with positive thoughts and push past it, but it kept me stagnant for a significant portion of my life. I never really did whatever it was that I thought I might like to do, or anything that felt purposeful, or worked any harder than what came naturally--because I thought that I might fail and that people might be disappointed in me. But even worse, I thought that I might SUCCEED—and oh boy, what would I have to live up to then? What I didn’t do then, that I do constantly now, was to counter that thought with the one that says it is okay to be successful. It’s desirable to be successful! Success, earned through the efforts of our God-given gifts and talents, is what we were made for!

Not only have I learned to ignore that crippling limitation called fear, I’ve also learned to care just a little bit less about what other people think; especially because in reality, it isn’t really about what they think at all—it’s my own doubt that rises to the surface. So I have to remind myself to be my own cheerleader and to stay focused on my vision. And now, even if I make a mistake or don’t get it right the first time around, I don’t worry so much about what people will think. Chances are, they’ll be supportive either way, and when I am winning at my endeavors, I’ll only be proving to myself what they’ve known all along.

So my ambition is now fueled by my own self-doubt, negative self-talk and fear. When I find myself responding to the same old things in the same old way, I pause and conduct a little exercise.

1. What is it that you’re afraid of?
2. Why are you afraid of this thing?
3. What are the challenges presented here?
4. How can you turn them into opportunities?
5. What is the worst that can happen if you just give it a try?

1. You CAN do this.
2. If you couldn’t, you wouldn’t have been given the tools, the insight or the opportunity. They would all be someone else’s.
3. It is okay to be successful!
4. It is okay to exceed expectations—even your own!
5. Accomplishment is nothing to feel embarrassed about.

Try this exercise when you find yourself facing the things that you’re fearful of and see if it makes a difference. I think you’ll be amazed at how clearly you see things and how well you can focus on them without the veil of fear covering them.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to see myself as others see me, and to be ambitious enough to succeed beyond my wildest dreams!


Anonymous said...

I loved this post. All I can say is I felt like I was reading about myself... Thank you

Chic Mommy, Cool Kid said...

You're so welcome! Doesn't it feel great to know that you're not alone in these feelings?!--and that we can overcome them. Thank you for stopping by!

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