Stop The Ambition Shaming

How to Honor Your Inner Ambitious One, Without Losing Yourself in the Process

One of my clients, Lynn, came to me last week and said, “Monica, it feels like I have enough in my business and in my life.  I’ve got a great house and a family, and it feels almost shameful to want more, especially money.  I don’t know what to do because part of me wants more and is driven to want more.  But there’s another part of me that keeps saying, you have enough.  Why do you need more?  And I feel guilty about it.”

Can you relate to this?  Because so many of my clients are stuck in the struggle between ‘Should I want more?’ and ‘Should I be OK with what I have?’

There are so many things to unpack here.  But most importantly, this internal struggle is taking energy that you could be giving to yourself, your family, or your business.  It’s draining, and it will make you feel unfocused, unmotivated, and just plain tired.

So I want to start by discussing ambition and drive.  So many women subconsciously believe that it’s not OK for them to be ambitious or driven.  We are often taught that we should be nurturing, submissive, and even meek.

We’re taught that the qualities needed to be a good mother, wife, and role model contradict those needed to be a good leader – as if you can’t play those first three roles and also be driven and ambitious and want more.

There’s an “or,” not an “and” when it comes to discussing the roles that a woman can play – and I want to shift that narrative first and foremost.  The truth is that there is no contradiction between being loving and nurturing and also being driven to want more, both in your business and in your life.

We need to let go of our tendency to think, ‘If I am driven, if I am ambitious, then I will be a bad mom or a bad wife or a bad friend, or I will stop taking care of myself.’

The truth is that all of us have seeds of expansion within us.  We are born wanting to grow and keep growing.

Every move we make as babies is growth.  We grow from sitting up to crawling to walking, running, and playing sports.  We go from not being able to speak any language to being able to speak multiple languages and solve complicated problems.

Ultimately, our natural state of being is growth and expansion.  So the first thing that we as women need to do is to normalize ambition and drive and embrace our desire for more.

Take the time to ask yourself: What do I really want more of?

For me, I like having nice things in my life.  I like my sheets.  I like nice pillows.  I like nice towels.  I like nice toothpaste.

And I know that it is OK to want more because I’ve also embraced that when I can create more, I’m not just creating it for myself.  I’m also creating more for my friends, my family, the people that I care about, and my clients.

In this way, I can be driven and ambitious and also be a good caretaker, role model, and daughter and take care of myself.

The key to being driven while also taking care of those around you isn’t to ignore your inherent ambition – it’s to create boundaries that coexist with and foster your inner ambition and drive.

When I say boundaries, I mean being clear about when you start and end your day, being clear in communications with your friends, family, and self about when you’re working and when you’re not working.

It means being realistic about the fact that the work that you’re doing may take you three hours instead of one hour – so you might not get as much done today.  And that is OK.  It’s OK to stop working.

Ultimately, the perfect recipe for more success and more fulfillment and nicer things – or whatever it is that we want more of – is not to deny our own ambition or drive.  It’s not to deny that we want more.

It’s actually to embrace it – but not just to embrace the drive and the ambition.  It’s also to embrace the boundaries we create for how we’re living our lives.

So this week’s suggestion for you: I invite you to write down what you want more of – a list of 10, 20, or even 200 items – and to embrace it, to look at it and realize that you can have it, and it’s OK to want it.

And then I invite you to write down what I like to call your boundaries manifesto.  This is a list of when you want to start your day, when you want to end your day, how long you want your client appointments to be, how you want to work, where you want to work, and what your interruptions can look like.

If you look at your desire list and your boundaries manifesto side by side, you can think of your boundaries manifesto as a container, and your desire list as what is inside that container.

For so many of us, we were never taught to create that boundaries list.  We were never taught to create a beautiful and safe container for our growth.

Most of us had jobs where we overworked and over-delivered, and we did not get any gratitude or appreciation for it.

So it’s time to create a new definition of ambition: having drive, and also having a safe and loving container in which to house it.

If you want to learn more about how to build your container and to talk more about women, money, and all of the issues surrounding what we as women need to do to bring in more money, I want to invite you to my Women & Money Event.

You can register for the event here – it’s virtual and it’s happening on Saturday, June 26.

I’ll see you there!  And until then, here’s to wanting more without respecting ourselves less.

Go Beyond!

Monica Shah
Monica Shah





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