It’s interesting – the word ‘ambition’. The definition in most dictionaries for this word is, ‘a strong desire to do or achieve something’. The word conjures up an energetic go-getter. Hardworking. Determined. Lets nothing get in their way. Ruthless at times. Focussed. People to be admired!
Ambitious people don’t understand people who don’t put their careers first. Ambitious people don’t understand when people have other priorities in their lives and therefore are not motivated by money or promotion. Ambitious people find those people very difficult to understand – because they do not know what motivates them.
Family, you tell them. Yes, but everyone has a family, I have a family – what makes yours so important?
And therein lies the difference in perspective. A career driven person is deemed to be ambitious because they are chasing a desire to be financially successful and achieve status and respect because of their talent – what they do.
A family driven person is also ambitious. They have an overwhelming desire to have a family life where they can look after their partner, be there for their children, be present and mindful and make their house a happy home.
Sadly – this is looked down upon as a lack of ambition. But if we go back to the definition of what ambition actually is – then what is the difference? Following one path will make you financially rich and secure – but it may come at a cost. What cost? Not being able to be there for the ones that you love because of the demands of your job. Not noticing that anything may be wrong with the ones you love because of the demands of your job. Having to neglect the ones that you love – because of the demands of your job.
Following the other path may mean that you are seen as lacking commitment by your employers because you put your family first. You may miss out on opportunities for promotion or not even be considered for certain roles because you don’t give your ‘all’ to work. This may mean that financially you are not as well off as you might have been, if only your thought processes or approach was different.
In each case – neither person is wrong. It is not wrong to want to be successful in your job, to be talented in an area and want to strive to reach new heights and be good at what you do. However, it is also not wrong to want to look after your family. To have the time to tuck your children in bed so that they sleep peacefully. It is not wrong to refuse to take on additional responsibilities at work, because you know that takes time away from how much you will be able to be there for the ones that you love. The latter choice is not a lack of ambition – it is a different ambition though – to have a successful family life.
If we could – we would marry the two up. Be extremely successful in our careers and have plenty of time to spend with loved ones. Some people to manage it – at least from afar, it appears that they do…
But the point of my blog today is, let’s not dismiss the homemakers – the people who make a choice to stay at home and look after their families; or the ones that decide that they only want to go ‘so far’ in their careers. Let’s not think that they are lacking in ambition, are lazy, or just don’t have what it takes! Let’s dig a bit deeper and realise that their ambition – to create happiness and stability in their family homes is one to be admired as well. These people that are there to comfort their loved ones, who have the time to ensure that their family is healthy (mentally, as well as physically), and happy – these people are just as important and necessary and are just as deserving of respect as those who are financially successful and receive promotion upon promotion.
It is important to remember – and this is where I will end really…a job is just a job. If you love it – that’s brilliant. I have a job that I am fortunate enough to love. But it’s the people in my life that drive me. Not money. Not finance. Nothing else. It is the people around me who look after me when I am feeling sick, or tired, or need cheering up. It is the people in my life who I share my happiness and successes with, who make me laugh and bring me joy. Jobs will come. Jobs will go. Family and loved ones – we should do our best to keep them forever, and make as much time as we can to be with them. Money, you can earn again. Promotions, you can achieve those later. But once a person that you love has gone, or once your child’s childhood has changed into adulthood – no matter how much you try to turn back the tides of time – you can never get those people, those moments or those missed opportunities back ever again.