At the beginning of the year I signed on for a super intensive online course. It was a business focused course and I was hoping it would help me sort through all of ideas that pop into my head hourly and figure out which ones actually held any kind of real value.
Within week one of the course I felt like I was back in college, cramming to get each assignment done, yet each assignment pushed me to do things way out of my comfort zone. Call people I barely knew and chat with them about their life and my business? Good God, why did I sign up for this?
The answer: to change. To be better. So, I plugged along.
And, then came an assignment that had me itching at my skin and thinking, “I am totally skipping this. No one would know.” Until I got to the bottom of the page and in bold letter it stated: DO NOT SKIP THIS ASSIGNMENT. YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO SKIP IT. THIS IS THE ASSIGNMENT THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
What was it? I had to contact colleagues, students, and friends and ask them to list out my super powers. And, the thought of it made me feel not only completely vulnerable, but also like a total weirdo.
But, after I journaled about what I believed would be the response, I sent the emails out, hoping the people involved would not think I had lost my mind or was out seeking compliments.
And, the response was amazing. What an awesome exercise. I’m serious. There are few times you get to see yourself from other’s perspectives and understand how you fit into their lives or how you’ve influenced some kind of positive experience for them.
By the end of the day I had a clear understanding of my top three super powers and how to move forward to use them in my life to create cool and fun classes and workshops for those that might be seeking stuff like that out.
But, one response I received still echoes in my mind because it hit me over the head as something that seemed so negative. I was told my super powers was “ambition.”
Now, by definition ambition is a “strong desire to do or achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
So, yes, I am ambitious. I have always been ambitious. I’m pretty sure I was just born that way.
Then, why did I feel so embarrassed by being perceived that way?
And, if I’m being totally honest with myself it’s because in my mind women who are labeled ambitious are also seen as cut-throat bitches who are just out for themselves. In other words, they are unlikable. Who wants to be seen as that?
But, I think we need to change the perception of “ambitious women.” For men, if they are told they are ambitious, that’s a total plus! I married my husband because I loved how ambitious he was and continues to be. I find it attractive when people march after their dreams and stand up for what they believe is right.
So, then why is it different when a woman is called ambitious? It feels like a backhanded compliment in so many ways, doesn't it?
Let’s change that. It should be a good thing. It should be the pure compliment I know it was meant to be when it came back to me.
But, like anything I think it needs to start with me. I need to believe it was a compliment. I need to embrace my ambition.
And, I want to compliment every woman reading this as ambitious, too.
I know you want the best for your family and your career. I know you’re willing to move forward through the hard work and the determination to create the life that in every way is possible for you. That’s not a bad thing. It shouldn’t have the stigma it does.
It's time to embrace your ambition and know that every success and good thing is on its way to you. You were meant to shine.
Tori Hicks-Glogowski is an online yoga instructor and yoga business coach and mentor for yoga teachers. She is the author of the book, "Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi," and has been writing and sharing her yoga experience for the past seven years. Find out more about Tori now.