I’ve always been a firm believer that we should always try to be the very best version of ourselves. When I was at school and was worried about exams or coursework results, the words “just do the best of your ability” would ring in my ears and give me as much comfort as a smear test. Because the fact was I didn’t want to do the bear minimum of what I was capable of. I wanted to do better. I wanted to be ambitious and get the best mark I possibly could. And why not?
Whether you dream of being a CEO or wish you could nail a roast dinner, the great thing about living in 2017 is that anything is possible. Ok, maybe not ANYTHING, but we can follow our dreams with more success than ever before and that is worth holding onto.
For me, being ambitious started when I was a teenager. Sitting in the careers room at high school, I was asked to pick the career I wanted to venture into from rows and rows of folders on the shelves. Nurse. Teacher. Steel worker…the list went on but there was no option for fashion. That’s all I wanted to do. Fashion. I had no idea what jobs were available at that time, I didn’t care as long as I was surrounded by clothes and shoes and beautiful handbags. When I told my careers advisor that’s what I wanted to do, she looked at me sympathetically and said “let’s find something more achievable. Working in a shop perhaps?”
I was completely heartbroken. A 15-year-old with a head-full of ambition being told it was hopeless before I’d even started. But, looking back (don’t you love hindsight?) I can’t be resentful at that teacher because I did as I was told, I worked in a shop and it made me realise more than ever that I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to try, and maybe fail, at fashion. And ever since then I’ve dabbled in and out of the industry on my own terms with some unbelievable opportunities under my belt.
But what kept me ambitious was the end goal. It might not be something tangible, you might not even know what it is you want, it could even be how you want to feel – as long as you know where you want to get to, you’ll get there. And here’s how…
The best thing to keep you motivated is to imagine where you want to get to. It could be your next house, your dream job or passing your driving test. Picture getting what you want every day. When you’ve had a bad day, a set-back or think about giving up, envision achieving everything you need to to get to that end point. It’ll keep you going, believe me!
The one thing we’re all experts at doing is beating ourselves down. We have a hard enough time with other people doing that for us, so try not to do it to yourself. It would be very easy to give up. Why embarrass yourself, right? I think about this all the time, but ultimately, you’ll never have the slightest chance unless you try. And more importantly, life is too short not to do what you love and enjoy.
As Marilyn Monroe said: “Always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?”
F*** THE HATERS
Ah my favourite one. Getting to where you want to be can mean roadblocks. And lots of them. Whether that’s people telling you you can’t or metaphorical stumbling blocks along the way, you will come up against tough challenges. People don’t like ambition. To be ambitious stirs uncomfortable feelings in some – jealousy, skepticism, insecurity – that is not your problem. It is theirs. Obviously, you want to be maintain your integrity and kindness along the way, ie not trampling over people to get where you want to, but if it’s unfounded then negotiate around them and continue on your way.
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