Detangling the complexities of Ambition & Identity

Written for Magnify Magazine: May 27th, 2020

How much of our identity is rooted in our ambition? Do you see yourself as more valuable, important, worthy, impressive because of your achievements? Do you feel insignificant, unworthy, less confident when you haven’t quite reached your goals? Does your ambition validate your existence? Does it make you matter? Are you defined by it?

In today’s world where titles like #GirlBoss, #WorkingGirl #IndependentWoman have propelled our desires, it is fair to state that ambition and achievements, or the lack thereof, have become some sort of currency, one by which we most often judge ourselves and others by. I’ll be the first to admit that as a millennial woman I was drawn to certain career paths and opportunities to be seen as ‘successful’ or seem like I was on the journey towards a great success story.

Own Your Ambition

I believe the desire to do great things is inbuilt. Like a genetic code passed on from generation to generation and our talents, capacity, and innovative ideas act as roadmaps to guide us in the direction that validates our ambitions. I also believe that it is our responsibility to pursue our dreams, explore opportunities, find ourselves, and then build on what we’ve found. In fact, Colossians 3:17 says that ‘whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him’. Using the skills and talents we possess to their maximum capacity and our best ability is a form of thanksgiving.

But it’s important we don’t lose ourselves in ambition. There can be an ugly side to ambition that creates unhealthy and toxic environments. It can be manipulated — the thrill of a new opportunity does not last long and can quickly turn into anxiety and fear to maintain. How many times has losing a job, not signing on a client, not getting a promotion or prize felt like the end of the world?

Society has often placed us in an unhealthy rat race towards validation — the unspoken competition. We can sometimes be made to feel like we’re put against each other, instead of finding comfort and comradery when we gather and collaborate. In my experiences over the years, those confident in themselves, who don’t need to be labeled as ambitious to feel seen or valued are always the winners. There is an ease to them, they are liberated and are able to support others without feeling like they have given up their spot. They blaze through life, achieving their goals, and are not a hazard to others.

Finding Identity Roots

Being rooted in ambition forces you to focus on the material and inconsequential things — the fruits of our labour, and the fruits do not make the tree. When the goal is to become well-rounded human beings, ambition and its children cannot be the focus. We have to come to the realisation that who we are, regardless of whether we know or not, far exceeds the works of our hands.

It requires us to dig deeper and reach further into ourselves as we go on our faith journeys. For me, the goal is to arrive at a place where how I see myself, my value, and my worthiness are how God sees me and I draw strength and validation and most importantly, identity from that. I’ve experienced that God’s love is permanent and His capacity to love is boundless. Getting to understand His love gives us all we require to live a balanced, fulfilled, and ultimately happy life. My advice would be to invest in that, pour time into building and nurturing your relationship with God. Let your understanding of His love become the source, your identity.

An identity that stems from faith is unshakable because it recognises that it operates under the unlimited power of God. Walking in that space where nothing is impossible is truly the most fulfilling place to be. In that place there is peace of mind, there is abundant grace and there is unlimited joy — all of which we can pour into others, making the world a better place for the people around us.

29. Painfully self aware. Constantly overthinking. Trying not to completely lose my sh*t. Profile Photo by my daughter 🌹