Does it really have to be all work and no play?
Being ambitious is about wanting — really wanting! — to succeed. I take ambition for granted. That's because I'm surrounded by women entrepreneurs, and after all, ambition is the key requirement for going into business for yourself. I love seeing the positive results ambition brings to the lives of these entrepreneurial women.
I always thought it would be easier for mature women than for younger women to make ambition work for them. The baby boomer generation has had a lot of opportunity to define their values and learn from their mistakes, so you would think they have a better handle than the younger set on balancing their working and personal lives.
Not so. The millennial women I work with nowadays have such clarity and commitment to the global picture — I'm impressed. The boomer generation had to prove they could measure up to men. New women entrepreneurs already know their value and are confident in themselves.
These women know they are worth it — and they create their business as an authentic extension of themselves. It's that simple. Their generation doesn't have to measure up to men because that's been done. So they can bring value to the community and see their business as a tool for making the world a better place.
Being ambitious in the right way can take the edge off working, working, working solely for monetary gain. When you use your ambition to create a fulfilling job on multiple levels, you can begin to measure the results in terms of self-awareness and the bigger picture. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing bad about wanting monetary reward. This is about shifting your focus to multilayered, globally oriented goals, as the millennial women entrepreneurs seem to be doing. For them, being ambitious is about depth and multilayered results.
Women entrepreneurs of the boomer generation have discovered that money isn't everything. Instead, they are moving toward more meaningful and spiritually rewarding job opportunities. Millennial women already know this. For them, spirituality and mindfulness are requirements in their working lives, and they set up their businesses to be fulfilling on multiple levels.
With the recession still lingering and competition for jobs still tight, working women have to maintain some degree of entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge to find and keep rewarding work. Employers don't take care of their employees as they once did. So, even if you work for someone else, you still have to show ambition and demonstrate that you value your own self-improvement.
Not so long ago, it was thought that if you were an ambitious woman, you didn't need a fulfilling personal life. That was then. Now we know better. By shifting the focus of their ambition, millennial women are achieving better balance in their relationships, too.
Says Ashley Wray of the start-up Mala Collective, which sells mala beads and is based in Indonesia, "I have several motivators driving my ambition. We all want to be successful within ourselves, but the motivators change when you know you are affecting others and improving their lives. The bigger our company gets, the more jobs we're providing in Bali, jobs that are fair trade and sustainable. And because mala beads are a tool for meditation and inner peace, people are learning about conscious living."
Ashley is focusing her ambition on the global benefit of selling more of her product. Her ambition to succeed has brought her closer to her business partner, who also happens to be her husband. She goes on: "Working with your partner is about finding life balance. In both work and life, we respect each other's roles and talents. We have conversations that would not have been sparked otherwise about our ambitions, goals, intentions and vision for the future. Working together has brought us much closer."
I asked millennial woman entrepreneur Megan Bedynski how being ambitious was working for her. As the principal owner of the start-up company BeautePro.ca, Megan tells me there is no separation between her work ethic and her personal life — they cross over. Megan prefers to be around people who push her forward and with whom she can relate, so they must have ambition of their own. Says Megan, "Ambitious people understand each other. That drive motivates them to keep going even when things get rough." She raves about having ambitious women and men in her corner for brainstorming and support.
For Megan, BeautePro.ca has been in the planning for a year. The catalyst for this start-up was noticing that products were missing from the North American beauty market. Megan also noticed that pricing was beyond a reasonable profit margin, and in this she saw the opportunity to make a profit without gouging the customer. Her goal is to see women achieve and maintain beauty using the best quality products at the lowest prices.
"My ambition to offer a great service and a great product has been essential to my professional life," says Megan. "Ambition has given me the confidence to move forward. Whenever I meet a roadblock, it's my ambition that pushes me to go further. Failures are just a part of the entrepreneurial process."
From talking to women entrepreneurs and working women, I have seen how ambition is working for them on a multitude of levels. How is it working for you?
Monica Magnetti is a Professional Certified Life and Business Coach, Brand Consultant and proud YourTango Expert. Monica has designed free products for the brave and ambitious new generation of entrepreneurs and for established entrepreneurs who put fire and passion into their business. Download Monica's free ebook, Ignite Your Fire, Brand Your Essence: A Collection of Fiery Wisdom on Business and Life — and trust your ambition.