There are two things on my mind today.
The first is a burning word – Ambition.
It is often defined as ‘an earnest desire for some kind of achievement’. The definition seems to fall short of the burning desire and the sweat behind the feeling. Or the frustration and the sweet sense of achieving something.
Dreams and ambitions are often synonymous and sometimes, against each other. Many see dreams as separate and ambitions as being more career-oriented. But for those like us for whom work and passion are the same… dreams and ambitions merge into each other, forming a higher goal.
They do start as dreams – winning the Pulitzer, for some a Grammy, an Oscar or some such tangible level. As you go on, dreams change. It is not longer about that Pulitzer but simply about making a difference. About being happy with what you are and satisfied with what you are doing.
Ironically, these are the aims that are harder to achieve, particularly as that competitive spirit refuses to die. We’ve wondered so often if life would be easier if we were less ambitious… if we would be content with what the rest of the world seems to be content with. A job that pays the bills, a house that fits the people.
But it was never about making money… about paying bills… it was about being the best, being recognized and appreciated. It wasn’t about the house big enough to fit the people… it was about having your space, your sanctuary.
On this journey you learn important lessons… that the important thing is to stop and look around, to appreciate the journey. Maybe the end result is not as important as long as you earn the stars on the way.
That was where I earned my freedom… when it dawned that it was never about the award. It was about the journey to the award. You know… sometimes you work so hard to make an impression and it falls flat… and then you are just yourself, doing your best and people are just zapped.
I didn’t need the awards, the accolades as long as the people I loved liked what I did and appreciated my work. As long as they understood and connected to it. There is immense satisfaction when a client or a reader appreciates my work. But it never matches the high of one of my loved ones spontaneously reacting to my work.
Oh I still want my awards… but those are no longer the aim. That’s just the cherry on the icing. I know now that I’m truly satisfied when I look at my work at the end of the day and smile, and the people around me are smiling too.