As I get older, and hopefully, wiser, I tend to become more of a rebel. The one way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t. I wish I could say I’ve always been this way but that’s not so. It’ a trait I’ve developed along the way, likely because I’ve had to take risks and I’ve found that much of the time, I’ve been successful.

Until recently, I didn’t think of myself as ambitious. I thought of myself as surviving and doing what I had to do. I also followed what has been a trait for as long as I can remember. I don’t like to do the same thing for too long. So, I was always open for a new task, challenge or project. The more different things I did, the more I began to realize what I enjoyed doing. Because the job I was in, at the time, provided me with many benefits in my single parenting, I did the best I could to find new challenges within that setting. Again, I didn’t put the tag of ambition on this behavior. That is, until a man I worked with, said to me “You’re so ambitious”. Now, this was not in any way meant to be a compliment. It was clearly a negative judgment. We had the same job title. He seemed to be content to just do his job, while that wasn’t enough for me.

At the time, I wasn’t sure how to respond to this, and to be honest, I didn’t think about it too much. However, not soon after that comment, I made the decision to have a home built. I can’t tell you the number of people, male and female who tried to convince me that this was too ambitious for a woman who is also a single mother, and to be honest, not at all wealthy. No matter how much research I’d done, initially these people had me questioning myself. But then something happened. I’m not quite sure where it came from but I’m sure glad it did. For the first time I can truly remember, I become totally rebellious and decided “I’ll show them.” And I did!

I’m still living in that house. I love my house for many reasons but one of them is that it was the gateway to my overt ambition and my pride in the same. Completing it and proving those people wrong has given me the strength to do other things that require ambition.

I’ve since left that job, as I realized the kind of ambition I’m now proud of was not valued, especially in women. I’m working in a job where it’s more accepted and if nothing else I have more independence. More importantly, I’ve started my own business. If my ambition serves me well, in a few years, I’ll be working for myself completely. I’ve also joined women’s business groups that support and encourage my ambition. I choose to surround myself by believers.

Don’t get me wrong. I still care for people. I’m kind to my friends, business associates and I’m all for helping others in their pursuits. I’m not all out for myself and I struggle to understand why the word ambitious, particularly in terms of women, is still so often seen that way.

The dictionary gives the following as definitions for ambition.

1. An ardent desire for rank, fame, or power
2. Desire to achieve a particular end

I choose to define myself by the second but it seems many use only the first definition. The gender discussion of this will be another article.

Most importantly, I like my ambition. I’ll defend it to anyone. And if someone wants to equate being ambitious with being a Bitch, then I ask - Please, please capitalize the “B” - because I’ll take it as a compliment.

Author's Bio: 

Gayle LaSalle, President and owner of Living Lily, is a professional trainer, teacher and former clinician, holding a BS in Psychology and an MS in Education.

Gayle is a Professional speaker and trainer with a message of hope, encouragement and need to lead life in the best way possible, at all times.Through speaking, training and personal coaching, Gayle’s goal is to help others realize their ability to make choices and allow themselves to thrive rather than simply survive.

Gayle's professional experience, allows her to show the audience realistic, practical and solution focused ideas on how to identify priorities, weigh outcomes and make powerful choices. Her personal experience allows her to do so in an authentic and legitimate manner. She shares more than simple ideas and facts. She shares life lessons. Gayle may make you may laugh or cry but she will definitely make you think!