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Are You Mindfully Ambitious? How Mindfulness Helps

Most of us would say we are ambitious, but can we go further and describe ourselves as mindfully ambitious? What is mindful ambition? And how can it help us live better, more fulfilled lives?  

Are You Mindfully Ambitious? How Mindfulness Helps 

Ambition can be broadly put as the determination to accomplish a goal or achieve something.

Mindfulness is often considered as being in the moment, self-aware, conscious of your current state. So how can working toward future achievements also be an in-the-moment experience?

Although they don’t seem cohesive, finding a mindful approach to ambition can expand our potential for growth and success. This is a balancing act but can create deeper clarity in every step and strengthen confidence as you pursue your purpose and passion.

Ambition is a good thing. And so is mindfulness. Together, they can give you the strong desire to to change your current situation in meaningful ways.

Most importantly you will find yourself enjoying the process more and not missing the importance of the current moment you are living.

It seems ambition is primarily associated with career pursuits. Pushing oneself to achieve success in the workplace can mean promotions, increased income, certain titles or recognition.

On the other hand, there are many people passionate about learning who choose to work toward completing various degrees or certifications. But, maybe you characterize yourself as ambitious just not in those ways.

Your passion might be found in sports, talents/skills/hobbies, or even family. Sports are often driven by competitive ambition and working towards a physical peak. And whether in sports or talents/skills/hobbies, we often find communities that support our pursuits too.

Sharing a common interest helps to surround us with others who have similar goals and can be a source of encouragement along the way. If you have a focus on family, you might push yourself to foster healthy relationships which encourage the development and growth of particular values.

As a parent, one could work towards raising their children in those values and pursue a community of individuals who encourage their children’s growth. Whatever we are determined to accomplish it is easy to recognize the significance of our aspirations.

So let’s break that down and look a little closer.

Ambition pushes us to improve and achieve personal growth.

We also find part of our identity in the significance we give each aspiration, form ourselves to turn them into reality. And that desire to reach our goals and then to keep pursuing beyond those accomplishments gives us direction in life.

We open ourselves to opportunities to explore interests and evaluate our values. And if those change, it can help us shift where our energy is focused. But how can ambition hinder us? Can it keep us from attending to our current health or needs?

Perhaps at times we find ourselves pushing too hard and we bear the consequences of burnout. Or, we see a negative influence of our pursuits on our relationships.

Our ambition could be pulling us away from important growth and development of our other values. How painful it would be to achieve a goal but only then realize how the path of attainment has adversely affected our lives. Fortunately, this is where integrating a facet of mindfulness will ensure our aspirations do not unknowingly garner negative results. 

Being conscientious ensures we are not stuck looking past the now. This means we can appreciate where we are and who we are at this moment, without missing out on the value of today. 

Then taking the time to evaluate where our energy is focused allows important insight on our ambitions and what they mean to us. If we cannot consider where we currently stand, we cannot determine which steps are needed to achieve our next goal.

But diving deeper into this mindful perspective we can also regroup on the efficacy and influence of our ambitions. It gives us the opportunity to evaluate why we have our aspirations and how we go about pursuing them.

We can determine if there are better and more efficient choices we can make to get us there. A mental review of the required work and compromises involved can help us decide if this track is still in line with our values. If you’re not sure how to approach being mindfully ambitious, then it’s time to work on some reflection.

Questions to ask yourself to be more mindfully ambitious:

  • Am I proud of what I have accomplished so far? How could pursuing this ambition influence my future happiness and self-worth?
  • Why do I want to work towards this?
  • How has this been important to me in the past versus now and could that importance change over time?
  • Are my goals realistic or do I need to reevaluate the efficacy of my plans?
  • Who does this ambition influence and how (myself, family, relationships)?
  • From where did this determination grow (myself, external factors, other people)? 
  • Am I making compromises for my ambition? Do the compromises still align with my values and will they be worth it?
  • How have I grown thus far, and what growth do I want to achieve through this process?

Finding the most effective level of mindfulness will be different for everyone. Any addition of mindfulness to your aspirations will bring clarity, allowing further confidence in your plans and goals.

The idea is to find a balance between self-evaluation and self-propulsion that works best for you. Your state of being mindfully ambitious deepens that ability to grow and succeed while you continue to enjoy each moment with purpose and passion.

Additional tools include mindfulness meditation, which is one of the best ways to improve your mental health, strengthen your own ambition, and aids in the hard work for what you’ll consider to be your greatest accomplishment.

What do you think? How will you start being more mindfully ambitious?

About the Author

Colleen Brickman

Colleen Brickman completed a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture in 2014 at Virginia Tech. After working in a public garden for 3 years and a short spurt in retail management, she found her joy in working in the healthcare field. Still partially on the retail side, she worked as an optical assistant to sell glasses for patients at an ophthalmology practice. She is working towards optician creditizations and licensure. She has always enjoyed singing but has a newfound interest in learning the ukulele. Listening to podcasts has been her main outlet for exploration because there is such a vast assortment of topics and speakers. While crafting has been a long-term interest, she has found another creative outlet in gardening. Her long-term career goal is to continue supporting and educating people to understand how to best care for themselves. She has always enjoyed listening to the experiences patients share during their time together and have found they often appreciate a listening ear.