A Chance to Act on Ambition (Guest Post)
During my younger teen years, it felt like every other conversation I had with anyone was about living abroad. I spoke in a frequent faux British accent, obsessed over Julie Andrews and Peter Pan, and wrote about at least half a dozen book characters who were British (as if I knew ANYTHING enough about the culture at the time to write a book regarding it).
Not much has changed. Bottom line, I wanted to live there. For a short time, for a long time, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know when (although at that point in my life, my recommended timeline for everything was ASAP - patience is still something I’m workshopping), I just knew that I felt a deep-seeded connection with travel and specifically the romantic wonder of England.
Fast forward a bit; I’m twenty years old now (I still cringe when I say that), and I’m leaving for the the United Kingdom in two weeks, to live for three months. A piece of the dream has become tangible, and it’s the first time that a stated ambition from my youth has come entirely true. This got me thinking about my ambitions; I had a lot more of them when I was younger.
After my first year of college, I like to think that I mellowed out a lot. I’m a recovering micro-manager, meaning that a few years ago, I would’ve had a spazz attack if anyone had sent me a “wanna go grab something from Sonic?” text at 11:00 at night. Now, I’m quite open to those types of adventures, and I’m proud of that. But after I did a little more self-evaluating (a habit that is good in small doses), I realized that along with this “mellowing” came a distinct lack of the types of goals I used to set in years past.
There is a balance to everything. Being a singer, I often completely disregard realism (despite being very realistic in every other aspect of life). Taking this into account, my goals from the middle school ages were thus: when I was ten, I wanted a recording contract by the time I was thirteen. When I turned thirteen (and made myself pretty miserable over all I had not accomplished), I set a new goal to have a recording contract by the time I was fifteen. When I turned fifteen without a blossoming concert touring career, the goal turned to eighteen. Obviously, all of those landmarks have passed. And in The Mellowing that occurred once I passed the age of nineteen, I realized how harmful those types of goals were, as I wasn’t actually doing much to claim them. I disregarded them at that point.
What I didn’t realize was that when I did that, I also stopped entertaining ambition. Like I said, there’s a balance. If you go with the flow too much, you aren’t setting goals and progressing forward; but if your goals are insanely impossible, you’re only going to end up self-deprecating. I still needed to figure out where that balance was for me personally.
I’ve dabbled in and out of the blogosphere since I was about twelve, and one year I came across the concept of “one little word” on one of the blogs that I followed. The concept is simple: pick just one word at the beginning of a new year that you meditate on and filter your life through. Mine through the years have varied largely; tenacity, grace, becoming (there are a few more but I’ve forgotten). When searching for the perfect word for 2017, the word ambition filtered through on one of my Pinterest boards, and it stuck.“What a rambler; she hasn’t actually talked about the U.K. in two paragraphs” (I can hear you).
Here’s the tie-in:
Set healthy goals. Be self-aware enough to know that you aren’t going to become the next TSwift, or Lauren Daigle, or Jennifer Lawrence, or (insert name of a relatively well known individual in your field) in just a hot minute.
Find the balance between your realism and your ambition. It’s there, and it’s found where your longest-held wishes coincide with what God provides for you, through the hard work that you’ve put in.
(this one’s optional) Have you found “one little word” for the new year? It’s not too late! I’d love to hear what you’ve chosen. Comment here or write me a note at email@example.com to tell me what it is!
One of my longest-held wishes has been to live in the U.K., and to tell about it. I applied for the trip, I put in the work, and God’s given me this chance, so now I’m making sure to act on my ambition and document it in every way that I can, while also making an impact. That’s where you come in!
I’ve started my Youtube channel, MCat’s Outta the Bag, to tell about my travels, and my new blog, mcatsouttathebag.tumblr.com, to write about them. But the coolest thing about my project is that I’ll be teaming up with Oxfam (www.oxfam.org) to raise money for world poverty. The more my materials get shared, the more we can tell about this organization, and the more money we can raise. I’d love it if you could hit up the above links and help me out!