Break your own rules. Be yourself. Have self-compassion.
Ambitions are good for your career; they can push you creatively and productively, but relentlessly pursuing them through tunnel vision is dangerous. They rarely result in what you expect, and while you might find success and feel brief moments of accomplishment, the satisfaction is usually short-lived. Your ambition is just setting you up for another hill you have to climb, and another one after that. When you blindly obey your own ambitions, they can be a lofty and slippery slope.
‘The most important rules to break are your own.’
Sometimes the pay-off is not worth the effort of your ambition. When you’re putting tons of effort into your goals, you expect to get some value out of it. A minimal value with a high level of ambition can be problematic without foreseeing high value in the long-term. Your ambition is capable of clouding your judgement to quit or change your approach. You have to break the routine. Break the cycle. Come to terms with the fact that your ambition is not in control of you, because nothing ever goes to plan.
Break your own rules. This isn’t self-sabotage. At the end of the day, your ambitions are just a guide, not a rule book.
Persistence is essential to achieving most goals, but knowing when to quit or change something is even more important. It’s liberating for our sanity to know we can tear up the script. Life’s circumstances make it impossible to stick to schedules and routines forever, so get comfortable with throwing them out of the window when the time comes.
‘Be who you are. Not who you think you should be.’
It’s easy to allow yourself to consider who you think you should be. What kind of person am I? What can I be? What should I be? Just be you. If you’re not working inside of your natural flow, it’s harder to be you. You can’t allow your ambitions to decide that you need to be somebody else.
Instead of focusing too often on self-reflection, get into your state of least friction and focus on the now, the work, and the moment.
You can allow others to inspire you by their actions, but you’ll never be them, and they’ll never be you. You’re the only one capable of your own unique output because of your personality and own personal experience. Once you get into the natural rhythm of what makes you more productive, or more creative, your ambition bends to your will and not the other way around.
‘Self-compassion encourages us to face ourselves in a less critical way so we can change for the better.’
Inside your head, you can be your own worst self-critic; giving yourself the harshest feedback, the most doubting comments, and be constantly overthinking your exploits. But with some self-compassion, you’re able to forgive your actions and keep moving. This doesn’t mean you’re not learning from your mistakes or allowing them to happen.
Give yourself some slack—it pays off in more ways than you think.
People with more self-compassion are more likely to have better creative output because they’ll accept the ‘flaws’ and risks that can create original ideas. They’re more likely to be productive because perfectionism doesn’t exist. They’re more likely to overcome the psychological boundaries that present themselves when ambitions take over.