I wouldn’t exactly say I was the most ambitious person when I was a child. I kind of coasted through my younger years, doing well due to my parents who ensured it. I got into a grammar school but that took a ton of discipline from my parents, and even throughout the first two years of secondary school I barely knew what it meant to ‘revise’. I’ve always been creative, and I would make websites, videos and stories at home since I was literally 5 years old. But ‘drive’? That arrived in my teen years. And I actually remember it – in year 9, aged 14, for my end of year exams, I thought to myself ‘why don’t I just… I dunno… try hard this year?‘. I would study every day from 9am until 8pm (with breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner), then every day at 8pm I would watch a film on Sky Movies – and I did this on repeat over the Easter break. That year I did the best in my exams than I had ever done up until that date, I even went on to be given an award from my school for my results/effort that year…
Suddenly, the script flipped; I didn’t need my parents bugging me to work hard and be ambitious, it came itself. At age 14, I put up a survey on my now old blog, and asked my readers whether they would purchase web-designs if I offered them out. 50% said yes and 50% no – it wasn’t a clear go ahead, but I thought there was nothing to lose and no reason to stagnate, so I went for it and started selling designs. At age 15, I opened up my own web-design shop, and after some weeks, I had a queue of orders. I only charged people c. £7 per design, but at age 15 – £7 x 10 orders = £70 – that’s a shopping trip and a half at Primark. In school, I would go into every exam fighting for no less than 100% (because that was possible back then!), and on A-Level results day, when I got an AAA and no A*s – the look on my face would have had you thinking I had failed across the board. I took on new roles – I was in my school’s dance production, I was in their charity committee, I was a Chemistry prefect and I even applied for Head Girl (despite the fact that I was scared af to do so), because I knew there was no reason to let my fear stop me from applying.
But then university happened, and although I was proud that I had gotten into such an amazing institution, my drive and general ambition started to fade very quickly. I considered quitting blogging, just for the fact that I felt embarrassed about it, I was going into exams fighting for a 2:1 (a big change from a few years back when I was fighting for 100% and nothing less), sure I wanted a good job that paid well – but I was going after whatever role was the simplest and had the least hours. I had been an active member of the ACS, but had been told that I would grilled during my speech if I applied for the committee – so I decided not to; I applied instead for a society and a role that I knew I could get quite easily (and this is a far cry from the girl that applied for Head Girl knowing she was scared af but was going to do it anyway to take herself out of her comfort zone). I had become so content with just being ordinary, a position I never thought I’d find myself in, and it was primarily due to a large influence I had in my life at the time, who was also extremely content with being ordinary.
In 2014 I met my boyfriend – and of course I’m bias – but he is one of the most ambitious people I’ve ever known. He’s always thinking 5-years ahead, he always thinking of how he can be better (he introduced me to Tony Robbins!), he had a uni scholarship, internships under his belt, and was still always pushing for roles and opportunities that would open the most doors for him. He has self-proclaimed that he wants to make it onto Forbes 30 under 30, he wants to make a sh*t load of money, and he applied for the ACS committee – and got the Vice President role – even after people were telling him to go for an easier role that “he was more likely to get”. Through having this positive influence over my life, it’s was almost as if I rediscovered myself once again. So, I picked up my blog and started to grow it, I started pushing for roles (in university and in the work-world) that would develop me, I fell in love with entrepreneurship, I live for self-development (I became a big fan of Tony Robbins), I excelled in my internship (they said it, not me), I pushed for a 1st class, and I decided I don’t need to be satisfied with being just ordinary.
Have you stagnated? Here’s some ways to stay motivated every step of the way…
Push yourself out of your comfort zone
Evaluate where you are, and where you want to be… you can call it – ‘making yourself uncomfortable’. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can come in many forms – it could be something as little as going to an event where you don’t really know many people and forcing yourself to be social. It could also be as extreme as quitting your job because you feel miserable and want something that will make you feel more fulfilled. When you’re just 100% comfortable in life – the chances that you’re really growing are obviously quite low. Not to say that you should always be uncomfortable (for example, I feel right now that I am quite comfortable in life), but it’s something to keep in mind to ensure that you don’t get too comfortable with being comfortable.
Find out more about inspiring people
Who inspires you? And what are their stories? Your inspirations don’t always have to be as big as Barack Obama (although he is very inspiring). Sometimes it can be your parents, sometimes it can be your other half, sometimes it can just be someone in your class/someone at work that you think is doing big things. Let yourself be inspired by others, learn their stories, and it will naturally push you and motivate you to do and be better.
Chase your passions
Chasing your passions doesn’t always have to mean you quit your job or drop out of school. It really doesn’t (even though that’s what Twitter will sometimes have you believe). What’s important is that you never, by any means, neglect your passions. Almost everyone is passionate about something, and a lot of the time it is these things that keep you sane.
Decide that you are unsatisfied with being ordinary
And work every day to being the best version of yourself.
I decided to write this post after going to dinner with a two friends this week where we all shared stories of constant development, building ourselves (and others) and always chasing the next thing. It made me reminisce back to the period where I lost all motivation – and made my want to share my tips and my story!