Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ambition--What drives you?

by Teresa Slack

Ambition—the desire for achievement of distinction and the willingness to strive for it.

For the next week or so I’m going to post a series of articles about how to achieve your goals. For most of us, that means stepping out of our comfort zone. Come on, we’re creatures of habit. We do things the same way over and over, whether it’s taking the same route to work or disciplining our children the same way our parents disciplined us, sadly with much the same results.

But to succeed, to change the way we've always done things in order to break the chains that hold us back, we must step out of our comfort zone.

Three things are vital to step out of our comfort zone in order to reach our goals.
The first component necessary in reaching our goals is AMBITION.

Quick, without thinking too hard, answer this question. What do you want? Come on, it’s an easy one. Don’t think too much. Just blurt it out. Better yet, write it down. What do you want?

My response comes easy. Since you’re here at Writers Rest, yours probably will too. I want a new book contract. Right up there with acquiring that elusive contract, I want to finish the four or five nearly finished books in my hard drive so I can get started on the next four or five stories trapped inside my head.

Next question: Why do you want it? This one shouldn’t take much thought either. Writing is my passion. My ministry. I have a story to tell. It’s exciting and I want to get the story out. You probably have similar reasons. Maybe some a bit more noble.

Now here’s the tough one. Are you willing to pay the price? Hmm. This one gives me pause. Am I willing to turn off the TV, stay off the phone, work through the frustrating parts when the story isn’t coming together, write when the rest of my family is sleeping or having more fun than me and get these stories finished?

Let’s face it. This business is hard. It’s lonely and frustrating and easy to throw up my hands in defeat. How hard we’re willing to stick with something totally depends on how badly we want it.

I have a friend who keeps a money jar next to her workstation at the beauty salon where she works. Every tip and every extra dollar she can get her hands on goes into that money jar. She’s saving for a trip to Hawaii with her friends. They go every couple of years. Anyone who’s been to Hawaii knows it’s an expensive trip and sacrifices need to be made to make the trip a reality, especially on a stylist’s salary. But the sacrifice is worth the pay-out for her. It's important enough that she's willing to go without other things to afford it.

What about you? Do you want to go to Hawaii? Back to school? See your book at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List? What are your dreams worth to you?

While you're chewing on that for a day or two, you can think about my next article; Attitude Makes the Difference. Ambition is vital, but it will only get you so far. Is your attitude holding you back?


Molly Noble Bull said...

Ever see the first Godfather movie? If so, you know that the bad guys hit the mattresses when they are battling other bad guys. In other words, they didn't get in their beds each night and go to sleep. They rested on mattresses on the floor with their weapons at their sides.
When I am working on a book with a deadline, I say that it is time to hit the mattresses. In other words, I don't get much sleep.

Cecelia said...

Yes, most writers have to sacrifice in order to get the elusive book contract. We give up sleep, and the family has to rely on pizza and take-out since cooking is a no-no while on deadline. However, that sacrifice is well worth it when we see our published novel on the bookstore shelf! :-)
~Cecelia Dowdy~

Teresa Slack said...

Thanks for commenting, ladies. Stepping out of our comfort zone is tough, regardless of our goals. But with a plan and the guts to jump make it worth the effort.