I have always considered myself a very ambition person. Especially once I discovered my field of human-computer interaction I set a path ablaze and I was ready to change the world with my passion. Give me any challenge and my ambition would drive me and subsequently most of the people I worked with to go above and beyond the call of duty. Now most would say this is a very good characteristic. It looks great on a resume and lends towards many line items. I took pride in my ambition and used it as a means to get promoted, recognized, and rewarded at work.
Here’s the kicker, at the height of my ambition, I got bored. Every call I was on with clients and colleagues I already knew the answers. I predicted the questions and was quick to respond. While I felt a small rush to “nail the call/meeting” there was a boredom that soon followed. With boredom I eagerly took on new projects where I saw an opportunity to over engineer solutions. Eventually, my career path at that time ended and I was left with an unease at the homelessness my ambition was now experiencing.
Fast forward, I’ve co-created Empeiria and taken a very different but related path with my career. I was away for Memorial Day and enjoying a book by my favorite author David Whyte. In this book, David takes a word and then, in his eloquent way, describes the word and the experience of the word. As I feasted on every page, I came across the word ‘ambition.’ I won’t share the full 3 pages of the description here but I encourage everyone to give the book a read. I will, however, share the sentence that most struck me and caused me to take a giant sigh of relief that my inner knowing about ambition and my decision to take a different course was on target for me to achieve my highest potential. David says this about ambition:
- “…ambition is frozen desire.”
- “…The very disease of ambition is that it can be so easily explained to others.”
- And my absolutely favorite, heart-striking part, “What is worthy of a life’s dedication does not want to be known by us in ways that diminish its actual sense of presence. Everything true to itself has its own secret language and an internal intentionality with a secret surpassing flow, even to the person who supposedly puts in all in motion.”
Essentially, what David is describing is with my ambition, my sense of wonder decreased. It was about getting it done as fast and good as possible, instead of a receiving of each moment. In my ambition, I forgot the very reason I got into the HCI field to begin with….I wanted and still want to be a part of the conversation. I want to be a part of the discovery of the possibilities involved when people act with technology. That is my heart song.
In all honesty, my ambition helped me accomplish a lot of things. It helped me quickly progress in my career. I am grateful for her years of service. AND I now release her so that I can go back to wonder and be a part of the conversation and discovery about people being with technology in such a way that is a catalyst for wholeness.