own your ambition (don’t let it own you)

entrepreneurship, podcast

August 20, 2020

Lindsey Clark



a couple of weeks ago, after listening to one too many philosophical talks on youtube, i started feeling convicted that as leaders we need to own our ideas, and not allow our ideas to own us. as the weeks, went on— i realized that this idea also applied to ambition.

you see, because while i believe that ambition is a beautiful thing — and absolutely necessary in order to accomplish big ideas. i believe that when we relinquish control and allow our ambition to drive us— we are out of balance. and, we find ourselves in a place of discontentment— never satisfied with what we’ve accomplished, never content with where we are, and always feeling like we’re falling short of something. because ambition is a wild beast that is never satisfied — it wants more, more, more.

when we allow ambition to own us, instead of owning our ambition— we find ourselves in a space of comparison, stressed out and frustrated that we’re not further up ahead. we find ourselves being stingy with our celebration for others — leaning more into scarcity mindset than abundance.

in elizabeth gilbert’s book, “big magic”, she discusses that we need fear, but have to keep it in the back seat. the same goes for ambition. we need ambition. but, it ought to never control us or own us. like fear, it must sit in the back seat as we journey throughout this life and create. because, we are are the creators— the ones with authority who breathes life into ideas, not ambition.

as leaders, who are daring to do great things in the world, we have to be brave enough to take back and control and own our ambition. because, there’s things for us to do in this world — big, daring, and wild things. and in order to accomplish them, we need to be living well. we need to be living and working and creating in a way that is sustainable to us— so that we don’t burn out. so, that when the challenges come, when the hard seasons come, when the set-backs come— we have the capacity to continue to inch forward.

this episode of the daring romantics is for the ambitious creators — who dare to dream, who dare to see a world of possibility. it’s for those who feel tired and worn out and want to do things differently. it’s for the daring believers who believe in themselves against all odds but need the gentle reminder that there’s no rush to get things done. it’s for the leaders who are ready to show up in the world and lead others to a new way of doing things – who are unafraid to take the lead and own their ambition and create at a pace that is going to breathe life into them just as much as they breathe life into their ideas.

tune into episode no. 125 on the peptalks app, iTunes, spotify, stitcher — or here, the blog. 🙂


Hello my friends! and welcome to episode number 125 of the Daring Romantics with Lindsey Eryn. and, I’m Lindsey Eryn.

So, today I’m having so many random thoughts and there’s just like this unleashing that needs to happen, of all the stuff that’s happening inside of my head. And, I’m excited! so I hope that you are excited as well.

But, I first and foremost, have to have a PSA, have to have a PSA-moment. so, here it is — peptalks is now in Google Play! okay, this isn’t necessarily new news, but it may be news that I forgot to mention. which, you know — we’re just in a season guys, we can just only do so much! but anyways, I think that I forgot to mention, that peptalks is now in Google play. so, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I launched an app, in May, on May 5th, on Cinco de Mayo, because I have to pay tribute to the fact that I am Mexican, so yes one of my favorite holidays, Cinco de Mayo — for the chips and salsa, tacos and margaritas, of course!

but, back to the app — I launched an app on Cinco de Mayo called peptalks, which is essentially, exactly what you’re thinking. It’s a goldmine of positivity, of words of encouragement, of affirmations, of everything that is going to keep you inspired and full of Hope just as you chase your dreams. and, I have just been getting some of the most amazing DMs and messages and emails about it — of just how it’s literally changing people’s perspective on life, and changing the trajectory of their life and it’s just really incredible just to see what can happen when you change your focus.

I think that it’s so incredibly easy to focus on the negative because it’s kind of our natural response as human beings, right? to be fearful or to be anxious or to be stressed — and something that we have to work on, is building faith. you know, I think a lot of people think that faith comes so naturally to some people, but no — it’s a muscle, just like anything else, like, if you want to get strong physically, what do you have to do? you have to work out. it’s not that some people are naturally stronger than others, it’s just they do things that make them strong.

in the same way, it goes for faith. people aren’t just naturally full of faith — they work at it, they build up their faith by feeding on things that are going to keep them inspired by hope and Inspired with joy and inspired with the belief that everything is going to work out well for them.

and yeah, it’s just been really cool to see people’s responses, and see how it’s actually impacting people’s lives. and that was literally the one thing that I said when I launched this app, is, I hope that it impacts people’s lives. I hope that it plays a pivotal part in people’s transformation.

and so far, it has done that. and, I’m kind of biased, but I think it’s a pretty awesome app! so you should go check it out, it’s on Google Play and the Apple App Store. it’s called peptalks by Lindsey Eryn. and, if you’re enjoying it, do me the huge, huge favor and leave a review, because this will get it bumped up in the App Store and in the Google Play Store for more people to find it and to have the same, joyful experience that you are having with the app. so, if you would do that for me, I would be forever grateful.

but today — I want to talk to you guys about ambition. because, it is something that I have been thinking about so much lately, and honestly, my relationship with ambition. and I think it stems from one, being a naturally ambitious person, and two, Anne of Green Gables, because duh! …she’s my life inspiration. but she has this quote that says, “oh it’s so delightful to have ambitions! I’m so glad I have such a lot. and there never seems to be any end of them — that’s the best of it. just as soon as you attain one ambition, you see another one glittering higher-up still.”

and I don’t know about you, but I’ve always resonated with Anne, and I’ve always resonated with this specific quote — because, as soon as I have one idea, like, a little bit of time passes by, and then I have another idea, and another thing that I want to aim for.

case in point, life right now — I have so many ideas of things that I want to start working on now that the app is done. But three, the reason why I’ve been thinking about ambition so much, is because this year my word was fulfillment. And, I set big goals for myself in January, like massive goals for myself, and I’m just determined to experience them! and we have been hit with a pandemic that literally came out of freaking nowhere, and I’m still holding on to my belief that I’m going to experience the Fulfillment of dreams and ideas and goals this year!

and so, I think because of how much I believe in myself and in my ideas, and how much ambition I have naturally as a human being, I am experiencing, or I have been experiencing, I should say, this insane type of tension. and I didn’t really recognize it until a couple weeks back — maybe it was 2 months ago, I listened to this podcast about restlessness, and I literally identified and resonated so hardcore with everything that was being said.

and it’s so funny, too, right? because some nights I have insomnia and I can’t go to sleep and so I’m just playing a podcast so that I’m soothed to bed.

and, needless to say, I was not soothed to bed by Rob Bell’s voice. and instead, was literally up taking notes, and just saying like, oh my gosh! I feel this, I feel this restlessness that’s happening within my soul, and it’s exhausting! and essentially, I came to this point where I realized that my ambition was beginning to exhaust me.

yes, of course, the pandemic in itself is exhausting, we can all admit to that. but there are other things in this life that are also going to exhaust us, outside of the pandemic. and for me, in this season, it’s been my ambition. I am always trying to think of new ways to serve people and new ways to encourage people and to build community, and at the same time, I’m always trying to find new ways to make my money work for me and to increase my income, and to multiply what I have, and to multiply my resources. and, on paper, I have the perfect formula, always. like, on paper — everything is awesome. and then, you insert that into real life. and it just never goes the way that you anticipate, am I right? Like really, it just never goes the way that you anticipate.

like, you can write it down on paper, and it’s not going to happen that way. Like — guarantee. not being pessimistic, but just being, when we write things on paper, we think of it in some type of utopia world, as if there’s never going to be any challenges or interference of whatever kind — whether it be, oh I don’t know, a global pandemic, or, you know, just, I don’t have enough time in the day, and I’m not Beyonce, but I still have the 24 hours — I don’t know. you know, there’s just always going to be something that doesn’t allow you to live out your utopian goal-list and to-do list and timeline. and that’s okay!

but I think that when you’re ambitious, you just start feeling the tension of like, “oh, I should be further up ahead! oh, I should be doing this, I should be doing that!” which is fine, if it’s being well-balanced.

so I guess, backtrack, when I launched this app — I was not anticipating how much extra work I was adding into my week. like, I truly don’t think that I was anticipating at all. like, in my Utopia world, my app was out there, and it was self-feeding, and I just never had to do anything ever again, except post about it on Instagram stories, which — is not true. like, I just, I don’t think that I had thought that far ahead, which is, again, very “me.”

I’m definitely the “dive into the deep Waters and figure it out when you get there,” like, “learn how to swim once you dive in” — that’s definitely who I am.

so, that’s kind of what I did with the app — again, not recommended. I definitely recommend learning how to swim before you get in the water, calculating how much time something is going to add your plate before you do it. but, if you end up being like me, just know that you’ll survive whatever you get yourself into.

so the app launched, my weekly workload increased, and my ambition went up like 15 million notches. because I now had this new thing that I was incredibly ambitious about, and competitive about, within my own self. Which, again, being competitive is fine — if it’s in balance.

so, recognizing that I had an incredible amount of work on my plate, I realized that, okay Lindsey, if you want to survive and thrive, then you need to get some help. so, I hired an assistant, who is amazing! shout-out to Jess. she’s literally a God-send — guys, I cannot even explain to you how Heaven-Sent Jess is. she’s an absolute Angel.

she thinks of things before I even think of them. I love her! and she has helped me significantly, in just doing some of the things that I no longer had time for, or had the capacity to do. and she’s just really helped me. and so, now having her, I was like, “wow, I can conquer the world!” …and I just started getting even more ambitious because I had help — somebody to help carry the load with me.

and, I started getting more ideas of how I could serve people, and how I could create tangible experiences for people that would Inspire them and Empower them and their journey. and, as I was working to create, I started noticing that I was getting exhausted. and yes, we’re going through a global pandemic, which definitely adds to the exhaustion levels. but, like I said earlier, we can’t blame everything on the pandemic. at some point, we actually have to take ownership of our own lives and of our own actions and of our own movements.

and, I started recognizing that I was feeling exhausted because I was out of balance. I had let my ambition begin to own me, instead of owning my ambition. and that’s never a good thing!

like, it is such a good and beautiful thing to be ambitious — we need ambitious, it drives us forward, it moves us to the Future, it gives us determination and grit and perseverance.

but at the same time, we have to be in control. because once ambition, once we will relinquish our control, and give it to ambition, and the ambition inside of us, it is like a wild beast that is never satisfied.

my ambition was causing me to compare where I was to where other people are in my industry, or other people that I have respect for. it was causing me to become frustrated with where I was, and the pace that I was growing at, and start becoming really restless and discontent. and if I’m being completely transparent, it started causing me to be protective of my space, and kind of territorial with my ideas, and the kind of work that I was doing, not wanting people to “step on my toes” of what I was doing. which, when I noticed that that was happening, I felt so yucky. like there’s no other word to describe it, other than yucky, because that is not who I am, that is not who I want to be, that is not the person that I want to be known for!

I want to be known for being such an encourager, being such a cheerleader of Dreams, being somebody who relentlessly celebrates other people and their successes. I never want anybody to feel like, “oh I can’t tell Lindsey X Y and Z that I’m excited about, because I just don’t know how she’ll react.”

like, no! If you’re making more money than me, if you have more podcast listeners than me, if you have, you know, more followings and better opportunities than me — like, I want to be the person who brings the champagne and Pops it open and celebrates with you! like, that is who I am, that is who I have chosen to be, and that is who I always want to choose to be.

but that’s the key — we have to constantly, intentionally choose to be that person. we don’t make the choice once, we make the choice every single day to be that person. which means every single day, we have to put ourselves in check.

and, if some point in time, we notice the ugly parts of Us coming out because that’s not even something shameful to say, like we all have ugly parts of us, we all have those things inside of us that are not the prettiest. we’re humans! like, that is just how it is. I don’t know any other word to say it or way to say it, but that’s just how it is. there is good and evil of the world and each of us as human beings are capable of both good and evil.

and in order for the good to play out, we have to nourish the good — but we also have to be conscious and aware. like, we’re not just naturally Angelic human beings. no, we intentionally choose to be good. we intentionally choose to live well. we intentionally choose to live with humility and honor and integrity. Because I think our natural tendency is just to do whatever makes us feel good and important and seen. but that’s not necessarily the path of goodness.

okay, I totally got on a philosophical Sidetrack — but that was all to say, that I started noticing things coming out of me that I don’t want! I don’t want to display that kind of Lifestyle. I don’t want to be a jealous person. I don’t want to be a frustrated or stressed-out entrepreneur. that’s not how I want to live my life, that’s not how I want to grow my business, and build a career, and chase after dreams.

and so, I started recognizing that I needed to put myself in check. I needed to put my ambition in check. I don’t know if y’all have read the book, “big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

to be honest — I’ve actually never even finish it, because I gave it to somebody, but, oh well — I don’t think that you need to finish every book that you start. I did read the important part, though! And it’s the one analogy that everybody talks about, and everybody uses when it comes to fear — about how fear can be in the car, but it is not the driver of the car.

It can’t turn up the volume, It can’t change the channel — fear gets to come along for the ride, but fear must stay in the backseat. and I love that analogy, and I think that it goes hand-in-hand with the idea of ambition. Right? you need ambition — you need ambition in order to accomplish big things in the world. you need ambition to leave a lasting Legacy and to disrupt culture. ambition is what will motivate you, and inspire you, and give you that determination and perseverance to push through the challenges.

but, just like things go awry when fear is in the driver’s seat — things will also go awry when ambition is in the driver seat. because, just like I was experiencing this restlessness, and this discontent, and this comparison, and this feeling of always being behind — that’s what happens when we allow our ambition to drive us!

so we have to remember that, as creators, we’re in control. and we have to remain in control. Fear and ambition, they can come along for the ride, 100%, just like Elizabeth Gilbert says.

but, we have to remain in control. we have to own our ambition, and not allow it to own us — or else, if we allow our ambition to own us, what’s going to happen, is we’re going to become a slave to our own ideas. We’re going to become a slave to our own ambition. they’re going to own and possess us, dictating our thoughts, our movements, our attitude, our actions — and run us to the ground! ambition will exhaust you to the point of burnout, if you are not careful.

and again — I am for ambition. I think that we need ambition — without ambition, you can be lazy. and, I’m not a fan of the lazy. I’m not a fan of hand-outs, I’m not a fan of just sitting there and hoping things work out for you. I am definitely an advocate for ambition. So, this is not to say, don’t be ambitious. like, yes, 100%, be ambitious. what I’m saying, is own your ambition — don’t let it own you, because there is a huge, huge, huge difference.

and just the way that you create will be different. when you’re in control and when you own your ambition, you control your pace. you control how things are done, when they’re done. you control your attitude and your movements. and, you create with joy, because you recognize that even being able to create is such a blessing, and is such a gift! whereas when ambition is in the driver’s seat — ambition is just driving the car so fast that it leads you to this idea that there is scarcity. that there is not enough for you, that you’re behind, that you should be further up ahead than you are. Ambition will lead you to compete more than you collaborate — it will cause you to protect your space instead of being celebratory of other people and what they’re doing. which, isn’t how it’s supposed to be! creation should be this joyous and life-giving experience. it out to happen out of the Overflow of who we are, and the goodness that is happening and erupting inside of us.

It ought to be something that is shared and celebrated. creation oughta be this thing that unites and inspires people, instead of separating us and isolating us. And that’s what ambition often does, if we let it control us.

so, if we find ourselves in this place where we’re exhausted by our own ambition, living in a scarcity mindset, protective of our own success or jealous if somebody else is experiencing opportunity or success, or constantly restless and itching to be further up ahead than we already are, then we have to put ourselves in check. we have to come to the understanding that we are the creators. we are the ones with the authority, we are the ones who are living and breathing — which means we are the ones with power, not our ideas and our goals.

our ideas and goals are nothing without us! they need us to breathe life into them. without us, they cannot come alive in the world. that means we’re the power, We’re The Authority, we’re the life givers. but when we relinquish our control, and give the authority to our ambition and to our ideas, everything comes out of balance and becomes dysfunctional.

and I think a tangible way to look at this, is when you look at a parent who has completely relinquished power and control and authority to their child. and, we’ve all seen this play out whether in the movies, or whether in real life at the grocery store or at a restaurant — where a child is throwing a tantrum and they are setting the rules, setting the demands, and the parent, instead of taking control and disciplining the child and exercising their Authority as a parent, they just bend to the will of the child, and do whatever the child wants. it’s evident in those situations that the parent, even though they are the dominant one — they are the head of the home, they’re supposed to be in control and taking ownership of their household — it’s evident that, in those scenarios, they’ve relinquished control! and the power has been shifted to the child, which is dysfunctional.

that’s not how it’s supposed to be — the children are not supposed to run the household. the parents are supposed to run the household, right? and, we know that anybody who allows their child to run their home, is going to be living in complete disfunction. the parent is going to be exhausted, frustrated, stressed out, overwhelmed — you name it, the parent is going to be experiencing it, because they are living out of balance. Right?

like we can easily identify that within the family unit, but this is exactly what happens to us as creators when we relinquish our control and our power and our authority, and allow our ambition and our ideas to have ownership over us. they were never meant to dictate our actions.

we were meant to set the rules, set the pace, set the flow, set the attitude, set the mindset of creation — not our goals or our ambition. when we give our ideas and goals too much weight, too much power in how we live our lives and go about our days and work — things become out of balance and Dysfunctional, and start looking and feeling unhealthy, because there’s been a shift in power that was never supposed to happen.

earlier in June, I started listening to a lot of philosophy and getting really philosophical about life and ideas and, I tweeted something that I think is very relevant to this conversation. and although I wrote it about intellectual ideas, I do think that it also pertains to the idea of ambition.

and this is the tweet: a leader isn’t owned by an idea, allowing it to dictate his or her actions. but rather, a leader is an intellect, who owns an idea — taking ideas and pairing them with wisdom, and using them as an agent to produce change.

And so, here’s the call to action — if we want to be the leaders and the Creators who inspire and forge a path toward the Future, then we have to keep ourselves and our ambition in check, making sure that we own our ambition. that we set the rules, that we determine the pace.

because — here’s the other thing — we’re not racing against a clock. we have time. we have a lifetime to create, we have a lifetime to achieve our goals. we don’t have to get everything done this year or next year or the next five years or the next 10 years. we’re not going to expire as creators.

when you begin to own your ambition and choose to live well — you won’t run out of steam. because you’ll be living and moving and creating in a way that is sustainable to you. and you’ll be creating out of the Overflow of who you are — so, you won’t be feeling washed up and irrelevant, because you’ll realize that, when you’re in-tune with your spirit, when you’re in-tune with your innermost being, then you’re constantly creating things are relevant, because you’re creating out of a place of purpose and deep meaning. but on the contrary, when you allow ambition to drive you, when you allow it to take the driver’s seat and own you, it feeds you so many lies. and one of them is that you better hurry up, before you become too old and irrelevant.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they’re worried that they’re becoming irrelevant or that they’re too old or that they’re washed up. Listen, that’s not true! that’s not going to happen to you. and, if you need evidence — I have plenty of it! like, look at all the amazing Creators who either started later in life, such as Vera Wang. she didn’t start and enter into the fashion industry until she was 40 years old. she’s one of the top fashion designers now. or, Karl Lagerfeld, who made Chanel as iconic as it is now.

or Picasso, who constantly reinvented himself. I went to the Picasso Museum in Spain one time, and it was the most inspiring thing to see his work at the beginning of his career and the work at the end of his career. and the evolution that took place in his life as he continued to create out of the Overflow of who he was, and invent! …and have fun. and you could tell there was so much joy in his work! and it was inventive and it was creative. and the work at the beginning of his life, versus the work at the end of his life, was so different — because he was always creating out of the Overflow of who he was. He was never left in a box.

so, I think as creatives, as dreamers, as business owners — we need to have more confidence in ourselves. we need to have more confidence in our creativity and our intuition, and recognize that when we just actually live and work in a way that is sustainable to us, that is life-giving to us, that is peaceful, that is enjoyable, then we’ll actually be in the place in the atmosphere to create our best work. when we are in control, instead of our ambition, we’ll be creating the best work that we’ve ever produced!

I think that sometimes we buy into this lie as a culture, thinking that “only the people with this intense ambition can be successful.” and, I just don’t buy it, because I’m not sure that those people are actually happy.

you know, we talked about this last week, in the episode about creating meaningful work, that success is not just about what you can materialize here on Earth, but about your experience, and about how you’re living, and about if you’re enjoying life.

so I just want to challenge you in your thinking. I want to challenge you in the way that you’re interacting with ambition. I want to challenge you in the way that you’re creating and working and living. because, more than anything, I truly believe that we need daring romantics to rise up and disrupt culture and introduce a new way of working and creating to the world — because what we’re doing isn’t working. the competition, it’s not healthy for us. the burnout, it’s not doing anything for our souls or for our creativity. the hustle is just leading to this endless cycle of feeling not enough. and we have to change it.

and we have to be the leaders who decide that we’re going to be the change that we want to see happen in our world. we’re going to be the leaders who are brave enough to own our ambition. who are brave enough to live well. and to see possibilities around every single Corner. even at the dead ends.

and so, I’m confident that if we take the time to assess how we’re interacting with ambition, how were allowing it to be a part of our days and creation, and if we decide to take control and to own our ambition, instead of allowing it to own us, then we’ll find so much joy in creating again. we’ll feel so inspired to create and we’ll begin to feel incredibly generous with our celebration, realizing that if good things could happen for somebody else then they can certainly happen for us.

And I’m confident that, when you take back control and own your ambition, that you’ll end each day with peace, instead of stress, realizing that what you did that day was enough. even if it was little. because it was inching you forward. and that’s what matters! it matters that each day we’re taking the little steps that we need to, in order to head towards the future. there’s a different way to live life my friends — and we don’t have to do it the way that everybody else is, stressed and overwhelmed and living in this idea of scarcity.

we’re allowed to live in abundance! in fact, that’s how we were created to live — in Freedom, in peace, and abundance. So let’s put our ambition in Check, and Go and create meaningful work. because, when we do, I think that we’ll make absolute magic in the world. I’m confident of it.

so let’s own our ideas, own our ambition, and own our creativity.

alright my friends, that’s it! let’s go out into the world this week and own our ambition, and make some magic! because there is magic in our bones.

hey friends, it’s me again — thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode of the daring Romantics. honestly, it means the world to me that you would spend a little bit of your day with me. if you would do me a huge favor — go to iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, wherever you’re listening to this podcast, and leave a rating and Review. this will help the podcast continue to grow and to continue to get seen and found by other dreamers, like you, who need a little pep talk and a little encouragement as they chase their dreams. so, if you could do that for me, I would greatly appreciate it! also, if you want to share this episode with somebody that you think would also love it, then I would also love that! or share it on your social media, and don’t forget to mention me, @LindseyEryn or @thedaringRomantics.

all right, that’s it guys! that’s all I have for you. eat some ice cream, download peptalks in the Apple App Store or Google Play, and have a good week!

And yes — I was very serious about the ice cream part — it’s hot outside, and we all deserve an ice cream break. Okay, bye!

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