Conversation Menu: Ambition
A while back I came across these Conversation Menus at my coworking space Inspire9. They’re from The School of Life and a way to “foster friendship and bring meals to life”.
Well, I thought - why not create a regular series here to start a conversation and foster friendship (and if you have a cup of tea, a cookie or a glass of wine with you, that’s perfect).
I’ll share each Conversation Menu question below, answer it myself, and then ask you to join in on Instagram or wherever it is you would like to connect. And if you’re hiding behind your laptop or phone, that’s all good too - you can answer the questions for yourself, I’m sure it will spark some emotions, creativity and inspiration.
One thing’s for sure: these conversation starters (and mains and desserts) are fun. But they also challenge you to open up, be vulnerable, and dig deep inside yourself. They’re a great way to grow!
Let’s start this week with AMBITION.
Were your parents fulfilled in their own ambitions?
Yes and No I believe. As with any work, there are upsides and downsides. My dad worked as a police officer, the majority of his time at the police was spent at the “traffic safety department”, doing prevention work with children, working with older people, and teaching kids road rules while riding a bike (that’s the best way I can describe it). Before he finally got the OK to retire a few years early, he got burnt out and I can still see the aftereffects of that today.
My mum works as a kindergarten teacher. For the majority of the time she seems to enjoy her job. She’s always been great at it, and is definitely a person who enjoys looking after, caring for and nurturing people.
I know both my parents are still thinking about starting something of their own, dreaming about it, playing with the idea… I do believe I inspire (and constantly encourage) them to do so.
What were your parents’ ambitions for you?
My parents never pushed anything onto me. Their real ambitions for me were (and still are) to do whatever I feel like doing, and go after it. I so appreciate their ongoing support! It’s something I’m very grateful for.
What remains for you to achieve?
Lots! I don’t think we’re ever done (I shared more about my views on our journeys here). I’ve always been interested and curious about so many things (shared a few of them here), and I would love to pursue many more of those interests - primarily health coaching. In terms of photography-related work, one thing that’s on my mind is organising masterminds, running workshops and teaching around the world.
Who would you like to impress?
Myself. I’m never quite done or satisfied with where I’m at (that is not to say that I’m not content or grateful).
What achievements of others make you jealous?
I had a realisation a while ago - when we judge other people or feel jealous, we’re telling our subconscious that whatever we’re jealous of is not a good position to be in. We’re basically self-sabotaging ourselves from getting there. Here’s why: do you want to feel judged, resented or envied when you get to where you really want to be?
I used to feel jealous of entrepreneurs who have “made it”. By “made it” I mean financially, publicly - people running million dollar businesses, being location independent, making passive income and living a good life.
I’ve worked hard to not feel jealousy or judgement anymore. Instead I try to cheer people on and genuinely be happy for them. That signals my subconscious that this position (that I want to be in myself) is something that’s good and worth striving for, that once I’m there myself people will be happy for me, instead of feeling jealous.
What personal vulnerabilities and flaws have held you back in your ambitions?
The fear and worry of what people think. It feels weird to say, because I never think of myself as someone who cares much about the opinions of others. And for a big part of my (general) life that is true. But when it comes to business specifically, I notice there’s that little voice in the back of my head, just humming along quietly, that makes me think things along the lines of “you can’t do that, it’s not what you’re known for”, or “people won’t trust you if you change focus now”, or “these people in your audience follow you for a specific reason, they’ve never known you for anything else. Better stay small.”
What, for you, is the relationship between lovability and achievement?
The only thing that comes to mind straight away: It’s good to love what you do, but there will always be things about what you do that you won’t love, and that’s ok.
What is failure for you?
There is no failure. It doesn’t exist. Seriously, I never really got the concept of failure. Failure only exists if you decide it does.
If you keep going, you pivot, you try something new, you aim higher, you continuously grow and challenge yourself, and see everything that happens as an opportunity helping you to advance - then really, what is failure?
What alternative ideas do you suspect you might be rather good at?
I know I would be awesome at helping people achieve their health, wellbeing, fitness, and body goals (I would love to do that!).
I could also see myself painting. Or being a professional dancer. I believe I’m good at moving countries without giving it a second thought. I suspect I might be rather good as a chef (though I wouldn’t want to be a chef, but rather develop nutritious recipes to share online). I imagine I would be good at opening up a cafe, restaurant or hotel.
And I think I’d be great at setting up a beautiful space for a gathering, event, or party. I would also be good as a professional gambler ;) (Don’t tell anyone haha - NOT my ambition!).
I suspect I would be good at graphic design. I can also see myself being a great life and personal growth coach.
Well, those are a few things. I really believe that we can be good at whatever we set our mind to. We can learn any skill or change our perception of who we “are”. We’re not fixed in our identity.
What price have you paid for your ambitions?
Insecurity, stress, and isolation. Never knowing where the next paycheck is coming from, not being able to just book a trip because paying rent is more important, and working from home a lot.
That’s the price I paid for freedom and doing my own thing, my own way. And I’d choose that tradeoff any day.
What is the best way to deal with the disapproval or neglect of the world?
Don’t focus on it. I don’t read the news, and I avoid negativity. I think I naturally don’t attract people that drag me down, that focus on all the bad stuff and have a victim mentality. So the key here is to live those values myself and constantly remind myself to focus on solutions not problems, and that complaining won’t change anything.
Knowing what you know now, what would you advise a very young person about their ambitions?
1. Go after your ambitions. 2. Don’t trust your thoughts. 3. Listen to your gut.
Now that I’ve shared my thoughts with you, I would LOVE to hear yours. I think these Conversation Menus are such a great way to spark a conversation (obviously what they’re meant for) and create connection. You can just pick one or two of the questions to answer yourself, or you can go through all of them.
Let me know on Instagram or share in the comment section below.
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