The Fine Line Between Ambition and Obsession

BY: ASHLEY JOHNSON

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Ambition is a word that has been tripping me up quite a bit lately. Standing at a complicated crossroads of sorts, I have had a lot of time to think about my own ambitions, the things that are important to me and the kind of woman I am still striving to become. Caught between others’ expectations of me, pressures from my job, and the need to finally strike out on my own, these thoughts have found a home in my brain over the past year. How does ambition shape our lives and how do differing interests and motivations affect the way we go after our dreams?

I could never honestly say I grew up knowing what I wanted to be. There were the few years I wanted to pursue music and only music. Then there was the semester I thought I’d want to be a dermatologist… and then a journalist. Looking back, I spent so many years exploring the many avenues my professional life could take, all along carrying my writing talent with me. It took a couple of my college professors to finally get me to see that all it took to make me feel fulfilled was a notebook and a (Pilot G2) pen.

A few years and over a year of working in the entertainment editorial space, I have fully aligned myself with my career ambitions and am actively pursuing my dream every day: sharing creative and quality content to inspire others. But what happens when you solely align your ambitions with work? Do your relationships suffer? Do you lose sight of who you really are?

Although I am getting to do what I love every day professionally, I sometimes wonder if there’s more to life I’m missing because I’ve been trained to live my life behind a computer or iPhone screen. I’m missing opportunities to get out into the world, to make meaningful relationships and create an authentic life—I get too caught up in getting ahead, being the best and conquering challenges. Having learned this recently, it’s become clear that although I love being my own success story, there may be more to life than your title and salary.

So how do you find that balance of having a life you enjoy and following your wildest dreams? With the arrival of 2019, I truly believe it’s the perfect time to assess and reset. Are your ambitions too lofty? Are you still looking for ambition? Where do your true goals and dreams lie?

If I can take anything away from the hours I’ve stared at this Word Doc, it’s that you sometimes need to keep your ambitions in check. Work your butt off and share your successes with others, but every once and a while, remember to look back and remember the simple parts of life that made you who you are and the things that excite you most about life.


Ashley Johnson is the managing editor of She Reads by day and an aspiring novelist by night. Blogging her way through college, Ashley graduated Northern Arizona University with a degree in English in 2017. When she’s not catching up on the best new reads from her favorite publishers, she can be found taking naps with her four loyal chihuahuas and claiming her rightful title of “VIB Rouge” at Sephora.