The Seeds of My Ambition

This past weekend I joined with about 70 other women for my 50th (!) High School reunion at Bishop Kearney in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. This event unleashed memories about my life, my work, and my ambitious nature.

Ambition has become provocative. It’s fallen out of favor as its assets have been distorted and made toxic by the greedy.

And yet I treasure my ambitious nature. I love its expansiveness. I love the definition of God as the expanding impulse of the Universe.

In my executive coaching practice I’m privileged to serve some profoundly ambitious people who resist the embrace of that incendiary word ambition but I say “NO! Let’s love our ambition!”. I serve these great people because I know deeply that our future rests on their shoulders.

I urge my clients to reclaim their pride in their ambition: to do so is a sacred obligation.

Now let me take you back to Bishop Kearney High School and even to the elementary school where the Sisters of St. Joseph taught.

My kindergarten class in that post-war era of the Boomer Generation included 60 children and one nun who spoke to us through a microphone. Can you imagine?

Resources were slim and obedience was strictly enforced, often through simple reinforcements. Obedience, attendance, compliance were rewarded periodically with a small plastic statue of Our Lady to take home, or by being allowed to keep a small, cheap musical instrument overnight.

Oh how ambition became ignited, the first ambition to please the Sister, to be noticed, to be awarded the precious prize to take home!

I honor the Sister who taught us in the 1950s, using limited resources and a loving heart to introduce a little Catholic Schoolgirl to the ways of ambition.

My gratitude is boundless.