For a very, very long time I thought that I needed a partner that was equally ambitious. If they weren’t, I’d panic that we wouldn’t be able to build a meaningful life together and then I’d spiral. I thought that equal ambition meant a good match.
I was wrong.
Of course I was wrong! Even though I hate getting older (I know I am supposed to be cool with this because that’s the new hip thing, but I hate it and want to lie about my age forever), what I’ve learned in the past decade is helping me build a better life now. One of those lessons was learning the difference between being strictly ambitious and supporting ambition. Ambition is great, as long as it is respected and recognized in others outside of oneself. It’s important to not only be the type of person who supports ambition in others, but to also find a partner who does too.
Why? Simply because dating someone who is strictly ambitious isn’t as wonderfully joyful as being with a partner who supports ambition. Just writing it out seems so obvious but since I walked around completely unaware of this for a decade, I am sharing it here. So who is this person? They are someone who…
Makes Personal Sacrifices to Support Your Dream – Someone who is just ambitious will have tunnel vision to their own goals and dreams. They’ll skip opening night of your play to meet with the owner of a start-up or they’ll expect you to hold down the 9-5 so they can travel.
Someone who supports ambition will honor your goals right alongside their own. They can be equally or less ambitious than you, but what matters is that they recognize its importance in you AND in them. They’ll help you fix an issue with your flight at the last minute or call you before your first pitch to calm your nerves. They aren’t catering to you but they are serving and respecting your ambition.
Listens to 10 Versions of the Same Idea- They’ll never tire of trying to solve a problem. They’ll offer feedback and advice so you can get back to work. Someone who is only ambitious will not want to detract from their own work for more than a moment. They do not see the value in collaboration with their partner and want to separate their love from their goals.
Is Always Thinking About the Vision- Someone who supports ambition will continue to think about your goals alongside theirs. They’ll meet a potential client who isn’t great for them, but will pass along your information. They’re a buddy in the battle of the hustle, not competition. They’re thinking of ways to build up your dreams alongside theirs, not instead of or over, yours.
Asks for Opinions- Just as they are supportive of your goals, they’ll reach out to you for advice and opinions on their projects. They’re not operating on their own plain, forgetting that you are a part of their journey too. And if there’s really nothing you can provide them (which I highly doubt) they fill you in on what they’re doing and share any tricks and tips for your own projects.
There is room for everyone in a relationship to have goals and to help each other achieve those goals. This isn’t a solo job. Knowing this now I am so much more willing to not only receive constructive criticism from my partner but I am also more willing to give an incredible amount of support and sacrifice right back. Ugh, why didn’t I realize this like 10 years ago? #youths