10 Things Ambitious Women Shouldn't Apologize For

by Brianna Wiest

There's a reason we have strict social codes over how people should and shouldn't behave. It's unifying, and it's a generalized guideline that's comforting to a lot of people. We have a mob mentality about things that define what it means to live life well: religion, lifestyle, political parties, etc. Gender is, of course, no exception — if not the main offender. At one point in time, it was easier to say that women who are doing well are aligned with the ultimate expressions of feminine energy and estrogen. It seemed to make sense.

But it no longer applies.

And it no longer applies because we've evolved past thinking that gender is categorical. Maybe more importantly, we're growing to understand that defining how good your life is by how well you fit into the least common denominator cookie cutter standard is extremely limiting, if not mentally debilitating if you accept it as infallible truth.

Ambitious women have had their work cut out for them from the get-go. We've come leaps and bounds and miles in our collective understanding of what womanhood actually consists of (and all in the past few decades alone), but there's still work to be done, and as anybody knows, that work gets done on the ground level. In our daily interactions and otherwise innocuous comments and mini-beliefs that construct our experiences.

Women are judged no matter what they choose: balancing work and family, or choosing one or the other. People seem to find and take issue with women's priorities so long as they are not, in every conceivable way, overwhelmingly positive and delightfully convenient for every and anybody else. Ambitious women are the women who not only see past it, but act on that knowing every day. They are the ones who won't let their lives be constrained by limitations that are not even their own. There are a few things they've grown to stop feeling guilty for, and in that knowing, have found the power to chase what they want — whatever it may be:

How They Delegate Their Time

The thing about health and sustainability and realistic-ness is that it's subjective. There are a few things humans need to survive, but even then, everybody is different and every person is unique. Just because you can't see yourself waking up at 6 a.m. or working a 10 hour day comfortably or happily doesn't mean someone else doesn't or can't.

Not Prioritizing Someone Who Thinks They Should Be Prioritized

People get really funny when it comes to how they perceive they should be let into your mental and physical space, when it's an entirely subjective decision. Often friendships will end simply because one person doesn't think someone else is putting the time and effort in, when in reality, it's just a matter of defining those things differently. Communicate with your people, lay it down to your tribe. Tell them that they matter, but other things have to matter, too.

Not Prioritizing Something Other People Think Should Be Prioritized

People like to find any reason that your success isn't justifiable, so they'll search for little things, like you don't work out enough, or sleep enough, or eat regularly enough — when of course they can't and don't know if that's a) true or b) just a matter of differing preference (as mentioned before). You decide what you carve out time for in your day. Nobody else can tell you what's right.

Not Settling – Even If That Makes Other People Feel Insecure

If people want to call you stuck up and crazy and all those other mean words we've grown to associate with The Worst Kind Of Girl, let them. Normal people have normal lives. You don't need to be sorry about the ways you refuse to settle, and how that makes other people feel about the ways they're settling in their own lives.

What Their Dreams Are

Whether it's to be the CEO of a burgeoning Fortune 500 or a mom and wife by 26, that's your call to make. Dreams aren't only worthwhile in proportion to how unattainable they seem to other people.

How And Where They Receive Help

People like to downplay success if, god forbid, someone has a supportive significant other, or received some sort of mentoring from an esteemed someone-or-other, or hires someone to take care of their basic needs so they can focus on other things. Everybody has help, in myriads of unseen ways: behind every successful professional is usually a family member holding it down (ehem, basically the fate women were bound to up until recently). There's no shame in the Surviving However I Can game. Play your cards wisely.

Taking Time For Themselves

It's funny, because unless women are actively doing something that benefits someone else, it's not seen as justifiably "wasted" time. If it's two hours at a birthday brunch, great, but if it's two hours in bed doing nothing but scrolling through articles on your phone, you have guilt, because you "should be doing more."

Being Feminine

Many women feel as though they have to be masculine to be successful. In fact, many female leaders embody masculine traits to do just that. It's fierce and difficult but ultimately so, so worth it to be both traditionally feminine and yet non-traditionally ambitious. It's not something many women feel comfortable doing, but it's a belief system we must break eventually.

Not Having All The Answers

We only accept confident, ambitious women if their rationales and justifications make sense to us. We only nod and say "good for you" if the explanations behind why they do what they do seem feasible. But it doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to have all the answers, or know what you indefinitely want, or where you're headed, to be ambitious and successful and not have people on your back about forging your own path, even if you haven't completely mapped out where it may lead. (All the best things start like that anyway.)

However They Choose To Express Their Confidence To The World

Whether it's sexy selfies or proud statuses or just an air of sunglass-wearing-stiletto-stomping-ripped-jeans-still-feeling-powerfully-hot confidence, ambitious women know they can't adopt other people's insecurities as their own — which is especially difficult to realize, when all other people do is project them onto you.

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