Navigating Stress & Ambition

Navigating Stress & Ambition

On the Yoga Health Coaching Podcast, I am always talking about how wellness professionals can make more money, break their income ceilings and their impact ceilings. But the energy, ambition and time it takes to achieve your goals can create negative stress, impacting your health – and therefore your performance.

I have gone through cycles in my career growth when I took on too many things, hoping to achieve a certain end result. As an ambitious individual, you can sometimes take on more than you should. The end result is usually overwhelming stress. But how can you skillfully navigate your ambition in order to create positive stress instead of negative stress?

What Is Your Personal Ambition?

What are your ambitions? Take a moment and ask dharma. Ask life purpose. What do you want to achieve in the next phase of your life? In the next chapter of your career? What impact do you want to have? How many lives do you want to affect? While doing this, don’t forget to filter out the voices that are not actually yours. What is important is your ambition for yourself and not the ambition others may have for you.

I know, from my experience coaching wellness pros, that sometimes I had more ambition for my members than they had for themselves. I had to learn to drop that, so they could hear their own voice of ambition. Another way to ask this question (if the word ambition isn’t working) is, “What does winning look like for you?” Putting things into a one-year or three-year time frame can really help. How would you like your life to look like in one year?

For some people, success is extremely connected to their relationships. But for other people, it is all about breaking their financial glass ceiling. And that’s ok. If this is the case for you, then you need to get specific about the numbers. How much a year? How many hours a week? It can feel like a pipe dream, but if you keep consistently working towards it, you can get there.

Whatever your ambition is, we want to look at it in terms of stress. There are two types of stress: positive stress and negative stress. I explained the differences between the two types of stress in the article about Stress and Spiritual Growth [ Link = ]. If you read that post you will understand better what are positive and negative stressors. In short, positive stressors are habits that build resilience and adaptability and negative stressors are habits that are degenerative.

If you go towards your goals in a way that creates degenerative habits and negative stressors, you might reach your desired destination, just not in the state you wanted to. You may have the money, but your relationships are broken. Or you finally have the time, but your health is broken. This is why it’s important to have a full picture of what winning looks like and not just in terms of financial ambitions.

Stay Away From Shiny Object Syndrome

In today’s world, there are a lot of distractions competing for your attention. Those distractions, like social media, can become negative stressors and contribute to degeneration. Some people call it shiny object syndrome, which can sound good, but it definitely isn’t. You don’t want to end up chasing all the shiny objects. You need a business model that funnels your ambition.

In order to stay away from all the shiny objects, you should start tracking your activities and your time. There are great apps to help you do that. Tracking yourself will improve your awareness. You will be able to understand if the way you are spending your time is in tune with your goals.

What I have noticed over the years, is that most people I talk to don’t know how to get to their end goal. They have some ideas that might work, but they don’t align with their overall vision of winning. Sometimes because their ideas are not scalable. Other times, because it would cost them time with their families or the freedom to travel. That’s why you need a business model that fits the whole ambition. I talk about that a lot on the Yoga Health Coaching Podcast and on my Financial Success Webinar

In order to stay focused, I find it helpful to use the 80/20 Pareto’s Principle. What the Pareto’s Principle tells you is that 20% of your actions are creating 80% of your results – which means that if 80% of your actions are creating 20% of your results you should stop immediately.  You need to look into what it is you are doing that is creating most of your results.

To me, this is a spiritual practice. It is the practice of Sadhaka Pitta, which in Ayurveda is the subdosha of Pitta that controls the mind-heart connection. In other words, it is aligned action. If you look at your actions and see which ones had the most impact, then you can make an even bigger impact, now that you are aware.

The more specific you get about what success looks like to you, the better you can align your actions to get there. I do a lot of training with my clients on time management and on money management, so that they can invest their time and money in ways that help them get closer to their goal.

Take the Guilty Feeling out of Ambition

One of the biggest obstacles people face when tackling ambition is the cultural assumptions around the topic. The traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda, in particular, tend to downplay ambition and look at it from the egomaniac version of it. This happens because it can be really tricky to not get sucked into an ego-type of the path when you are ambitious. Sometimes, when trying to fulfill their ambitions, people forget their sense of self, their spiritual practice, and their spiritual journey.

This can be especially true for those of us trying to break our income ceilings year after year. It can be easy to focus so much on the numbers, on how much money we want to make, that our why gets lost in the process. However, if you are reading this, I don’t believe money is your main focus. After all, if you were in it just for the money, you would have become an investment banker, right?

If you find yourself feeling guilty over your own ambition, try to remember that is part of the 80% you are doing that is not helping you reach your goals. Trust your desire to make a great living and have a lucrative lifestyle. Trust your will to really help people, in such a deep way. And focus on your business model.

Don’t feel guilty about your ambitions. If you are being truthful about your wants, everything you desire is part of your spiritual path. When navigating Stress and Ambition, take a step back and refocus. Work on your business model and cultivate those little habits that create positive stress.

Cate Stillman

Cate Stillman

View All Articles »

Cate Stillman founded in 2001 to guide Yoga people into Ayurveda and Ayurveda people into yoga. Built on the value of both personal and planetary thrive and a deep connect to one’s ecosystem, community and body, Yogahealer grew into a team, 2 podcasts a week, regular blogging, an arsenal of courses to guide people into their potential, an a professional community + certification program Yoga Health Coaching. Cate wrote and self-published Body Thrive: Uplevel Your Body and Your Life with 10 Habits from Ayurveda and Yoga, an Amazon #1 Bestseller in Ayurveda, which helps people who dig yoga take a giant leap forward in their wellness trajectory with Ayurveda.

No Comments

Post A Comment