Confession: I have no desire to be a #girlboss

#girlboss

{Psst … Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post to get FREE downloadable wallpapers.}

Allow me to assure you: I love the world we live in.

As screwed up as it can be, and as much work as it clearly needs (I’m lookin’ at you, American politics), I wouldn’t trade being alive in 2016 for any other time (you could tempt me with a time-traveling foray to ancient Rome, though #historydork).

The western world is decidedly un-perfect, but it’s hard to argue with equal rights and the opportunity to decide for myself what “freedom” means.

I also love how much I, and my fellow women, are benefitting from the really loud — and rightfully so — ongoing dialogue about equality, particularly when it comes to our pay. Feminism (which is really not a complicated concept) has been made normal, and at this point it’s pretty damn sketchy if you aren’t on board.

ARE YOU SENSING A “BUT” COMING?

I’m a coach who spends most of her time helping people — many of them women — figure out what their passion is, and how to live it through their career.

And as a female entrepreneur, I’m in circles with a lot of other women in business. So it’s safe to say that I’ve got a front-row seat when it comes to watching women “kill it” in their careers and actively pursue “having it all.”

We’re a pretty loud and proud bunch, too. And unsurprisingly, we’ve got a LOT of names for ourselves … in the form of hashtags, obviously. Say ‘em as fast as you can:

#girlboss #ladyboss #bosslady #badassladyboss #bossbabe #businessbabe #bizbabe #womeninbusiness #womeninbiz #womenentrepreneurs #femaleentrepreneur #femalefounder … you get it.

It’s quite rad that there are so many women making their mark on the world, and I love that we’re celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

BUT … (I feel like I’m telling a huge secret here) … I don’t actually want to be a #girlboss, or even a #ladyboss, and certainly not a #bizbabe.

MAYBE IT’S JUST ME, BUT …

I interpret your standard #girlboss as working a lot. She’s one of those who’s killing it from 8am to 8pm. She’s dedicated to her craft in an almost insatiable way. She’s one of those who would Instagram something like, “Busy building my empire,” (emblazoned in black calligraphy script on a white mug, filled with delicate latte art, with a perfect lipstick imprint on the ceramic) and actually mean it.

I get that a lot of this is my interpretation. I also get that everything — including what it means to be a “girl boss” — is what you make of it. There’s no right way to be.

But whether or not I’m making a huge assumption … I’ve got to tell you, I have felt guilty about not being (or wanting to be) “that girl.” 

And if I’m capable of looking outward and comparing myself to what I see (or at least comparing myself to the interpretation of what I see), then I know other people are doing the same.

THE TRUTH IS … I DON’T WANT TO BUILD AN EMPIRE

Here’s how I see it: A lot of the rah-rah-cheerleady-uber-motivated-#girlboss stuff has the unintended potential of making women feel like, unless you want to do something BIG and important and crucial and deeply meaningful — and serve others and be a great mom/wife/sister/daughter/friend — then you’re not making the most of yourself.

And I can’t get down with that. Because I don’t believe that you have to do anything important — or build anything of significance, or be the boss of anything or anyone — to have purpose and fulfillment.

I’ve struggled to come to terms with this. For years I wondered (and still do, sometimes) what was wrong with me for not loving every minute (or more honestly, the majority of) having my own business.

Isn’t this what I wanted? I get to work for myself, set my own schedule, make an impact on people’s lives. Shouldn’t I love this all the time? Eat it up? Want to do more and make it bigger and take over the world?

UGH, WORLD DOMINATION EXHAUSTS ME

I love the fact that I get to make an impact. But the truth is … I don’t need to do it for millions of people to feel good. A few people a week is fine by me.

I’m exhausted by the prospect of building an empire where Clarity on Fire is a household name and I’m one of those mega-famous motivational speakers.

I don’t want much of a team, because I don’t want to manage a bunch of people. That’s complicated, and I’m a lover of simplicity.

I don’t want to care about really nitty-gritty technical stuff — like multi-layered marketing campaigns and a strategic calendar that you plan a year in advance — like I might have to if I was a “real” #girlboss.

The plain truth is …

I’m not in it to win it. I’m in it to live.

{Scroll down to the bottom of this post to get a free downloadable wallpaper of this mantra!}

WORK HAS NEVER “DONE IT” FOR ME

I love my clients, and writing, and hosting courses like the PPVE … but my job is not my only passion or desire in life.

My real passion is life itself.

I love taking walks with my dog, reading books, and watching great shows. I like cooking and love eating. I relish great swaths of time spent meditating and sleeping and contemplating how I feel. 

I’m probably not changing anyone’s life in those moments. I could easily exchange that time for something more productive and #girlbossy, like building our email list or strategizing for a product launch … but those things don’t fulfill me the way that just living does.

Most of the time when I’m working on the business side of Clarity on Fire, I’m “Rachel wearing the business hat.” But when I’m reading and cooking and contemplating life … I’m just Rachel. And being myself is what feels best.

IT’S OK TO RELEASE THE GUILT

It’s taken me a long time to completely accept the fact that I’m not less than because I don’t care as much as other women about crushing it, making a name for myself, and building my empire.

My definition of success has more to do with how much I’m not working than how much I am working.

And for those of you who’ve feared this, too — who have been afraid that unless you’re really motivated, or want to create something important, or make a huge impact, or have an unquenchable desire to work, that you’re doing it wrong — I’ve got some permission to dole out to you.

It’s OK if …

  • Your passion in life is something weird and intangible and makes you no money whatsoever.
  • You’re not that motivated by money, in general.
  • You want to be a stay-at-home-mom and stop working for now, or even altogether.
  • You enjoy free time way more than working.
  • You could take it or leave it when it comes to “making your mark.”
  • You’re not that interested in creating a revolution.
  • You’re content to just be, and not do.
  • You have no definable passion at all, besides just enjoying life.

twitter-bird Your worth is not measured by your career or how big of an impact you’ve made.

You already are valuable — just because you exist — regardless of what you choose to do with your time.

DO WHAT YOU FEELS GOOD, AND EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE

Give yourself permission to do what feels good to you. Whatever lights you up, makes you sigh in relief, or makes you feel content.

If that means being the #girlbossiest lady on the block … go for it.

And if that means living a joyful life that isn’t about your career … by all means, do it.

But please, don’t feel guilty for wanting what you want. Any way of being that lights you up is valid and valuable.

What do you think? Have I struck a chord with some of you (or accidentally offended some #girlbosses out there)? I’d love to hear from you, in the comments!

Much Love,

Rachel (+ Kristen)

73 Comments // ADD COMMENT

73 comments

  • DiVina M.

    Wow. Thank you for posting this. I have currently been in this battle with myself and beating myself up over why I can’t just be like some of my peers that seem to care so much about the job itself. I do care about my job, I care that I make enough money to help support my family. But at the end of the day the things that matter most to me aren’t here at work. It is my family, friends, hobbies, etc. that really make me feel like myself. It is a constant struggle to overcome this guilt that I should be doing it all though and doing it all well. If I want to stay at home and take care of my son, my husband and myself then I have to stop caring so much that my path may be different than others and accept it for what it is. Again, thank you for this post. It came at a very important time for me.

    • Rachel

      You’re welcome, Divina! I wrote this specifically for people who feel just like you do about this issue! 🙂 I think a lot of us put WAY too much emphasis on the importance of our careers, and not everyone has to get on board with that. I hope you’ll give yourself permission to enjoy your life, guilt-free!

  • Aimee

    I love this! Thank you for writing it because I sure needed to read it. I struggle with the same thing and I’m 40! I’ve gone back to school to finish my degree and I’m wrestling with what to study because I don’t really know what I want to do and I feel like I need to be really ambitious but I’m not really that driven. I don’t want to get an MBA just so it looks good to someone else. I just want to enjoy what I study because it’s my time, money and effort that I’m spending on school. No one else’s. So I want to study what I want to study for me, not for a promotion….but I also want a promotion! Anyway, thanks again.

    ~ Aimee

    • Rachel

      Aimee, I think if you focus on studying what you want to study, then you’ll inevitably get a promotion and do well in your career. Don’t be tempted to fall into the backwards-thinking trap of studying something *just* because it’ll “look good” or get you a promotion. What’s the point of that, in the long run? Doing things for the money, or the prestige, while leaving your desires to the side is a recipe for resentment and burn-out. It’s a WAY better idea to study what you feel interested in and called to, and trust that when you’re enthusiastic about something and well-versed in what you enjoy, that people will naturally want to hire, promote, and work with THAT person. I’ve seen it happen many, many times!

  • Sarah B

    Well said, Rachel. Just because women want equality in the workplace with equal money for equal work, and because we want to open doors for ourselves (and sometimes close others), doesn’t mean we all have to go “all out” every day, blazing through the business world, and being called “boss” without stopping to enjoy life, our families, or our quiet time. I like to think women’s ability to invest in ourselves while we give to others is what separates us from most men and helps us be more impactful…and more fulfilled. Thank goodness there’s a great blend of us out there!

    • Rachel

      Amen to that, Sarah! Just because we can, doesn’t mean we *have to.* I agree that women have a real natural ability to balance work and life, if we allow ourselves to do so!

  • Chantel Paulsen

    This was exactly what I needed this morning; thank you.

  • Leah

    What about just being a boss? Period.

    • Rachel

      Leah — If you’re talking about doing away with “girlboss” and just calling ourselves a “boss,” I love this thought and I’m totally on board! The insertion of the word “girl” at all sort of implies that there’s a difference between male and female leadership … and of course, a boss is a boss is a boss, in my book.

  • Dana

    Amen, amen, and amen. That’s all I have to say.

    (And also, thank you!)

  • Celeste

    Lol This is right on! I almost spit my coffee out as I read “(emblazoned in black calligraphy script on a white mug, filled with delicate latte art, with a perfect lipstick imprint on the ceramic)”…Thank you for sharing and saying it out loud! 🙂

    • Rachel

      Ha! I’m laughing picturing your reaction! I’m glad you know what I’m talking about. 😉

  • Kiks

    I am currently in a girlbossy job, having anxiety attacks and many tears over the lack of life I have to live- as I am the definition of “Not a girl boss”. However I wear the girl boss hat at work for around 16 hours a day and it is slowly wearing me down. In this day and age, I am looking for something to do as a job that will make me happy, but give me a great work/life balance- where I am able to leave my work at work and when the office is closed-so am I! Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much – love from a reluctant boss babe (and yes I too was and still am to embarrassed to admit this)

    • Rachel

      Hi Kiks! Of course I have suggestions! Probably too many thoughts to put in a comment in a blog, to be honest. 😉 But here are a couple thoughts for you: It sounds like you’ve been putting a LOT of emphasis on your job, and not nearly enough on the rest of your life. It’s important to have a job you enjoy, of COURSE. BUT … I find that a lot of people suffering from burn-out are in that state because work has become — inadvertently, but unavoidably — their whole life. So, how can you dial it back even just a *little bit* to begin with, and beef up your life in other ways? Might this mean leaving a little earlier, and caring a little less what people think? Ponder that.

      And secondly, your situation is really timely, because we’re about to open the PPVE for enrollment again. You sound like the perfect person, at the right time, to join us. We’ll be opening enrollment on April 19th, so pay attention to your emails over the next few weeks, and if it resonates with you, I’d love to see you in there and I think you’d get a LOT out of it.

      • Kiks

        Thank you Rachel! I have a job in which I can’t really dial back – so am definitely looking to change! I will definitely look out for the emails and to get myself back onto the 9 to 5 (never thought i’d day that) track…

        • Rachel

          Sorry to hear that you can’t dial back! Yes, let’s definitely get you on a track where you’re working normal people hours, please! There are VERY few jobs that require, or deserve, 16-hour days. And if you’re suffering as a result, it’s certainly not worth it.

      • Bec

        YES YES YES. I SO needed to read this and I completely resonate with Kiks! I’m currently a supervisor in a mid-sized accounting firm and eye-ball deep in tax returns right now. I’m miserable. It’s not just this time of year but in general. I do not enjoy my job – yes, I enjoy the people of public accounting but it all fees fake – like I’m just corresponding for referrals or business or because I should and somehow those people are coming before family and true friends. Yet, I have guilt that I do not have the desire to become partner after I’ve achieved a masters and a CPA license and am in line to do so. I have guilt that I care more about time at home and my upcoming marriage and our, hopefully, future children, and heck, even my horses, than I do having a career. And I have guilt that I know that all comes at a price in the form of less income but I’m at the point of making that trade. I’m tired and beat down and the lack of passion is overwhelming. Something has to change. Thank you for giving me the “it’s okay” to not want to make partner, etc and that I should not feel like I’m selling myself or my family short for not choosing that path. I do not even know you and yet, the affirmation is comforting. 🙂

        • Rachel

          Bec — A world in which making partner is more important than family, horses, and just plain LIVING is not a world I’d want to participate in, either. It feels devoid of life and FUN and enjoyment! Not to say that work shouldn’t involve those things, because I think ideally, it should. But there is certainly nothing wrong with you for craving more balance. I’m so glad I was here to give you permission today!

        • Kiks

          I completely understand – I too end up resenting those around me as I would rather be doing something else! I too am getting married – congratulations! But the craziest thing is…I am actually a wedding planner. People immediately think my job is all flowers and JLo – not the case! It is extremely long hours, no days off apart from the odd Sunday in winter, travel all over the country to different venues and I also have absolutely no time to plan my own wedding oddly enough! I have brides from around the world in different time zones (I do destination weddings) ringing me at all hours. I really am just mentally and physically exhausted. We must do something! Would it be the worst thing if we got a simple admin job? Perhaps this would be stressful too – I cannot remember life outside of this job! I worry about paying the bills..

          • Rachel

            Your JLo comment made me laugh! I would say no, it’s not the worst thing in the world to want to quit and do an admin job. BUT … I suspect that might be coming more from a place of burnout than true desire. After a few months, would doing an admin job make you really happy? I can’t say, obviously, but I have my doubts. I’m guessing you got into this wedding planning business for a reason. And whether or not you’re meant to continue doing wedding planning specifically, I’m thinking that whatever is next will involve some of the underlying intentions — maybe a desire to be creative or work on your own time — carrying over.

          • Bec

            Dear JLo, (Forgive me, I simply could not resist! Your comment had me LOL) 🙂
            I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked up “admin” in indeed.com. Ha! I think it’s about finding the ‘right’ stress for you – something that is stressful to one is a cake walk to another (i.e. me=stressed out mess, my boss=thinks I am crazy & too sensitive. Little does he know how truly close I am to a breakdown and how many panic attacks I have. He clearly thrives on non-stop client calls, 13+ hr days and occasionally mentions that he hasn’t seen his 18mo old in a week – something that scares the crap out me because that is the LAST thing I want to deal with.) I’m not sure how we go about finding the holy grail of balance but you and I clearly need to. It sounds like we are in the same, almost sinking, boat.
            CONGRATS on your engagement and PLEASE chisel out some time to plan your day. I’m positive that you assure your clients that they have nothing to worry about because you’ll make their day amazing – promise that to yourself. I took grief from my boss because I did not get to the office until about 2 on Sunday – I flat told him that I HAD to take a morning off to address some wedding items because my fiance was in town (he’s a pilot so his schedule is crazy) and if we did not decide on invites, etc the event on 6/25 was going to become a flight to Vegas.

          • BM

            Lol no, no, no. Skip the admin job Kiks, I’m an admin and I’m back in school to launch my long standing idea of a business and contemplating quitting without a financial backup plan, that’s how much I would like to escape. Maybe you’ll be happy here, I don’t know. I agree with Rachel, perhaps burnout? You get to do something amazing for women on their special day. That’s such fulfillment. Maybe exploring what it was that led you there in the first place. It’s like a relationship, sometimes we need to add some spice to keep the love alive.

  • Sarah

    Love the post! Equality to me is about choice and respect – it is about everyone being able to make choices that make them happy and everyone else respecting them for it. Sometimes we can get caught up in this idea that we should want to be this or that.

    While I am one of those women who does want to be a #ladyboss. I also know that there are some things that I will make I make career sacrifices for, like children, staying true to my values and personal ethics, and being healthy and happy.

    • Rachel

      Hi Sarah! I’m glad to hear from a real #ladyboss. 😉 And I couldn’t agree more about your definition of equality. Respecting other people’s choices, and allowing others space to do what feels right to them without judgment, is one of the most important things we can do for other people and ourselves.

  • ML

    This was right on time!! I’ve been struggling with this for a while. My passions in life has nothing to do with work and all I want out of my career is to help people and to make sure that I have enough financial security to live my life outside of work.

    • Rachel

      One of my biggest goals is to give people permission to be who they are, period. But *especially* people like you, who feel guilty for their work not being their end-all-be-all passion. That’s TOTALLY fine! There are actually SO many people who are like this, and I coach a lot of them. It’s a big relief to finally accept that it’s OK if you enjoy your work, and it funds your life and other interests, but that it isn’t your passion in life.

  • Sarah

    Like many others have already said, I’m really glad I read this post in its entirety this morning! Thank you.

    • Rachel

      Thank YOU for reading it, in its entirety! You’d be surprised how many people start, but don’t finish. 😉

  • Bethany

    You guys hit it on the nail everytime! Being 24, I see alot of my female friends wanting to be that boss lady. For me, im the opposite. So far my 20s has been nothing but a headache! Im so concerned about what my friends are doing and how they are making big moves that I stress myself out for not wanting to be the same. The bullet point that I absolutely loved was “it’s okay to not have a definable passion. Besides just enjoying life” I always thought that was the wrong way to live but I have to realize that it is okay! That’s me to the tee. Thank you guys for a great read!

    • Rachel

      You’re welcome, Bethany! That — the fact that sometimes, people’s passion in life isn’t more specific than “enjoying life itself — was a HUGE realization for me, and something that has helped a LOT of my clients find peace with who they are. I’m really glad to have shared it with you today!

  • Cat

    Makes me think of Amy Poehler when she says, “Good for her! Not for me.”
    It’s cool if other people want to be a #girlboss, but we don’t all have to! Though I do sometimes want to do “girlboss-y” things 🙂

    • Rachel

      I loved Amy’s book, and I totally agree with the “good for her, not for me” thing. I think a lot of us need to work on accepting that it’s OK if something “isn’t for me.” Doesn’t make us any “less than” our friends and colleagues! And I agree that while I’m not a #girlboss, I sometimes feel inclined to do “#girlbossy things” 😉

  • Elizabeth

    Rachel & Kristen – I always so look forward to your blogs landing in my email. I pretty much bookmark them all! Your valuing personal balance & overall life satisfaction over the more mainstream focus on career, career, career really speaks to me.

    I am an undergrad student having to make decisions about my future (pursuing Honours studies only, which would lead me to a “lesser” career, or continuing thereafter with Masters, which is a whole lot more studying, money, & time, before I can even vaguely establish myself in the profession). There is the pressure from the world & teachers that because you are smart you have to push for the highest, hardest thing, but I think I may choose the “lesser” option for life balance reasons… Who knows, there is still time to make these decisions…

    Thank you, once again, & please consider collecting your wisdom up in a career & life guidance book. I’d be one of your first orders! The world needs more voices calling for calm.

    “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Socrates.

    • Rachel

      I LOVE that Socrates quote, Elizabeth. Might have to turn that into a future #ClarityGem!

      Avoid the temptation to go for the hardest, highest thing just because other people are telling you that you should. If you WANT to, sure! Go for it. But just because someone thinks something is “higher,” doesn’t make what you feel called to pursue “lesser.” There IS NO “right” definition. There’s only what you’re attracted to, and what’s right for YOU.

      I think we’ll get around to writing a book one day. You’ll be the first to know! 😉

  • BM

    It’s like you guys are forever on point on Tuesdays when I am contemplating making some changes in life. Recently, I have come to terms with understanding that I am not passionate about work, or working in general. I hate it, so much. The long commutes, the ringing alarms, the 6am wake up call. The schedules, the long work hour days, with very little compensation that goes on bills, the cutting all the fun things out in life in order to just afford to stay afloat. A part of me feels like this is unfair, that life doesn’t have to be this way, that this is just some bad reality of dream I’m living in and one day I’m going to wake up and life will be fine. I’m more passionate about just living, living in general. Reading, writing, sleeping, cooking, eating plentiful and healthful, traveling, studying, smiling, laughing, spending time with my significant other on the golf course and helping him get ready for his tournaments. These are my most favorite things to do. And I feel so guilty for being, “lazy.” Seeing all my friends do all these things and accomplish all their goals, I feel like a failure when I measure myself up to them. Even though I know it’s a terrible thing to do. And when I don’t think about them and all the success they are accomplishing I feel good about myself. And then I see how they are all making a name for themselves. Making a mark, creating their stamp and getting their life started. And I’m just kind of sitting here, waiting.

    • Rachel

      BM — I think this blog, and ALL of the comments above and below yours, sort of prove that there are a LOT of people in your camp. And that honestly, some of those people who compare ourselves to — the ones who *look* like they’re really killing it and loving what they do — might feel very differently than you’d think. I’m one of those people who I think people make that assumption about … and yet here I am, admitting that being a #girlboss isn’t really my thing! So please, give yourself permission to be you, and enjoy what you enjoy. The comparison game is a big joy-killer!

      • BM

        Totally agree with you, when I don’t measure myself up to other people, and just focus on what makes me happy, my life clears up dramatically! I’ve even removed myself from the social media scene for while just to clear my heart and thoughts from all the negativity I was exposing myself to. What’s interesting is that there’s a comment above me that speaks to my heart (and all these comments here for that matter) about being a high achiever and never really feeling like we are enough until we do this or until we do that. I swear so many people have placed such a high standards on me, that it’s such a heavy feeling to want to walk away from all those expectations that others have set for myself. It’s almost like you get lost in “what other people want for me syndrome.” And I believe that so many people who were praised for their intelligence can agree with this. You feel like a failure if you don’t go or aim for something what other people would consider “enough.” I think our whole conversation here is about acceptance. Of who we are and where we are, right now. And make decisions based off that stand point. And it first starts with giving myself permission to choose the things I truly enjoy without the guilt or burden of what other people feel is best for me. And I believe it’s especially true for women now with our growing movement of feminism, we are expected to wear and want to be so many hats. But what if some of us were okay with not being the girlboss, ladyboss, the girl who “has it all”? What if we were soley and 100% okay with ourselves and the life we choose without feeling judged, ridiculed or less than because of it? What if we could just let go of other people’s expectations of us and live the life we were truly called for? I just really appreciate you and Kristen so much, there’s nothing more refreshing than to see your names pop up in my inbox because I know everything you guys have to say is right on time.

        • Rachel

          I’ve also removed myself from the social media scene as much as possible! Not for reasons of comparing myself to others, though that was definitely annoying, but more so to avoid the time-suck that I just don’t need to be a part of!

          I totally understand the whole “what other people want for me” syndrome. It can be hard to get away from. I think it’s important to remember that there’s a good chance that other people *won’t* always get you, or accept you, and that it’s OK to do what feels right to you, anyway.

          Thank you so much for sharing how you feel about our stuff! It always makes me feel happy — and affirms that what we do is worth the annoying stuff that inevitably comes with it — when people look forward to hearing from us.

  • Emily

    This rings completely true for me. I used to torture myself (for years) worrying about being “big” enough. I studied theatre performance, and I just assumed that if I didn’t dream of an Oscar every night, or performing on Broadway, then clearly I didn’t belong in the arts. I had the sneaking suspicion that I didn’t really want those things, but I didn’t dare admit it to myself. It’s only recently that I’ve figured out I want to create theatre (working on writing my first full-length play now!), as a writer or director, and hopefully get some work produced in the future. If my name never becomes known to everyone, I will be A-OK with that. If I can build a career for myself where I am respected in my community and able to keep putting things on stage for an audience to enjoy, I will consider myself a success. It’s taken years to get to this point, and posts like yours help me silence that inner-critic crying for fame and fortune. I just want to enjoy my progress as a human and an artist.

    • Rachel

      “I just want to enjoy my progress as a human and an artist.” — Basically sums up how I feel, just way more poetically than I was able to say it. 🙂

      THAT is the goal, Emily, and I’m so glad you’ve been able to see that and go with it, for the most part. It’s about how we *feel* about our life and our progress, not the specifics of what we’re doing or the (very arbitrary) “benchmarks” that we have or haven’t hit. The only thing that ultimately matters is how we felt about how we lived, and what we did.

  • Jacquelyn

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for ten years, and while that is a privilege, there’s this part of me that has always felt as though I lacked “ambition” for not wanting to have it all. Now that my children are both in school full time I’m asked all the time what I’m going to do to opt back in, make my mark, etc. I’ve spent the last ten years not building a resume, but building a life. I have no idea what comes next, but I don’t have the desire (or credentials now) to become a ladyboss. Thank you for writing the feelings I’ve been struggling with in not wanting that.

    • Rachel

      Honestly, I don’t think “ambition” is all its cracked up to be! Pure desire to do great things and make a difference, that’s awesome. But so many “ambitious” people are that way to prove something, or check the “right” boxes. And that’s not fulfilling. In my book, purpose and ambition don’t have anything to do with each other! You can live a really fulfilled live, and have zero “ambition.” I’m sure you’ll find what it is that you’re meant to do next, but it certainly does NOT have to be big and bossy!

  • Jae

    Thank you…just thank you.

  • Stacey

    I get what you’re saying, and think it is all about interpretation. In my mind, “ladyboss” just means I’m the boss of myself, and nobody else gets that title. To me, that conveys freedom and autonomy, which are 2 very important aspects of my life. I think you can be a freedom-loving, goal-seeking, spiritually-conscious entrepreneur (or #ladyboss, if you so choose) without all the pressure.

    • Kristen Walker

      Stacey, I love that you already have this interpretation around the whole “ladyboss” thing! You perfectly hit on the core message in this post — either embrace the term #girlboss (or #ladyboss, or what have you) and make up your OWN definition about what it means to you (instead of comparing yourself to the more widely held interpretation) OR disregard it altogether and take a different route. It’s up to you, and there’s no wrong choice.

      Thanks for sharing your definition of what it means to be a #ladyboss — it actually lines right up with my own definition, too!

  • LOLA

    ALL OF THIS!
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YESSSSSSS
    I LOVE IT! THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT! EXACTLY HOW IVE BEEN FEELING LATELY. IM LETTING GO OF THE GUILT. I DONT WANT TO BE THE NEXT NASTY GAL CEO OR WHATEVER. HONESTLY MY ONLY GOALS LEFT ARE TWO KIDS AND A POOL IN MY YARD ONE DAY HAHAHA. LOVE YOUR BLOGS! XOXOXOX

    • Kristen Walker

      Lol! I cracked up at your line about being “the next nasty gal CEO.” I am 100% in support of you spending as many guilt-free days as you’d like in your future pool with your future kids! 😉

  • Sara

    THANK YOU! I have felt this so many times and seriously felt like a bum or that I’m not doing enough because I’m not constantly working at my business. I’ve had months where I felt like I worked my ass off and I HATED it. I got no joy from it and I also didn’t do as well as months where I just let it be and worked at my own pace. It’s just nice and refreshing to hear someone say what I’ve been thinking but too afraid to say. =)

    • Rachel

      Well I think this has proven that you don’t need to be afraid to say it anymore! There are a ton of people who agree with you! 🙂 And I’ve also experienced the same thing when it comes to being more successful the months I work at my own pace and let things be. I think it’s easier to attract opportunities and abundance when you’re feeling good!

  • Pam

    I am amazed how you both seem to know exactly what I am thinking on a particular day ! For this specific reason I’ve taken the quiz a few times as it would come up 3:1 Tribe Member to Firestarter.

    Yes !

    • Rachel

      I love that we’re reading your mind, Pam! I think that’s always a good sign that we’re hitting on stuff that matters to people. It sounds like you’re a mix of Tribe Member and Firestarter … totally cool, and very normal!

  • Shareena

    OMG, I totally needed to read this. While I am working towards my massage therapy business, I thought about all the other cool stuff I love to do that I might have to give up for my business to be the best… like knitting and sewing things for people, flipping furniture, reading, writing… Thank you. Needed this today.

    • Rachel E.

      If you haven’t read Big Magic, Shareena, you really should. There’s a great section in that book about *exactly* this concept that you’re talking about — whether or not you’re willing to give things up and do the drudgery and toil for the thing you want. If you do, that’s great! But if you don’t, that’s also OK … it just might mean that you don’t want it or need it that badly. Either way, it’s all good.

  • Alicia

    This post really resonated with me. I am a Firestarter and sometimes struggle with figuring out exactly what that means for me because my family is extremely important to me along with freedom, independence, and flexibility. Sometimes I feel that being a Firestarter means I have to build an empire, that it’s the only way for me to succeed but now I realize I can be content with creating something that I’m passionate about while also being able to focus on my family because I don’t have to be a millionaire if I don’t want to be, I’m allowed to be content while providing my family with what we all need and finding that balance.

    • Rachel E.

      As a (partial) Firestarter, I totally get the struggle. But there’s definitely no rule that says being a Firestarter automatically means you have to build a big empire. Your Passion Profile has way more to do with how you value your time, money, and creativity. Firestarters value a lot of freedom in all ways … in the control they have over their time, in having control over the way they make money, and having creative power over their work. None of that has anything to do with being big and successful and getting to “empire” status. You can be a Firestarter and have something really small, or really huge … you’re still the same, in my book!

  • aarchi

    Sorry if this a little long… Ironically, I find myself in a slightly different position to what most people in the comments seem to experiencing. I have always been really ambitious, all I wanted to be was a #girlboss- still do. But after finishing my masters in international business and finance law, I was completely burnt out, worn out, miserable and depressed. I became so disillusioned. I was diagnosed with anxiety shortly there after, which I’ve had for ages but finally had to admit that I couldn’t manage any more (my entire masters consisted of one massive panic attack, wondering why i was the only one who seemed to be drowning, sleep deprivation, and unnatural amounts of coffee which I have since discovered I’m actually allergic to).
    My desire to be big, and make a mark, and be the baddest girlboss that ever lived, sent me into a really dark place. I am now having to learn to put my health (both physical and mental) first. No job is so important that I can sacrifice my well being for it. I had to re-learn who I am becuase I had had this clear vision of who I wanted to be for so long, but I couldn’t kill myself trying to get there. I am learning that while there is no shame in having ambition, so too there is no shame in not being able to physically give what others seem to be able to.

    • Rachel E.

      I’m sure this was a very tough experience for you, and I’m so glad you’re realizing that it’s OK to take care of yourself, and to have BALANCE! Because you’re right, no job is worth killing yourself for, because no job is really *that* important. Whether you have a ton of ambition or only a little, it’s important to find a balance between our career and the rest of our life. I’m sure you’ll be the badass lady boss that you desire to be, but you’ll also have the advantage of having learned from the start what you are — and aren’t — willing to sacrifice to get there, which is really valuable wisdom to have.

  • Clarity on Fire

    […] in April, when I sat down to write I have no desire to be a #girlboss, I didn’t intend to produce our most talked-about blog of all […]

  • Jess

    Love Clarity Gems so much. They’re always exactly what I need to hear. Thank you so much!

  • Shari

    LOVED this! I always thought I wanted to be the “girlboss”, be empowered and make a difference. I was and I was good at my “job”, which BTW was in n old fashioned male dominant environment….YUCK…but I was determined! After 17 years in that position (30 for the same company), I realized I was unhappy and loosing my identity! I didn’t like the person I had become. So I quit my job and never looked back! It was scary and liberating all at the same time. I had an identity crisis initially, but realized that my “job” did not define me, it merely paid my bills. I’m now in a position that is less stressful, in a more relaxed and fun environment, with people I enjoy all while working less and that makes me happy and that’s whats important! Hugs to you!

  • Van

    This blog post was so amazing and so needed for me right now, I can’t even explain. I always love reading your thoughts and they always hit me so close to the heart and how I am feeling! Thank you for this! Reading through all the other posts was pretty amazing too! Realizing I am not alone and knowing I don’t have to feel guilty about how I feel is very powerful.

  • Carla

    Talk about clarity, on FIRE! great blog! Love it, adore it, simply brilliant!

  • Ricky

    I’m not a girl, lady, or chick… but as a man, I can still relate from a different perspective. I work in a culture where everyone is chasing power & a title. I often find myself stuck in the middle of conversations that make me feel as though I’m not ambitious enough… or because I don’t want the high profile, challenging roles, that I will eventually become irrelevant or frowned upon among my peer group. But as I continue to follow your blogs and emails, I become more comfortable with being a Thriver. I am learning to accept who I was meant to be in this world ! I just want to LIVE… and as I continue to discover my passion, I intend to do just that!

    Thanks again Ladies… you keep pulling back these layers week after week.

    • Rachel East

      Glad you’re resonating with this, Ricky! I knew there were some guys out there who’d appreciate it, despite all the talk of girl bosses. 😉

  • Lo_Ren

    Wow great read ladies and hitting close to home for me. I currently just resigned from being a #bosslady. At 25 I learned that being a female restaurant entrepreneur is the most stressful thing I probably have ever done so far. I struggle weekly with wanting to make my mark and name for myself or just being me and not having any clear direction. I’m leaving because I feel like I am just existing at this point working all the time for no greater reward. I realized I need to live life and make memories that I am going to look back on and be happy I was able to be in the moment. I hope one day I truly do find my passion but for now I just need to be 25 and maybe the money will follow when I’m able to finally breathe again.

  • Kacie

    I love this!!! I’m 24 and change my “passion” every week! I feel like there’s something wrong with me that I can’t figure it out. But yes I feel like my passion might be life it’s self!! I’m not 100% into my work at all and would so rather have a day off then a day at work. I do like killing it at work and feeling good about my impacts but if I don’t really make a huge difference in okay with that. I don’t want to be the girl working 8am-8pm. This article is so on point and makes me feel like it’s okay that I’m not super motivated to take over the world! Thank you!!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for writing this! There is this idea in our society that we must love our jobs and change the world with them, as if that was the only way to find joy and purpose. I was buying into ideal without realizing it, but reading your article reminded me that we are the owners are our lives’, not society, and we have the right to find joy and purpose however we see fit!

  • Cristina Luis

    I wanted to go into the self help field as i now see that it would be my greatest self if i could. how did you girls come to be in it?