Suyin Aerts
November 18, 2022

The suburbs

In the beginning of the week I had the pleasure to speak about the book we recently wrote.
It was in an amazing venue in the suburbs of Paris and London.
Sounds funny? Well that is exactly what people from NY say when they are visiting Ozark Henry’s studio. Piet explained us that indeed in 1 hour time you can be either in Paris or in London from his iconic studio (in the middle of nowhere)

Everything is perspective.

Piet had an interesting question for me after my keynote in which I mentioned that for a long time when people called me ambitious this made me feel bad.
He was wondering why this word gave me that feeling. As for him, ambition has always been comparable to a dream you want to achieve.
We were discussing the fact that probably ambition is perceived very differently by women compared to men. I am convinced that many women work hard and are ok to say they work hard, but “ambition” very often implies egotism, selfishness, self-aggrandizement, ..

It was remarkable that Piet and I were agreeing on many concepts, but the difference in the word ambition was dramatically present.
Is it because of our education, because of the lack of role models?
I see many women that refuse to claim a central, purposeful place in their own stories, eagerly shifting the credit elsewhere and shunning recognition.
I am convinced we need to stop underestimating our abilities as women and we need to rethink our own path instead of following the paths we are expected to follow, by our parents, society and teachers.

Maybe it is because we compare ourselves and look to role models that paralyze us.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s much easier to enjoy and appreciate our own successes when we’re not consumed by the fear of not living up to other women's standards.

Maybe before in my perspective ambition was limited to a quest for power at the expense of yourself and others.
But thanks to my daughters and Ayla (the girl I write about in the book) I know now that ambition can also be the drive for a better world, a healthier self and a stronger community that understands that everything in life should be sustainable.

And that’s the ambition I am proud of now, the sustainable ambition, deep inside myself.

Everything is perspective.

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