Balance ambition and acceptance

Q&A: how to balance striving for success and accepted who you are.

Question: “Hi Tomas, how can I balance striving for success with accepting myself as I am?”

This is a really great question, and there are a few points to unpack.

Let’s get into it.


You may be wondering why it’s so tricky to juggle striving for success while accepting yourself as you are.

The pressure to succeed is everywhere. Society, social media, and even our own ambitions push us to achieve more, be more. This constant striving can lead to a feeling that you’re never enough.

On the flip side, self-acceptance is crucial for mental well-being. It’s about recognizing your worth regardless of external achievements.

Balancing these two can feel like walking a tightrope, but it’s essential for a fulfilling life.

Why is this balance so elusive?

Our culture glorifies hustle and grind, often equating success with worthiness. This mindset can make self-acceptance seem like a cop-out, a sign of settling for less.

Yet, self-acceptance is vital for mental health. It’s acknowledging your intrinsic value without conditions. Without it, the pursuit of success can turn toxic, leading to burnout and dissatisfaction.

Understanding why these dynamics are at play is the first step in reconciling them.


To resolve this, focus on integrating success with self-acceptance.

It’s not about choosing one over the other but finding harmony between the two. Success doesn’t have to negate self-worth, and self-acceptance doesn’t mean complacency.

You need to redefine what success means to you in a way that includes valuing yourself as you are now.

Finding this balance means creating a personal definition of success that incorporates both external achievements and internal contentment.

Success should be multifaceted, encompassing not just career milestones or financial gains but also personal growth, relationships, health, and happiness.

By redefining success to include self-acceptance, you ensure that your self-worth isn’t solely tied to your accomplishments. Instead, you appreciate who you are right now while still aspiring for growth and improvement.

This approach allows you to enjoy the present moment and acknowledge your progress without feeling inadequate.

⚙️ HOW

Here are practical tips to get you started:

1️⃣ Redefine Success

What does success truly mean to you? Is it only about external achievements, or does it also include personal growth and happiness? Reflect on this and create a definition that aligns with your values.

Take time to introspect and list down what success means to you beyond societal expectations. Consider aspects like emotional well-being, quality of relationships, and personal fulfillment. By broadening your definition of success, you create a more holistic view that values who you are, not just what you achieve.

2️⃣ Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself, especially when you fail. Everyone makes mistakes. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a friend.

When you stumble, remember that failure is a part of growth. Instead of harsh self-criticism, practice self-compassion. Speak to yourself with kindness, acknowledging your efforts and understanding that setbacks are learning opportunities. This compassionate mindset fosters resilience and a positive self-image.

3️⃣ Set Balanced Goals

Ensure your goals are not just about achievements but also about self-care and personal fulfillment. Balance career aspirations with hobbies and time for yourself.

Create goals that encompass various life aspects—career, health, relationships, and personal interests. For every professional objective, set a complementary personal goal. This could mean pairing a work target with a commitment to regular exercise, a creative hobby, or quality time with loved ones. Balanced goals prevent burnout and promote overall well-being.

4️⃣ Reflect Regularly

Take time each week to reflect on your progress and well-being. Are you striving too hard and neglecting self-care, or are you too complacent? Adjust as needed.

Set aside weekly reflection time to assess your balance between striving and self-acceptance. Journal your thoughts and feelings, noting areas where you might need to push harder or ease up. Regular reflection helps you stay aligned with your values and adjust your approach to maintain harmony between ambition and self-worth.

5️⃣ Celebrate Small Wins

Acknowledge and celebrate your small successes. They contribute to your overall journey and remind you of your worth beyond big achievements.

Recognize and appreciate small milestones along the way. Whether it’s completing a project, learning a new skill, or simply taking time for self-care, celebrating these moments reinforces your progress and boosts your morale. Small wins accumulate, creating a sense of continuous achievement and self-appreciation.

⏱️ NOW

Think about one area that’s important to you.

Take a moment and think about what ‘Blissfully dissatisfied’ would look like to you in that area.

Do you need to be more grateful, or do you need to push harder and raise your standard? Or perhaps both?

What’s the obvious next step? Count your blessings or take more action?

Do it today.

Start by identifying one area where you feel conflicted between striving and self-acceptance.

Visualize what balanced success looks like there.

Do you need to practice more gratitude for your current state or set higher goals?

Take a concrete step today—whether it’s writing a gratitude list or setting a new goal.

This immediate action bridges the gap between reflection and implementation, setting you on a path to harmonious growth.

Hope this helps. 




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