This is the year of being grateful. If you managed to survive the storm of the recent year and come out healthy and solvent then we should be thanking our lucky stars. There are so many people who haven’t. We should absolutely be grateful.

In fact I see it daily on social media, I practice it in my morning routine and I constantly tell it to my kids. 

Be grateful. 

But where is the line between the benefits that gratitude brings to our our well-being and our ability to be present and appreciate all the important things in life, with accepting our lot and putting up with things we’re not really happy with? What’s wrong with just being grateful for what we have?

I read a brilliant book recently, Wolfpack by Abby Wambach. In this short and super punchy women’s power manifesto she talks about the time when she realised that she had been using gratitude as a way of settling and just accepting her pay and her operating level. Yes gratitude is good and healthy but only if you combine it with all the other things that move us forward. In the book she says:

“Be grateful. But do not JUST be grateful. Be grateful AND brave. Be grateful AND ambitious. Be grateful AND righteous. Be grateful AND persistent. Be grateful AND loud. Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.” 

Gratitude is the basis, but to get what you really want out of life you also need to demand more to allow you to continue to be grateful for all that you want to achieve in the future.

When we don’t do this we can fall into the trap of just settling. Or feeling like we should be happy with what we have, that it’s greedy to want more or that we don’t deserve more.

I see it a lot with women. Social conditioning, family beliefs, self-esteem, perfectionism and imposter syndrome all feed into our feelings of what we feel we should be worthy of asking for. When we ignore what we actually want and need then that’s when things can get tricky and can lead to lack of confidence, resentment and unhappiness.

Holding on to gratitude as a reason for not moving forward and growing, evolving, and ultimately getting what we want, can be equally as damaging as not seeing the wonder in all that we already have.

In my world of careers and empowering women through the choices they make around their career, I’m with Abby. We need gratitude AND ambition. Ambition moves us forward and drives our desire engines to steer us to the things what we want to achieve. It’s not a dirty word. Nor is it something that should be ignored or sidelined just because we’re already grateful for having so much already.

Admit what you want, say what you want and go and make it happen.

You’ll be amazed at how much your gratitude will continue to grow when you achieve and give more to the world, in a way that also brings you what you want and need.


Jo Oogarah 

Career and Life Vision Coach

Helping career-focused women aim high, build a fulfilling career and lead a balanced life.

Start getting clear about what you want from your career by downloading my free audio visualisation

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