How do we approach the complexities of ourselves fearlessly? How do we do it whether as a mother, a writer, a wife, a sister or a friend, fearlessly? How do we uncover our untapped power fearlessly? How do we accept all our tensions or even our chaos fearlessly? Yet still somehow, unleash our ambitions fearlessly?
To become fearless, to become an ambitious her, I marvel at the thought of somewhere, somehow, a woman like me, bathes her four kids for the night, gives them their vitamins, reads books that tickles their noses, and kisses their heads goodnight, not before they tell stories by moonlight or pray for guardian angels through the night. Then she darts around the house, checking for locked doors, and alarm locks, washes the night dishes and sweeps the floor one more time. Then she makes a cup of tea, lemon ginger with a twist of lemon for her insides. She turns of the lights and snuggles, beneath a grey fuzzy blanket, not before she picks up her phone to write this note, of how somewhere, somehow, a woman like me, lived wild dreams of herself, gliding through paths untrodden fearlessly. This dream, she always knew, would come through one day. And today is that day. Welcome to my most ambitious year.
Yesterday, in yet another failed grant attempt, my proposal was described as ‘overly ambitious’. Cambridge’s dictionary describe the word ambitious as ‘having a strong desire to succeed.’ In the grant writing world, the word ambitious has negative connotations. It’s one of those dreaded words senior reviewers lash on junior grant writers to remind us to stay in our place. When all else fails, when even the grant has some merit to it, the reviewers use the word to remind you of the hierarchy inherent in the grant writing world. Bottom line, no one wants their proposal to be described as ambitious. Yet, majority of all my proposals, most of my failed ones, have been called ambitious on so many occasions. In fact I wrote so many ambitious grants that failed before landing on the grant of a life time. Ambitious questions are all I know.
Now and in the words of James, 1: 2-4, I consider it pure joy when my grant proposals are described as ambitious especially in the beginning because I know now that the testing of my abilities produces perseverance, produces a profound commitment to write more beautiful questions, questions that are truly ambitious in nature given pressing global health issues, this pandemic being a perfect example. My goal now is to truly own the word and so I thank reviewers from reminding me to keep being ambitious, keep having a strong desire to succeed. For when I am ambitious, when the work is described in the beginning as having the determination to succeed, the end makes more sense.
Ambitious questions are a necessity. Ambitious scientists are critical. I intend to keep being ambitious so as to finish my goal of research that is truly sustainable in resource limited settings. It will truly take ambitious questions and I am so prepared to keep asking them, no matter how many times I fail.