There was an article in the Huffington Post in response to the same Sheryl Sandberg comments around women & ambition that I wrote about last week. The overall theme of the artile is that men should be thankful (since they benefit from it as well) that women have pushed for and made it acceptable to address life needs, whether it’s leaving early for a kids game, dealing with a sick parent, etc. Additionally, being able to speak up for what is needed, and then actually push for that change, is said to be a form of leadership.
I agree that women are probably to thank for part of this change, and it does take courage to speak up for what you need. I don’t think that being ambitious and wanting balance in life are mutually exclusive things, though. I think I’m very ambitious – I can’t stop thinking of what I can do and achieve – but I also want to spend time with family and friends, and take in the world around me. I actually feel successful and get a sense of achievement out of a lot of non-professional things I do, from running to serving as a lector at church. Maybe the disconnect that’s going on is the belief that ambition = success in a corporate setting, vs. ambition = living the most fulfilling life that you can.