#Shewearsthepants: Jeana Delamarter on Evolving Ambition


Jeana Delamarter, Denver, CO: 
Self described as a recovering overachiever, foodie (not the classy kind, but just obsessive - I'm always thinking about my next meal and I watch videos and read books on food), adventurer, and fitness obsessed.

What do you do - and what what drives you in your career as well as personal endeavors?
I’m a recruiter for a business school. I counsel people to determine the best fitting graduate business program for them, guide people through the application process, review applications and scholarships, and help develop MBA programming.

Ambition: What does ambition personally mean to you - what place does it have in your life? Do you think our culture perceives “ambition” to be a dirty word for women? Why or why not?
I’m a recovering overachiever, so my ambitions have changed significantly over the last 15 years. Ambition used to mean checking things off the list - excel academically, find a good job with the title, buy a home, push myself to the limits in all athletic endeavors, have a full social life and perfect relationships. After a failed marriage, multiple surgeries from athletic injuries and regularly occurring full-body hive breakouts from work anxiety, I realized that my view of ambition needed to drastically change.

Now, my main ambition is to live a balanced life that I find fulfilling and something that doesn’t just check the boxes. Mental and physical health are extremely important to me, as well as my relationship with friends and family. I still strive to be the best at what I do, but with far less pressure and more compassion for myself and others.

I grew up in a very liberal, progressive community, so I don’t know anyone who views ambition as a dirty word for women. If anything, ambitious women have always been revered and held up as examples. I will say this is pertaining to careers only. I do feel that women who are driven in their careers but aren’t also family oriented are scorned, which is of course never the case for ambitious men.

What does ‘having confidence’ mean to you - what place does it have in your life? How do you work on it?
Confidence means speaking up for myself and my needs and standing my ground, even if it goes against the grain. Confidence means being comfortable in my skin. Most importantly, confidence must be paired with humility. Confidence has allowed me to move forward in my career and personal life knowing that everything will work out for the best because I am a capable person.

To work on my confidence, I like to put myself in uncomfortable situations - going to networking events where I don’t know anyone, traveling to a new country, learning new skills, etc. Afterward, I always feel accomplished regardless of the outcome.

Goals: Please share one of your current, important goals (can be personal or work-related). Why is this a goal and how did you realize it was something that you wanted to work on? What’s your plan for achieving it?
Being comfortable with being alone with myself, setting aside “me” time. My boyfriend and therapists were important figures in pointing out that I don’t spend enough time by myself to reflect, to feel, to recharge. For my entire adult life, I’d have my work and personal life planned out months in advance. If I found myself with a couple of free hours, I’d immediately schedule a coffee, drink or workout with someone. By constantly being on the go, I prevented myself from sitting with a lot of emotions and issues I needed to process. Also, planning months in advance leaves no room for spontaneity! Now, I deliberately leave myself a night or two “off” each week. I use that time to journal, meditate, read, craft, and play with my dog.

What do you do if you are having a hard time defining goals? How do you stay motivated to fulfill your goals and sense of ambition, and what do you do when you get stuck?
If I have a defined goal, I am quite disciplined and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal quickly. The problem is if I don’t have a clear goal, I can feel listless. I am all for enlisting the help of others in these situations. I’ve gone to life and career coaches who have helped me define goals. To motivate myself, I love spending time and seeking advice from other ambitious women (friends, former bosses and colleagues, women’s networking groups). Even just attending a talk given by an accomplished woman can provide me that extra motivation I need to light my own fire.

What is your outfit when you really have to get shi*t done?
Being comfortable is #1 for me, so you’ll rarely find me in anything with a heel. I’m usually wearing black stretchy pants or a loose shift dress.

What is one fashion tip / hack you swear by for a quick or on-the-go change?
Lipstick! It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, lipstick can completely change the look of an outfit and “class” it up (not to mention drawing attention away from tired eyes). I wear a lot of black, so this is also how I bring color into my outfits. Anything matte from MAC will literally stay put all day.

What is your process - or what are you guidelines - when choosing to buy something new for your wardrobe?
Comfort is my main guideline when buying something new. My weight fluctuates a lot, so my clothes have to have give and move with me. Rather than buying a souvenir when I’m traveling, I like to buy an item of clothing or piece of jewelry, that way the piece is unique and always reminds me of a particular city/country/part of the world whenever I wear it.

What activities do you do outside of your full-time gig (whether that’s work, parenting or something else)? How does it bring balance to your life? How does it make you more successful in your full-time gig?
Physical movement is one of my man outlets for stress. I used to spend all of my free time running or doing HIIT classes, although I’m currently turning to yoga for gentler movement on my body. I love camping and being outdoors and try to take full advantage of the mountains and escaping the city when I can. Spending time in the mountains helps me feel recharged, rested and revitalized and ready to tackle work. I’m also a new dog mom, so that’s opening up a world of exploring the city and dog parks!