Thursday, May 08, 2014


“Ambition – the drive to succeed”

Have you ever noticed that when your antenna picks up on something, suddenly that’s all you see or hear or observe.

For me this week it has been ambition.  So often in a woman’s world, if another woman is ambitious, it is not always viewed positively.  It immediately conjures up the picture of an aggressive woman clawing her way to the top.  But is that fair?

We all have different definitions of success, and who are we to judge what someone else wants out of life?  Yet, in a recent interview about super-successful women entrepreneurs, the observation was made that at times, while they don’t suffer self-doubt in terms of their ability, what they do question is more whether it is OK to be so ambitious, to enjoy work more than family.  Perhaps they worry that at the end of the day, they will regret the choices they’ve made, or always be judged for them.

Yet, sometimes women use their peers as the stepping-stone to forward their careers. Taking credit where it is not due, and ruthlessly taking advantage of someone else’s ideas and claiming them for their own.  That to me is when ambition has gone awry. 

When I worked in government, I was ambitious too, but to achieve my goals, I chose to  take on extra responsibilities or projects that would stretch me.  I don’t regret that, I learned a lot from the experience, including that I didn’t really want to move up the ranks.  I was better designing and implementing programs, rather than managing others. 

Then this morning an interesting blog found its way into my inbox – the title Outrageous Ambition.  So given my week, I felt compelled to read it.  Based in England, the author was writing about his daughter, who has cerebral palsy.  All his blogs are focused on his quest to improve the situation of people with disabilities.  In this particular blog, he talks about how his daughter inspires him, and how she drives him to have outrageous ambitions - for her and other people with disabilities.  Touchingly written, I was moved by his ambition and goals.

Three different takes on one word.  It is the motivation and methods that make the difference. What do you think?

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