True Ambition

Ambition is daring to follow your dream” Jenipher Lyn, author of “How Being Stubborn, Depressed and Unpopular Saved My Life”

One thing I’ve learned from hundreds of clients is that you’ve gotta have ambition to keep the fire stoked.

Not the bulldoze-everyone-that gets-in-my-way brand of ambition.

Nope. We’re talking true ambition: the earnest desire that springs from deep within you. A desire so strong it drives you even when the going feels excruciating. And when that desire is expressed as serving your audience in some profound way only you can do?

Rocket fuel.

Entrepreneurs run on it. Visionaries run on it. Artists run on it.

Because pushing boundaries and changing lives isn’t for the lazy. Or the tentative.

Whenever I think about ambition, I tend to think about two client entrepreneurs—with strikingly different outcomes.

“Deborah” had a sudden financial windfall and decided she wanted to make a difference with it. With some help, she developed an exquisitely clear big idea—specific, focused on others, visionary—about an issue she cared about. Her challenge? No fire in the belly.

She desperately wanted the glam side—the perks that come with success—but continually declined the daily (decidedly UNglamorous) spade work required to build her platform: soliciting global alliance partners, meeting with local cause supporters, traveling to critical conferences where she could extend her base. Call her lazy or call her a dilettante, the result was the same: she settled for a few crumbs instead of her spectacular vision. She had no true ambition to fuel her.

“Randy” has a vision on a scale comparable to Deborah’s—other-focused and born from his unique talents and passions. But Randy was viscerally connected to making it a reality. He’d wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and shoot off a few emails. He’d ask his pals who he should connect with to spread his vision. He took to social media and—if not always patiently—consistently did the work. He reached out to (and did some favors for) industry big kahunas who quickly asked him to speak at their conferences. His big idea is now firmly in the zeitgeist.

Yes, he enjoys the limelight—and is a brilliant speaker—but that’s not what drives him. His fuel is improving the lives of those he serves. His stories are rather spiritual in the telling since he holds exceedingly high reverence for the lives he touches. Which of course draws more to him. True ambition.

True ambition wells up from your deepest talents, passions and desires. It’s aligned with your values—including how far you’re willing to go to translate your vision into reality.

Exquisite clarity about your true ambition will point you in the right direction (not to mention produce an abundance of rocket fuel).

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  • I am a Miami Heat fan. So I get to stay up quite late these days watching the NBA Finals. Lebron James, arguably the greatest player of our generation and probably of all times before he retires, was interviewed recently. His response to a question about what makes him as great as he is went something like this “you guys don’t see me when the cameras are not rolling. You don’t see me in the gym hour after hour working to improve my game. Working to make me and my team mates better when the cameras are not on me.”
    This is what you are describing today. Success comes only after the work has been put in to make the foundation strong.
    But success is not a one person program. It takes a team of people committed to making one’s dream a reality. If you do not have the backing and support, especially from home, it is not going to happen. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

  • Rochelle

    Isn’t that the truth! Thanks Ed for adding your last sentence in particular. At work, at home, in the community–none of us do it alone…

  • I often talk of the why — making a difference — when I look to introduce what I do. I find it captures attention and goes me the opportunity to pitch the what – what I do and even how I do it. Simply put, I let my prospect know I can help and in many cases, I can anticipate, prevent problems they might otherwise face.

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