Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Dirty Word? - Thoughts On Ambition

Earlier this week, I read a piece in the i newspaper that absolutely struck a cord with me. Rebecca Armstrong's excellent feature sung the praises of being amibitious, of wanting more and more importantly, believing that we're all worth more than settling simply for what we have. If you've not read 'Ambition is something we should all be proud of', then take a few minutes out of your day now and give your reading muscles a little exercise.

What I loved the most was Rebecca's rejection of the really rather idiotic idea that it's somehow unseemly to be ambitious or that we shouldn't want better either for ourselves and those we care about.

I'm ambitious. I like to achieve, I like to get things done, I like to improve things and I can't bear standing still. I want better for myself. And I want better for a lot of fabulous people I'm lucky enough to know.

What I don't like however is achieving at the expense of all else. You can still be polite, friendly, funny and human whilst being ambitious. Knowing what you want and what you're going for is so important but you don't need to knock others down and climb over them on the way. What's the point of getting to where you want to go but not having anyone to share it with you when you get there?

Another lesson in ambition this week came from my son's school choir. His choir are very good indeed, they enter competitions, they often do well but, most importantly, the boys enjoy their singing and they all want to do well - for themselves and for each other. They didn't win the latest festival they entered but when the results were announced, they turned around and applauded the winners. No-one told them to. They just did it and they're eleven-year old boys. That's pretty good in my book.

They didn't win but they weren't beaten either. Their ambition didn't stop them appreciating what others had achieved.

So, thoughts on ambition - for goodness sake, be ambitious. Keep striving and believe you're worth everything you dream of and more. Try hard, work hard, don't set limits and don't let anyone scoff at your ambitions. But don't stop being a person - help others achieve their dreams and you'll be surprised who reaches out to you to support you on the way to yours.

Thanks so much for your words Rebecca - I'll definitely be joining you in wearing the 'I AM VERY AMBITIOUS' t-shirt and buying them for my son, step-daughter, family, friends and colleagues too. I want us all to be the best we can be.

Ambition isn't a dirty word. Although if you only care about your own, it can be a very lonely one.

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