DEVELOPING A HABIT OF AMBITION
Ambition: A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
If I got a shilling for every time I heard that young Tanzanians are lazy, lack ambition or unreliable, I would probably be a millionaire by now! Yes its a huge generalization, however a some truth it!
I have recently been doing a little soul search and reading – and before I point the finger at my fellow brothers and sisters, I too see so many elements of lethargy in my own life. That attitude of procrastination or a lack of drive that creeps in so often or that lifestyle of under-performing, or doing the bare minimum just to get by, when you know that you know, that you can do far better than what you are currently doing.
OK, before we get bogged down here is a bit of encouragement: Everyone is born with a measure of ambition…but the rest still must be nurtured. Some people are born with an extra helping of it, others have to really work to nurture ambition in their lives and fight the temptation to become too
comfortable wherever they find themselves.
Yes, we all have an overachieving friend who is always on the move towards greater heights and bigger things – and we also know that very polite 30 plus year old who can’t seem to get there life together even though the world was literally laid at their feet for the taking! Before your mind wonders off, ask yourself, what about me…?
No matter what spectrum you find yourself on, ambition is buried deep within you.
So there’s hope! Now what? Here are some tips I found really useful from the book H3 leadership to help you feed your ambition appetite :
1. Sketch tomorrow. Leaders must begin with the end in mind. But it is hard to believe what you cannot see. When you look at your future what do you see? Or rather, what would you like to see? To create goals, you need to know where you are headed. But many people don’t set goals because they have never dreamed specific dreams about the reality they hope to create. So start dreaming !
Leaders must begin with the end in mind
2. Set good goals. Most people have some sort of goals, but many of their goals are not good ones. The best goals are specific, not general. They are attainable, not unrealistic. They are challenging, not easy. They are measurable, not indeterminable. And they are clearly communicated, not assumed. Make sure you have clear and specific goals for yourself and your team that can be evaluated after a set period of time. What we like to use at LAS is an app/online platform called Asana, which helps us as a team stay on track on what goals we need to achieve within a defined period time. Its also a great way to keep each other accountable when the desire to slack kicks in.
Goals are supposed to be challenging, not easy
3. Stop to celebrate. Those who have no ambition won’t recognize cause for celebration, and those with too much ambition will move on to the next goal. Whenever you or one of your teammate accomplishes a major goal, pause for celebration. Celebrating a goal encourages goal-setting and achievement. This is a springboard to setting and pursing new goals.
4. Keep going and keep trying. Rejection is not the end of your influence. Great leaders continue to improve and don’t allow for mediocrity to set in. Push yourself on a daily basis. Get up early, stay up late and keep plugging away. Rejection is not the end of you influence, but may actually be the beginning of something great. A habit of ambition many times is built because of more nos than yeses.
Push yourself on a daily basis
Now, look at your own life and ask, “How am I feeding my ambition appetite?” and “Is it producing any fruit in my life?” When your ambition is properly fed, it will yield a desire to achieve, to grow, to perform and to do ones best. It will also yield a healthy job environment, healthy relationships and a healthy work-life balance.
All the best!