Sometimes ambition gets a bad rap--seen as a negative attribute rather than a positive one. In my experience, it's ambition that drives people to accomplish great things--without it, nothing great would ever get done.
According to Ines Temple, president of LHH-DBM Peru and LHH Chile, ambition is much more positive than negative. I asked Ines to explain why this is the case. The words that follow are all hers.
I actually enjoy working with ambitious people.
They know what they want, they have clear goals and work very hard to accomplish them. They embrace challenges and enjoy them--they know they are necessary to move forward and learn.
Ambitious people take charge of their destiny and don't expect others to bow down to their needs. They have willpower and determination. They know where they are going and what they have to do to get there. They are capable of changing and measuring up to their dreams, always watchful of the opportunities that are out there for those who are willing to see them and seize them.
Ambition is a major driver for personal growth and development. No one can succeed without a healthy dose of ambition. Those who wish to be more, know more, do more, give more or have more, have a purpose and a powerful internal drive that leads them to dream bigger and go further. Ambition drives them to advance and accomplish their goals. Well-aimed and supported by values, ambition reflects a healthy self-esteem and higher power of abstraction and visualization of the future. Ambitious people have a gleam in their eyes as they approach their goals. They vibrate at a higher level and have a contagious enthusiasm about accomplishing things. They inspire and motivate others.
It should be noted that being ambitious does not imply a lack or values or ethics. Neither lack of control or being manipulative, as many in Western civilization often think. Here, we don't value ambition. We fear it and mistrust it (almost as much as the success of others). We are very quick at mistaking it with ambition unchecked. It is as if every ambitious person was inherently capable and willing to harm others. Of course there are many out there with unbridled ambition--stereotyped as the bad guy in the story--capable of doing anything and running over anyone to get whatever they want. But this does not automatically disqualify those with a healthy and positive level of ambition from succeeding and doing good at the same time.
On the other hand, people without ambition ask very little of life and that is what they get, little or nothing. They have no dreams, no vision, no direction or clear intent and, therefore, they get nowhere. Some are conformists, others passive or perhaps unmotivated. Many of them are embittered towards life and don't understand that it is precisely their lack of ambition which sabotages their future: they are unable to imagine their future and, therefore, to create it for themselves. People without ambition aren't truly honest with themselves: they don't have the courage to take the risks required to be successful, they don't build themselves up in order to live up to their potential. Unfortunately, it's as if their wings are tied behind their backs and they don't even realize it...
We must teach our children the power of ambition and dreaming big. These are major motivators of personal and collective success. And we must also teach them that ambition can, and should, work to benefit others and society in general.
Today, we should demand those who will lead us into the future to provide us a clear vision, with ambitious and challenging goals that inspire all of us to accomplish them. Only in this way will be have the thriving, fair and equitable workplace--and world--that we all want and deserve!