What Does Career Ambition Mean To You?


This was posed to me recently. There is ongoing tension on what it takes to get ahead, especially in corporate America. There are two schools of thought.

The first believe in fairness. Everyone should be judged on his or her own merits and contributions. If you do a good job, it will get noticed and you will be rewarded. It’s not appropriate to brag about yourself and your accomplishments.

The second believe that you have to push your way forward by taking control of your career. In order to rise above your current position you have to set the agenda. This may require you being a self-promoter.

I believe there is a healthy view toward ambition that rests somewhere in between.

The dictionary definition of ambition is earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction such as: power, honor, fame, wealth and a willingness to strive for its attainment. At its best, ambition propels a person to achieve what may be just out of their reach. Or something that’s never been done before. It’s that extra inner belief . The rewards you reap could be, the first in your family to go to college, beating poverty to be an Olympic athlete (Lolo Jones) or starting a new career in your 40’s.

I have the privilege of teaming up with WGN News at 5 to help a viewer with their job search. The promotion, Jumpstart Your Job Search will offer assistance to one deserving viewer. For this viewer and anyone in career crisis they will need a level of ambition in order to move forward. I’d like to frame ambition as desiring success and happiness in career and life. This requires one to be energetic, enthusiastic and enterprising.

Energetic: the desire to take action

Enthusiastic: being passionate and eager to explore

Enterprising: ready to undertake projects of importance or difficulty

Simply, ambition is having the passion to take action on projects you care about.

Personally, I’d rather have ambition than be apathetic and lackadaisical. From my own experience, if it wasn’t for my ambition I would of never pursued a career in advertising, lived in great cities such as Chicago and New York nor followed my passion to start a new career as an executive coach. Through all this, I’d like to believe I always handled others and myself with integrity and respect.

For those in career crisis or looking to make changes in your life, embrace ambition and the positive passionate impact it can have on your life. I look forward to hearing about your ambitions and successes.