I spent the better part of my twenties rationalizing my choices. As a new professional, a young person with a Master’s degree and working on a large staff with people who had worked longer than I had been alive, I was cautious in how I interacted in the workplace. However, I was never passive. Some might even say at times I was a bit aggressive! There has always been something in me that was looking for more. As soon as I achieved one goal, I was already hungry for the next one. I have heard and read that many people think that my generation and the younger generation are unfocused and disloyal, but I beg to differ.
While that might be true for some, here’s what I think. LEADERS don’t become LEADERS by following others or waiting for someone to GIVE them a promotion. After spending countless hours on the phone with my friends complaining about not having the job or career I wanted, I finally got the kahunas to get up off my butt and go get what I wanted! For example, at one point I was tired of wondering IF I would be good at something other than career counseling and frankly I was tired of helping college students get hired at Fortune 500 companies and making more money than me! I made the choice to pursue a sales job. I endured a pretty rigorous search and interview process and it took me and entire year to get that job! All along the way, there were lots of naysayers who thought I was being greedy. There were others who said, “maybe you should stick to what you know”. Ohhh, but I was! What I KNOW is that with preparation, a little polishing and persistence, I can have this job and many more! Did I excel as a sales person…no but I learned some valuable things from the experience that I still use in my life and my career.
I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you get this key take away…. don’t be afraid of your ambition! Everyone has fears, but what sets leaders apart is their drive and their ability to work through their own fears, stay focused and meet their goals.
I did not come to this realization easily, nor am I free of fears. However, I have a vision and clear plan that allows me to block out my fears. I no longer seek permission or consensus from friends and family to go after something that I want. For anyone who is considering a career transition, or pondering starting their own business or just doing something new, go after it no matter what! If you have the skills for the job….apply! If you are the next Beyoncé….be FIERCE! Whatever it is you aspire to do, be ready for the journey, if you don’t have the skills, go out an acquire them. Moreover, if you know you have what it takes, you have no reason to be timid about what you want. Author Paul Sweeney said it best: “True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful”.
Imagine if the world’s most powerful people/women ignored their ambitions! Many of our businesses, policies, entertainment and even laws would not exist. OK…that might be a stretch, but the people who Fortune and Forbes name as the most rich and powerful year after year have UNAPOLOGETIC AMBITION! It’s time for US to get some.