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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.

pointing woman

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.

girl look upI 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.


    Jeffrey Baril said:
    June 17, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Now that I’m older, I see how pointless it was to be successful working in the corporate world. Allowing someone else to place a value on my education, background, and experience typically meant me being overworked and under-appreciated.

    I enjoy sales. I like the challenge… and like to excel in a function that is so generally feared by the general public. There’s real money here. And with Aflac, I can truly be entrepreneur and rewarded for being ambitious and driven… hell, I can be me and get paid for it!

    In the corporate world, it’s more about sacrifice, obedience, and self-justification.

    I’ve never feared being successful, I just feared that I would never get this type opportunity — especially to run my own Aflac Office.

    I disagree with your view of today’s generation. I see them as having a poor work ethic and feeling entitled to everything… without having to work for it or pay their dues. They want to drink coffee and spend half their day on Facebook and eBay, all while making $80k a year.

    If you want to see what someone what is truly made of… have them spend a day with me cold-calling and knocking on the doors of random businesses… for survival.

    Good article.

    Jeffrey Baril of Source Blogger

    aspire2higher said:
    June 17, 2011 at 3:32 am

    HA! Way to put it in perspective Jeff! Thank you for reading and commenting! If you think you were over worked and under-appreciated in corporate , try working in education! But, that is why I started this blog and encourage other people to DO WHAT THEY LIKE TO DO! Having my own vision, and business plan has enabled me to work my 9-5 and focus on the things in my job that I actually enjoy.

    Having been in sales for a few years, I liked the challenge AND the financial rewards! As for today’s generation…I work with them day in and day out….there are some who know what it means to WORK! They may not be the majority…but most LEADERS aren’t.

    Thanks again for reading.

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