How to Manage and Structure your Ambition

When you formulate a goal, focus on the behavior that will lead to the achievement of the goal, and not the goal itself. Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that their ambition has seen them where they are today. Employers are also looking for ambitious workers to drive their teams and innovation. Ambition begets initiative and initiative drives innovation. Companies that leave out ambition as one of the qualifications or traits for their employees spend more money and time on employee motivation. Obviously, ambition is very important in life. Goals should be driven by the ability to discover yourself and strive to achieve your purpose. However, with increased competition in the marketplace and a dive in opportunities, there is a growing trend where most people tend to be overambitious.

How do I differentiate between dangerous and healthy ambition?


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Psychologists have noted that in most cases overambitious people are increasingly experiencing bouts of anxiety. Workplace anxiety is set to increase if people do not have control over their goals and aspirations for themselves and the organization. Unfortunately, many people do not realize when these aspirations are becoming overburdening and resulting to anxiety. As a result, most ambitions just remain that, ambitions. In some instances, it is when they are driving you to live beyond your means. I know most people will justify this by saying “live it up,” however goals should not force you to live beyond your means.

The first sign that your aspiration is becoming an obsession is when the thought of it brings about panics and feeling of desperation into your system. Too much work can lead to panic attacks especially when we feel like we have a lot to cover. This is not the same as work related pressure to beat deadlines which are seasonal depending on what we do in our everyday lives. It is a form of zeal that we want everything to be perfect and within a given duration. And the thought that you may not achieve these deliverables sends into a panic mode. Psychologists say that such pressure can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder – OCD and depression. As much as the modern career is demanding, it is also important to lean back for a moment and appreciate the solutions within our reach without breaking our system. When we do that, we will see new ways of achieving our targets and within the right limits.


Anxiety from being overambitious is mostly characterized by work-related insomnia. Sometimes stress will stop you from eating and sleeping as required. You may also notice that you do not have time to spend with family or friends. This is a sign that you are on the verge of burnout. This does not end well for most people. Burnout is followed by lack of motivation, inability to concentrate and sometimes sickness. Emotionally, it can result in fear of failure and resentment or lack of self-belief. These may have more damaging long-time effects on your career, business, and social life.

In spite of all the goals and determination, you may end up not doing anything due to anxiety. The pressure to achieve too much within a short period often results in a feeling of confusion and wrong judgments. Regarding financial decisions, it may lead to overspending, impulse buying or acquiring these that we do not need. We often praise people that can multitask, but it is more important to focus on one thing at a time. Goals are good as long as they are within your control.

How can you get your ambition under control?


Motivation is not a synonym for ambition. While you may have an aspiration, it may not always translate to motivation. Aspirations without motives are occasioned by overwhelming and overbearing targets. The first step towards being in control is checking the validity of your goals in the first place. For instance, you may need to ask yourself questions like: Do I own them? Do I want to be part of this process? Am I able to achieve this? How is it going to be achieved? If you can answer these questions satisfactorily, then it is safe to chase your dreams. Many people tend to justify unrealistic goals citing faith. However, faith is when you put effort with the belief that it will yield fruits. It has never meant killing yourself with untenable targets.

Always be on top of your game. With all the pressures, it is hard to stay sane in the modern world whether as a homemaker, a professional or an entrepreneur. However, the pressure to impress other people should never be incorporated into your aspirations. In most cases, people’s expectations will clash with your beliefs. Ambition should be self-driven and measurable. Choose your belief over impressing people. Truth be told, it is dangerous to live without ambition. But it is also equally dangerous to let that ambition control your life.

Begin at goal setting stage. First, as you lay down your ambition make room for change. This does not mean that you should come up with mediocre goals and targets for your work and life. It simply means that sometimes we are not in control. And however much we may work hard, some things will not go as planned because of external factors such as weather, health and economic variables that are completely out of our control. Learn to accept these changes. It will be easier to move on and makes amends on how to catch up with your goals.

Every day tips


Read biographies of your mentors. There is one person that you always look up to. At one point in their biography, you will notice that things did not go as planned. Their story or career took a new course. They had to begin from there without necessarily stopping. Learn to talk to yourself more because this will be a source of motivation and soul searching. Appreciate little steps that you make in life. In the end, they sum up to create the ambition. Replenish your energy levels through meditation, a break with friends, a game or a walk. You will need fresh energy every day.

How do you keep your ambition in check? Tell us in the comment section below.

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3 Comments How to Manage and Structure your Ambition

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