Questionably ambitious

What type of ambition is pushing you to the summit? How will you get there? (View from Gokyo Ri, Nepal, Dec 2012)

What type of ambition is pushing you to the summit? How will you get there?
(View from Gokyo Ri, Nepal, Dec 2012)

Ambition is a word I have always related to. Unquestionably.

That was until two days ago when a good friend of mine challenged me on the subject. I had selected ‘ambitious’ as one of the words to best describe myself in a questionnaire, when my friend said she didn’t see me as being ambitious. Although I kept it cool on the outside, I was completely taken aback. How could I, the goal-focussed, project-driven and success hunter that I am, not be ambitious?

“What’s your definition of ambition,” she asked.

Such a simple question. Hmm…

Her view on ambition was someone who will do anything to get to the top, even climb over ‘dead bodies’. Now, I knew that wasn’t me and agreed on her comment based on that definition.

Although I was able to come up with my own basic answer which satisfied us both (‘I have always had goals, tried to achieve them and wanted to be successful’), it sent me into a much deeper reflection as to whether or not the determined, focussed and career-driven Kim that I was pre-sabbatical was still well and truly me.

My questioning was accentuated by this lull I felt I had reached in my life which was characterised by very little attachment on both personal and professional levels, and without the discoveries and excitements travelling overseas brings on a daily basis.

Was I still ambitious?

I only had to ask myself what I wanted out of life to feel that fervent inner flame come back to full blaze and find my answer: yes! My focus had moved a degree or two, but my ambition was still pointing north.

What this discussion with my friend highlighted was not only the need for me to question where my ambition lies, but more broadly, to question the unquestionable… to leave no stone unturned… to shake up that tree!

How is your ambition playing out?

Do you want to reach the summit famously alone, looking back at the people who are still trying to get up that hill and at those who have decided to camp down there for a day or forever? Or would you rather high-five everyone at the top because you’ve helped each other through the climb – carrying each other’s load, throwing a rope when needed, constantly cheering you on?

And here’s the most important question: is your current attitude and behaviour supporting your choice of ambition?

Your time to reflect now…

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