What does ambition mean?
It is strange how this COVID-19 lockdown impacted our self-consciousness. Suddenly we had plenty of time to think about our-self, our lifestyle, and life objectives. Even for one of us overwhelmed with home office, house chores, and homeschooling, we found ourselves more often thinking about our professional choices.
Some weeks ago, I did a profiling test from a well know and established platform, and the results were a big surprise. Following this assessment, I need to show more drive, be more assertive, and prioritize my objectives more often in the workplace. In other words: I need to be more ambitious in my professional life.
Between laughing and disbelief, I read the analysis and wondered if this was not a mistake. If there is one sure thing I know about myself, is that I’m an ambitious person, and I don’t lack personal drive.
Recalling the questions, however, I suspected why the result was like this. My inner drive has been assessed of my intention to achieve top positions, the way I would behave during a business meeting, and my life priorities.
Do I want to become the CEO of a Big Pharma company? No.
I’m competitive, I always want to win, and I will push my team to achieve an objective at any cost? No.
Am I ready to sacrifice my personal life to get the job of my dream? No.
Still, I would be surprise if anyone who knows me to tell I’m not an ambitious person. Pharmaceutical career, business owner, author, working mother, and until a few months ago, I was the president of a female NGO. I work restlessly to achieve my professional objectives while keeping an open mind and listen to all suggestions around me. The whole by putting my personal life and health as a priority.
The real question being: what do ambition mean? Is ambition only about high pay-check and fancy role in a corporate? How do you assess your aspiration in the era of working for a purpose, find your why, and cultivate an healthy&sustainable lifestyle?
What if we need to change our way of assessing people’s inner drive?
These questions kept coming in my head for several days, and I decided I needed to dig in-depth into it.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “Ambition” as a strong wish to achieve something; a strong wish to be successful, powerful, rich, ecc.. This definition did not satisfy my curiosity.
There are plenty of articles, studies, and books around this topic mostly focused on the US population, corporate culture, and leadership (here and here, some examples). Many articles investigate the difference between women’s and men aspirations, like The Forbes article by Christina Vuleta The Ambition Gap: How Age And Economic Development Impact Women’s Aspirations (Apr 2017). C. Vuelta mentions how Egon Zehnder, a global talent consultancy, conducted a study measuring women’s professional aspirations and how age and country impacted their ambitions.
But in none of my researches, I could find which factors play a role in our professional aspiration and how the ambition factor plays a role in our lives.
After this research and a couple of fascinating calls with some friends, I decided we needed to know what people think about ambition, professional goals, and which elements are impacting their inner drive. A broad survey targeting people from different backgrounds, lifestyles, family organization, and geographic areas was necessary.
Together with my team and some friends, we create a survey to help us tackle this topic and understand what people think, discover if values and priorities change with the time, and how much the contest you live is impacting your aspirations.
You can find the link to the survey here ambitionfactor.ch
Do not hesitate to leave a comment at the end of the survey!