6 Habits Of Highly Ambitious People

Photo Credit: Flickr / Getty Images144264091

By Kristina Udice

READ MORE: Networking, Colleagues, Money, Merriam-Webster

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ambition is defined as: “an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power; or a desire to achieve a particular end.”

When it comes to ambition, most of us wish we had a little more. We may look at our colleagues, our peers, or maybe random men and women on the street who just look like they have it all put together. But what makes up ambition? What are the habits of ambitious people? What are the secrets for how to be more ambitious? How can you get over this lack of ambition slump you may be in?

These are questions that aren’t the easiest to answer — especially when our day-to-day lives seem stressful enough as it is. How can adding more pressure to the mix do us any favors for success, in our careers or otherwise?

What is an ambitious person?

An ambitious person is someone always striving to reach a goal. Through hard work, dedication and perseverance — an ambitious person doesn’t give up. They push forward and are determined to succeed.

Is ambition good or bad?

There are, of course, downsides to all good traits. But innately, ambition is a good thing. It helps give us goals to reach and the passion to want to achieve them. It keeps us motivated and focused. It keeps us engaged with our goals, hopes, and dreams.

Caesar may have been overly ambitious, but you don’t have to worry about meeting the same fate.

Can ambition be taught?

Ambition is more of a learned trait than anything else. If someone doesn’t want to be ambitious, they won’t be. But that doesn’t mean that they will never change. We all have those moments — moments when we lack ambition, drive, and passion for things. We all need a little motivation, a little push from time to time. Some people just need a bit more of a push. Sometimes all it takes to help give someone a little boost of ambition is to be more outwardly ambitious yourself.

And if you’re the one struggling with ambition — don’t give up! Just keep pushing forward. That’s the best first step.

In reality, becoming more ambitious is a process that entails very small, very achievable steps. All it takes is focus, dedication, patience, and hard work. And once you master these six habits, you’ll be that ambitious person other people envy.

If you’re wondering how to be more ambitious in your personal life or career — or you’re just trying to find a semblance of ambition to begin with, achieve success by starting here:

1. Set goals.

The first thing (and probably one of the most vital things) you need to do is set some SMART goals for yourself. Otherwise, how will you know when you’ve achieved something to be proud of? Maybe you want to get a book published. Set an ambitious goal for yourself to get there. Give yourself targets to hit — writing X amount of words a day, or sitting down for an hour each day just to get the creative juices flowing.

Maybe you want to slowly but surely start expanding your professional network. Maybe you set a goal for yourself where you attend one networking event a month, and at each event talk to at least one person. These goals don’t have to be extravagant or grand. They just have to motivate you to keep moving forward, which is exactly what ambition is all about.

2. Take risks.

Another important step, and something that may seem extremely daunting at first, is taking risks. And no, we’re not talking about skydiving — unless that’s where your ambition lies.  But an ambitious person isn’t afraid to take risks and make mistakes. At the end of the day, they might really pay off. And that’s what we’re working toward,here. Being ambitious means pursuing your desires and reaching your goals. It’s pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and doing what you weren’t doing before.

Being ambitious isn’t necessarily easy, and neither is taking risks — and that’s the point. But the more you push yourself, the happier you will be, and the closer you will be to achieving your ambitious goals.

3. Invest in yourself.

You are your most valuable investment, and it’s important that you know that you are, in fact, worth it. Buy yourself that new video editing software. Give yourself a wardrobe makeover. Pay for those photography courses. And investing in yourself isn’t just about spending money. Take time for yourself. Get eight hours of sleep. Work out five times a week. Make yourself a priority, and others will see you as one.

3. Eliminate negativity.

Negativity is your enemy — both from the outside world, and from within. Negativity only holds you back; it only keeps you from seeing the positivity and the prospects on the horizon. Negativity casts a big, dark cloud on your ambitious goals. Expel it. Don’t tear yourself or your work apart. Don’t compare yourself to others. Work on yourself and your goals and what you want to accomplish, and keep that end in sight. Your biggest competitor is yourself and no one else. You should only strive to be better than you were yesterday.

4. Don’t wait.

If you keep waiting, you’ll never accomplish your goals. If you keep saying tomorrow, tomorrow will never really come. You can’t expect great things to happen when you’ve done nothing to work for them. Being ambitious means pushing yourself, fighting for what you want, and not taking no for an answer. You have your whole life ahead of you, and there’s no use waiting for it to happen. You have to make things happen. You can’t climb that corporate ladder if you never get in the game.

5. Surround yourself with ambitious people.

This doesn’t mean you have to drop your friends, so don’t worry. But it is important to surround yourself with people who will lift you up, people who will push you like they push themselves, and people who know what they want and are willing to fight for it. We often surround ourselves with people who share similar qualities and habits, and if you want to keep working towards your goals, you need people around you who are doing the same.

You can learn from these people, pick up their habits and learn from them. And they can do the same — a perfect, symbiotic ambitious relationship. If the people you are with understand the importance of hard work and constantly strive to do better, hard work will continue to be of importance to you, which is crucial because, let’s face it, we can’t be ambitious all the time. Some days you’re just going to want to throw in the towel or spend the day vegging out. That’s ok, as long as the people you’re with can help build you back up again.

We all sometimes feel like we suffer from a lack of ambition, but these steps will get your ambitious plan in motion —and will leave you being that ambitious person you’ve spent the last few months envying.

Related Articles
Related Community Discussions
Women's employee resource group

What does it take to get one off the ground successfully? I am thinking of starting one at my company and would love to hear from others about how to encourage as many women at my workplace to join and how to make them engaging and interesting for members. Any ideas for events and programming would be much appreciated!

I was on maternity leave when Grace Hopper Conference tickets

I was on maternity leave when Grace Hopper Conference tickets became available unfortunately. I promised my team (two other women) that we would go but am having trouble finding an "in." Does anyone know of anyone who has extra tickets? If not, do you know any other routes I could go to get some?

A male peer keeps interrupting me in meetings. It's driving

A male peer keeps interrupting me in meetings. It's driving me crazy. Should I say something to him?

OK, the previous post is a tough act to follow,

OK, the previous post is a tough act to follow, but here goes: Within the next week or two, I will be laid off from the ad agency where I work. Unfortunately, this is an industry hazard; when an agency loses clients, it cuts staff. We're losing two major accounts. It's deja vu for me, because the last agency I worked at lost a huge account and laid off 11 staffers, including me. The advertising industry skews very young. I laugh when I see "senior copywriter" positions requiring three years of experience. I have more than 20 years of experience. Also, many writers focus on a niche, such as pharma, but I take pride in the diversity of my portfolio. While I prefer a permanent, full-time copywriting/content position, either remote or in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey region, I'm thinking about going freelance. I already have a few freelance clients, but not enough to pay the bills. Any advice on how to best position myself in the marketplace, and how to dive in to freelance writing full time would be greatly appreciated. (And feel free to hit me up with job offers!)

What are women saying about your company?

Popular Articles
Related Community Discussions
Women's employee resource group

What does it take to get one off the ground successfully? I am thinking of starting one at my company and would love to hear from others about how to encourage as many women at my workplace to join and how to make them engaging and interesting for members. Any ideas for events and programming would be much appreciated!

I was on maternity leave when Grace Hopper Conference tickets

I was on maternity leave when Grace Hopper Conference tickets became available unfortunately. I promised my team (two other women) that we would go but am having trouble finding an "in." Does anyone know of anyone who has extra tickets? If not, do you know any other routes I could go to get some?

A male peer keeps interrupting me in meetings. It's driving

A male peer keeps interrupting me in meetings. It's driving me crazy. Should I say something to him?

OK, the previous post is a tough act to follow,

OK, the previous post is a tough act to follow, but here goes: Within the next week or two, I will be laid off from the ad agency where I work. Unfortunately, this is an industry hazard; when an agency loses clients, it cuts staff. We're losing two major accounts. It's deja vu for me, because the last agency I worked at lost a huge account and laid off 11 staffers, including me. The advertising industry skews very young. I laugh when I see "senior copywriter" positions requiring three years of experience. I have more than 20 years of experience. Also, many writers focus on a niche, such as pharma, but I take pride in the diversity of my portfolio. While I prefer a permanent, full-time copywriting/content position, either remote or in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey region, I'm thinking about going freelance. I already have a few freelance clients, but not enough to pay the bills. Any advice on how to best position myself in the marketplace, and how to dive in to freelance writing full time would be greatly appreciated. (And feel free to hit me up with job offers!)