“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself” – Coco Chanel
We all have dreams and goals, whether it be in your personal life, for your business or for your career. Despite this, it is easy to find yourself making excuses for not pursuing them – not enough time, busy schedule, kids, money, age and so on. True ambitions, however, are always within reach, and schould be nurtured and never ignored. They are what creates progress and brings us closer to our dream life.
“It is a real shame because no matter what you have already achieved and regardless of what stage you are in life, having the ambition to achieve more can be a wonderful life-affirming force. Ambition drives us on to better and greater things, whether for ourselves, for our family, or for the world. Without it we would have no progress, no inventions, no innovations, and no change for the better”. Rachel Bridge, shares these wise words in her book; ‘Ambition; Why it’s good to want more, and how to get it’.
There is an overload of information on just about anything today. This can make finding the right information difficult. There is an endless amount of people with endless opinions, bringing us more questions than answers. Throughout her book, Rachel leads us through some simple, yet immensely effective steps to take to get closer to your goals. These are neither complicated, nor confusing, but they require work. We are all unique, and have our own talents and a potential to achieve something special. The question then remains, how you can use your talents to reach your goals and dreams?
R. Bridge says; “If you want to get that promotion, achieve that big life-changing goal, start your own successful business, receive a positive difference to the world, then you already have the fuel of ambition in you. It’s time to use it to drive your success”.
The very first step should always be to clearly state out your goal. Knowing exactly where you want to go or what you wish to accomplish is key in knowing which steps to take on its way. Otherwise you will end up lost, confused and unsure of yourself and your direction. Stating your goal clearly also implies that you need to consider every parameter; Is it achievable? Is it something that you want, and will it make a difference to you and your life? If these remain unanswered or the answer to any of them is ‘No’, then you have to rethink your entire goal and strategy.
The following chapters puts emphasis on research and planning; it is always important to know as much as possible about the road ahead. Research makes strategy planning much simpler and more specifically tailored to your goal. Knowing whether or not there are any costs related, possibilities of loans or donors and so on. More than anything, knowing what can be done immediately is always vital. Any one thing that can be done now, is one less thing to be done in the future. Creating a website, talking to investors, or researching new locations. It doesn’t matter if it is purely research-based or action-based, if it’s done, it’s done.
Rachel Bridge; “The fact is, without a plan, your goal is likely to remain just that. A goal”.
Organizations and businesses are full of people with ideas that could possibly bring it to its next level. Knowing the right way to take advantage of this can be the difference between success and failure. Motivation should be in place, not only to benefit the employers but also the employees. Making each employee feel like they belong to something bigger than just a job can make it easier to create an atmosphere of both individual and company growth. Such an atmosphere is beneficial all around.
Oprah Winfrey, considered to be one of the most successful women and entrepreneurs in the world, has also shared many tips and tricks she uses both in her professional and personal life. Some of the most well-known are based on three principles; listening, intention and Newton’s third law of motion. She states that she always uses these to guide her into making the best decisions not only for herself, but for her staff and all those around her. Your inner voice, gut feeling or intuition, it doesn’t matter what you want to call it, but it will always guide you in the right direction. Using it in relation to business and business decisions can often be wise and may lead you to great success. If it feels wrong from the beginning it is less likely to be something that you believe will become successful in the future.
Bringing the right intentions into any decision, personal or professional can dictate its outcome. If the only aim of a CEO is to make loads of money, they may not last very long. They have to believe in the greater meaning of an organization, business plan or work to have the drive to thoroughly complete it.
Newton’s famous third law of motion states that any action has an equal and opposite reaction. In relations to ambitions and goals this means that your results will be dependent upon your work and effort. Nothing in life is free, and the same can be said for professional success. Sometimes we are lucky, have good timing and so on, but most of the time, our results will reflect our effort and work directly.
Motivation and intentions are also topics of discussion in Bridge’s book; “Having the motivation to pursue your goal sets you apart from all the other people in the world who have big ideas but no drive to achieve them. Understand it, cherish and guard it, because if it disappears, it can be very difficult to get back”. This also means that if you wish for your team to succeed with a task or a challenge, the right form and amount of motivation is important for its accomplishment. Without motivation and support from a leader, the will to complete any given task is close to none.
Another important step in the pursuit of a dream is having a support team. Whether this is family, friends, superiors or colleagues doesn’t matter, but finding the right people to help push you is crucial. Using a mentor can be good for exchanging knowledge and experiences as well as avoiding mistakes. Either through a mentoring program at your place of work, or by your own initiative. Bridge; “A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor, someone who can guide and help you pursue your ambition. They can help you stay on track, provide a sounding board for your ideas, encourage you through the hard times and offer practical advice”.
Additionally, you can gain knowledge and experience from others through social networking. Maria Azua, the author of ‘The Social Factor’ says that companies are increasingly investing in social networking, but they are missing out on powerful opportunities. Opportunities to use social networking to build thriving, innovative communities, of employees, partners and customers. She also points out that within organizations it can be used to form and cultivate new ‘weak’ ties, while strengthening and maintaining established, ‘strong’ ties. Azua states in her book that “The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ remains true, but in the social age there is a shift underway. Individuals previously held information as a way to hold onto power. Now information is everywhere, and those who are most adept at sharing that information are the ones who suddenly have the power”.
Implementing many or all of the mentioned strategies can get you far towards reaching your goals. Of course they have to be adapted to the specific needs of any individual or organization, but with hard, dedicated work, anyone can use their ambition to accomplish great things. Bridge; “Remember that you already possess all the tools within you that you need to achieve your ultimate goal. All you need to do is plug them in and flick the switch to make them work”.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” – Jim Rohn
Hope you enjoyed reading my article.
Inger Lise E. Greger, MSc. Change Management