Sometimes you need a little kick-start — something to spark some energy and help you move forward. You know what you need to hear right now: examples of ambition.
Ambition affects everyone differently. But it always creates a strong desire to improve and achieve. It’s what human beings need to reach their goals and live more meaningful lives.
Just to be clear, ambition isn’t something you mix into your smoothie each day to accelerate a transformation. It takes plenty of grit and effort to develop and maintain. But after you’ve learned how to be ambitious, you’ll realize you know more about yourself than you thought.
Why is ambition important?
Let’s start by outlining the definition of ambition. Ambition is a strong desire to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. It’s the spark inside you that compels you to keep putting effort into whatever you’re doing.
So why is ambition important? Without it, you wouldn’t work toward your goals — and you probably wouldn’t do any goal-setting at all. This driving force springs you into action and keeps you looking to the future. It motivates you to face new challenges head-on and works hard to develop. And it’s all about pursuing your purpose and trying to live a more meaningful life.
No one is born with ambition, and it isn’t a trait you do or don’t possess. Some days, you might feel like your ambition is lower than usual, but it never truly disappears. Your ambition helps you focus on what you desire to achieve and gives you a reason to succeed. Your focus isn’t always as strong or intent, but it’ll always return. Your desires will still be there in the back of your mind.
An ambitious person has a few qualities that set them apart from the unambitious. Research has found seven groups of important psychological characteristics in ambitious people that help them achieve their goals:
- Continuously planning and setting specific goals to keep them focused
- Staying motivated to achieve their goals and desire for self-actualization
- Only being satisfied with themselves when they reach their goals
- Competitively working alongside others, but for the sake of growth and success
- Willingly making changes in their lives to better pursue their goals and purpose
- Willingly taking risks but maintaining rational thinking and self-regulation
- Keeping flexibility in critical thinking and staying open to new ideas to help solve problems
6 examples of ambition in life
Ambition in life is displayed in many ways. You display your ambition in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to those around you. It also subtly impacts your mindset, causing you to strive to do better, sustain your efforts, and think of the future but still be present.
Heads up: these ambition examples aren’t too specific to show you that you can adopt any of them into your life. They’re all ways to let your ambition shine and can act as a template for you to set your specific goals.
Here are six ambition examples in life to review:
- Wanting to be great at something: If you’re going to have a hobby or skill set, you want to be great at it. Not OK or decent, but it great. Spending hours practicing this will help elevate you from amateur to expert.
- Being passionate: Life’s too short to live without what you’re passionate about. You’ll strive to find meaning in life and enjoy your lifestyle.
- Being persistent: You want to be an ambitious person, so you won’t give up easily. You’ll be willing to learn new skills and set long-term goals if it means achieving success.
- Making a difference: You’ll strive to make a difference in both your community and life. You’ll always try to see how things might be improved for you and others.
- Having a vision: Visualization is key. You’ll have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in life. Even if you don’t know how you’ll achieve it yet, you’ll still know your values and dreams.
- Exuding self-motivation: Nobody has to tell you twice to work hard toward your personal goals. Your great ambition won’t let you sit around and scroll on social media all day. This motivation will extend to everything you do, helping you act with purpose and intention.
5 examples of ambition at work
Ambition is a desirable skill at work. Think about it; it’ll make you strive to do better, set new goals, and stay dedicated to your work. It will even make your resume stand out by showing that you have a growth mindset. You’re interested in growing and moving up, not just staying where you are.
Ambition at work has three categories: performance, growth, and achievement. But what’s key is to find a balance between all of them. Well-rounded career ambitions help you be more creative, aid your work-life balance, and leave you more satisfied.
With that in mind, here are five examples of ambitions at work:
- Creating a plan for your career path: If you’re ambitious, you often think about the present and the future. Your ambition helps you plan your career, where you want to end up, and how you’ll develop as a professional.
- Listening to feedback: You’re bound to make mistakes. Everyone is. But your mistakes are learning opportunities to help improve your performance for next time. Seize the opportunity to receive feedback and note how you might improve.
- Wanting to be an expert: Being an expert is what all the goals you’ve set and achieved have brought you after years of hard work. If you aren’t yet a master at your craft, it might mean you just need more time — but the desire shows the grit and determination of ambition.
- Owning your own business: After years of working for others, you might want to be your own boss. The desire to start a new company and invite others to join you might be one of your main motivators.
- Striving to be a mentor: Someone likely mentored you when you entered the industry, and maybe you’d like to return the favor. Mentors guide others on their career paths by teaching them new skills and offering career advice. In this position, all of your growth and achievements help you give back to others and feel fulfilled.
Habits you can put into practice
You want to be an ambitious person, but how do you put your goals and ambitions into practice? Knowing what you want is one thing. Doing it is another.
Ambitious people have certain habits that help them stand out compared to people who aren’t as ambitious. You might not notice it right away, but it’s in the details. Small things contribute to how ambitious you are and your mindset toward achieving personal or career aspirations.
If you need some healthy habits to support the goals you’re chasing, try these out:
- Find a social group with similar goals. Do your friends shrug off goal-setting, or do they share your enthusiasm for growth and hard work? Your social health impacts your attitude, so be mindful of who you hang out with. Surround yourself with like-minded people who share your focus.
- Be punctual. Organize your schedule and manage your time to ensure you’re not late or keeping others waiting. Things like job interviews and coffee with mentors demand that you’re on time and prepared. But your friends, family members, and loved ones deserve the same level of respect for their time — even for casual things. Punctuality means you’re serious and intentional with your time.
- Learn from your mistakes. How do you feel about failure? Learning to be ambitious requires that you learn from your mistakes. You’re a human being who, occasionally, fails. Try to view this as a learning opportunity for the future.
- Accountability. Owning your failures also means being accountable for your actions. This applies to everything — both good and bad. Make sure you celebrate your wins and be proud of yourself, but know when to admit that you’ve done something wrong.
Perhaps you’re already practicing some of these success tips. But if you find some of these are new suggestions, give them a try. You won’t be perfect at them on the first try, but these habits will help lay a foundation for the pursuit of your ambitions.
Take the inspiration and go
Ambition loves inspiration. You need to feel empowered and motivated to work toward your goals, but you need the inspiration to start. All of these examples of ambition demand a little spark.
Maybe you’ve met someone who’s their own boss, and you’re feeling inspired to finally pursue one of your business ideas. That inspiration help ignite your ambition, and before you know it, you’re an entrepreneur.
Wherever you find inspiration, run with it. Listen to your thoughts, and follow what’s pulling you somewhere. And by establishing habits that’ll set you up for success, you’ll cultivate an all-in mindset. Soon you’ll be planning how to turn your dreams into reality. Perhaps you’ll start working on your bucket list, because why not?
With enough grit and determination, you’ll find that this is the driving force you need to live a purposeful and happy life for years to come.