Recently on a coaching call, the topic of ambition came up because we were talking through common frustrations leaders tend to have. Ambition is one of those things, like money, that can be seen as good or bad depending on how you use it. When it is good, it feeds your drive and actions in a positive way. When it is bad, it can lead to selfish decisions, greed, and your own frustrations with your team for not moving at your elevated pace. 

Ambition is a gift. But the key is to steward it well. 

Our ultimate goal is to provide our leaders with the tools they need to establish lives of peace and joy—drama free lives. When ambition gets out of whack, it can leave you feeling frustrated and drama-full.

Often, that “out of whack” feeling appears in ambitious people when there is a palpable gap between expectations and reality. We are not advising you to lower your expectations as a result. Rather, remember the future…those expectations…are completely imaginary. The future is a picture you have painted in your mind that literally does not exist. However, the present is real. Value is created in the present and your present creates your future. 

By moving your brain to focus on the present and those around you, you can temper your time spent focusing on expectations. Shift your ambition to think about the current impact you can have on your team, your family, or your friends. Social programs were started by ambitious people who wanted to change the world. You have that capacity to channel your ambition in big and small ways. 

We once encouraged a client to keep a journal of all of the ways he was able to positively impact others. As a highly ambitious personality, the journal helped to direct his energy and recognize the progress he was making that might have looked a little different from the future vision he had in his mind. 

This practice of reflecting back on the past is another strategy for ambitious people to help them temper their expectations of themselves and others through what we call rehearsing your wins. Every morning, if you start your day by jotting down three wins you had the day before in a phone note or journal, you will surprise yourself at all you accomplished and tame your ambitious spirit from thinking too much on that made up future. 

Stewarding ambition is a daily practice, but with habits and discipline, it can be a perpetual source for good. 

Want to hear more? We tackled this subject on the Drama Free Living podcast. Take a listen and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode.