This week we’re talking about the difference between being ambitious and being driven.
And there’s a big difference.
I was at a conference a few years ago, and one of the great speakers that was there was Dr. Jennifer Welter. And you may know Dr. Jen as the first female NFL football coach. And she asked a series of really good questions, one of which was:
“Who here is driven?”
And people put their hand up.
And she also asked, “Who here is ambitious?”
And other people put their hand up, and some put their hand up both times. In fact, I think I did.
And then she asked a REALLY interesting question: “Well, what’s the difference between being driven and being ambitious?”
And the audience got kind of quiet, and I’m going to share with you my interpretation, my recollection of what she shared with us.
In general, those that are ambitious are clear on what they’re setting out to accomplish, and they’re excited to get there. It’s a positive energy.
Those that are driven are working away from something. It’s generally something like “more, better, faster, more money, bigger business.”
But it’s not clearly defined.
And it’s an interesting distinction, because I find that the people I’ve worked with over the years, the ambitious folks are generally happier.
- They’re excited about what they’re setting out to do
- They can recognize when they’re making progress
- They celebrate their milestones
- They engage their teams
- They make a big deal even about the little wins
- They generally have a positive energy about where they’re going, even though they have challenges from time to time like we all do, and
- They’ve got that vision in their mind.
The driven folks, not saying that they’re super negative, but:
- Their energy’s a little bit more compelling
- There’s a little bit more of a compulsion to perform, and
- Their goals are a little bit more vague.
And so what I notice about that is that they don’t celebrate their wins along the way, because as they’re growing, they’ve never really defined where they’re going, so they keep on saying more, bigger, better, faster, more money.
And even though they might be super accomplished, they don’t recognize it.
They don’t celebrate their wins nearly as often. In fact, they feel kind of strange celebrating their wins, because it doesn’t feel like wins. It just feels like, “yeah, well, let’s keep moving.
So this week what I’d like you to do, if you feel like you’re a little bit more driven, moving away from something and towards something that’s not quite as clearly defined, get some definition to where you’re going.
Just jot a few lines about what you’re setting out to accomplish in whatever realm it might be. Might be relationships or health or business or friendships or philanthropy, whatever it is, so you know when you get there, and you can tell when you’re on track.
It’s okay to be driven to get started, but I think we need to shift gears into being ambitious once we’re in motion so that we’re clear on where we’re going, we can celebrate the successes, enjoy the ride, and know when we’ve arrived and accomplished what we set out to do.
And then set more ambitious, more fun goals.
So that’s it for this week. If you’re a bit more on the driven side, let’s shift you to be a little bit more ambitious.
If you’re already ambitious, keep rocking.
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