Achieve your ambitions without alienating colleagues - Business Works
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Achieve your ambitions without alienating colleagues

Jo-Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory There is nothing wrong with being ambitious; it is this driven part of our personalities which leads to us achieving our goals and getting to where we want to be in life. Ambition not only distinguishes us, but also makes us work hard to achieve our goals, without which society could not survive.

This in-built desire for personal achievement is often perceived as a negative characteristic which is regarded as being 'solitary' and is associated with intolerance, greed and the drive for power and the ruthless pursuit of our goals can be detrimental to those around us.

However, we should not shy away from ambition. There is a way to walk the fine line between your determination to succeed and to be accepted by your peers.

Those who attend our Leadership Development course at Impact Factory are asked who they consider to be their fictional or even non-fictional role models. Surprisingly, many say they do not have any. Our conclusion is that this isnít due to a personís lack of imagination, but because they donít want to openly admit they have received help, support or inspiration from others, as they see this as a sign of weakness.

However, recognising and accepting you have been shaped and influenced by others does not only make your ambition fuller and more readily accessible, but can also help you to communicate the drivers behind your ambition to colleagues.

It is important to accept that other peopleís reactions to your ambition and success are beyond your control and you cannot be held responsible for those who have feelings of jealousy. Like many people, I found myself concealing the positive feedback I was receiving from my tutors whilst studying Counselling and Psychotherapy at Westminster Pastoral Foundation.

I automatically assumed my peers would be resentful and I wanted to shield them from my success, but in reality I was shielding myself from what I assumed would be their negative reactions; reactions that may not have been there at all.

For a long time this was a familiar pattern and one which is very common, particularly amongst women, who are often unable to put aside their nurturing feelings and desire to protect those around them. Instead of being self depreciating and overly modest, it would have been better to have been honest and transparent with my peers. By minimising and hiding my aspirations and pride in my achievements, I actually made life much harder for myself and my goals a little more arduous to reach.

It was only when I founded Impact Factory that I realised my full capabilities and understood that I could use my realistic ambition to get where I wanted to be. I was able to acknowledge and channel my ambition in a fruitful way by focussing and asking, "What am I doing with my life?", and "What am I afraid of?". It was acknowledging and channelling this ambition which helped me create an organisation of excellence, which is still going strong 22 years later.

By openly and honestly recognising our ambitions, we can gain clarity on what we want to achieve and, most importantly, determine what support is needed along the way. This neednít be to the detriment of our peers; an ambitious person is inspiring, creative and energising. And if you also dedicate yourself to supporting the ambition of others, alongside your own, you will find the achievement of your goals much more rewarding.

Despite its negative associations, being ambitious makes us more adaptable and tolerant and by including other people in our ambitions we can all move forward together. Without fully sighted ambition our lives would be mechanical and meaningless and this is why ambition must be acknowledged and celebrated.

To contact Jo-Ellen or for more information, please visit:

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