Aug 17, 2016

What is ambition?

Off late, I've been hearing this phrase (or similar sounding ones) quite often in various forums/blogposts - "women who seek work-life balance are less ambitious".  I fall into that category of women for whom work-life balance is very important and so it made me think about this basic question - What exactly is ambition? Why do we equate it to climbing up the corporate ladder, grabbing fancy job titles, jumping across various organization hierarchies, increasing your pay 10X, having a team of 50+ (or 500+) people to manage, buying a fancy house, driving an expensive car etc?

In the initial few years of my career, I was like anyone else - promotions mattered, job titles were important and so does the company names where I worked for. But after my daughter was born, my priorities shifted and I started to rethink about what I need from my career and life in general. None of the above listed criteria mattered anymore. I decided not to be a part of the rat race.

My ambition or expectation for myself is that I want to do meaningful work, have plenty of opportunities to learn and explore new avenues, be significant, make a difference, stay relevant in today's continuously evolving world and basically, embark on a career where I set the bar for myself - not the society, HR, peers, managers, friends or family. These goals are not simple or easy to achieve. They require time, effort, focus and perseverance.

It doesn't matter whether I work for a big MNC, startup or for myself. There are 6 values that are very important to me - excellence, accountability, continuous learning, punctuality, humility and simplicity. I want my work to be a true reflection of these key values.

Ambition is not about the outcome but it's about the journey or process - the decisions you make, the impact you create, the values you stand for, the legacy you leave behind and the people you inspire along the way with your little actions.

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