I was interviewed for Psychologies magazine today on the subject of ambition.
(Incidentally, this was another example of using Twitter to get publicity. I saw a press request on Twitter, tweeted the journalist, then emailed and was accepted as one of the case studies for the article. Cue the interview today and an upcoming photoshoot which will see me in the magazine in the October issue.)
Anyway, the nub of the article is about ambition and what it means to different people. When I was in my twenties, I was desperate to be one of those '30 under 30' mover and shaker types. Those high flying execs who are making a name for themselves at a young age. I was ambitious by conventional standards.
Well I didn't become one of the 30 under 30. I had a great career and some quite big job titles, but I hadn't quite 'made it' by my original ambitious desires. I then set up my own business and again, didn't feel as though I was ambitious enough with it, despite running it successfully, working part time so I could be with my children, winning awards and selling it as a going concern.
And then I set up Campfire Communications. I set those same standards by which I've always measured ambition: the amount of money I make and how well known my business is. (Having happy clients is a given - that goes without saying.)
It's taken me a long time to realise that those monetary measures of ambition and success make me unhappy. It gradually dawned on me that I needed to reframe what success looks like. And here's what it is:
To earn enough money and to have enough free time to do the things I love to do - i.e. go on adventures, explore the world, spend time with my family.
My ambitions have shifted from wanting to be famous / successful because my ego demands it, to wanting to be successful enough to let me live the life I want to live.
My ultimate ambition would be to take on an immense challenge (like walking the entire coastline of England and Wales - or possibly even bigger) and write a book about it or have it turned into a movie. But that book/movie..... that's just ego talking.
Really, by the end of my life, I want to be able to say that I did the things I wanted to do, saw the places I wanted to see, and experienced the highs and lows of physical challenge and mental stretching.
This new ambition drives me to run a successful business, particularly a business that will earn me passive income, freeing up more time to go on these adventures.
Sometimes I still fall victim to old ambitions and the stereotypical view of what success is meant to look like. But all I have to do is put my hiking boots on to be reminded of what success can look like instead.
My point: don't let anyone tell you that you're not ambitious enough with your business goals and dreams. Define what success looks like in your eyes and focus on that.
What are your ambitions? What does success look like to you? Share in the comments below or over on my Facebook page.