“Being ambitious is like being thin. It’s nice to have in your youth — but hold on to it into middle-age and you’re going to end up with a sour little face. Let yourself go — it’s later than you think” (Julie Burchill)
“Ambition makes you look pretty ugly” (Radiohead)
We talk a lot about ambition.
We write a lot about ambition.
We look for it in our children, colleagues, leaders and friends.
We want to work for businesses that show it.
We sometimes confuse it with aspiration.
Politicians and business leaders talk about it a lot.
Coaches, commentators and career advisors also talk about it a lot.
But there’s a big difference between Having Ambition and Being Ambitious.
The first is about talk and the second is about action.
So next time you hear someone speak of ‘ambition’ look at what they do not what they say. Do they live it or talk about it? Do they aspire to it or achieve it?
Do they mean it?