What is ambition, if not the drive to achieve? My British clients often judge naked ambition negatively. It’s fine to reach the top of the social or professional ladder in the UK, just so long as no one sees you climbing. In the USA being ambitious has no negative connotations. Yet there is a difference between striving to be the best (which one could argue is the definition of being competitive) and trying to do your personal best.
Being the best is all about winning argument, exceeding other people’s standards and expectations, out-performing your peers and innovating for the sake of getting ahead. Ultimately it’s about striving to be more successful than others.
Doing your best is all about being successful on your own terms. It’s much more about beating your own personal bests, pushing yourself to master new skills, doing the very best at what you do and relying on your own drive to improve your performance.
It’s worth noting that corporations on both sides of the Atlantic tend to avoid hiring people with a competitive streak. That’s because being competitive is all about putting yourself first.
Whenever you’re next in doubt about whether you’re being competitive or simply ambitious, ask yourself this: “Is this about being the best or is it about me doing my best?”
Remy Blumenfeld is a creative life coach living in London. He empowers leaders to play the game of life with purpose, grace and ease. Before training as coach, he launched a TV Production company which created dozens of ground breaking, TV shows.