The Cost of Ambition

1. Late Nights, Early Mornings2. Lots of Associates, Very Few Friends3. You Will Be Misunderstood4. You Will Be Single, Unless You're Lucky Enough to Find Someone That Understands You5. People Will Want You to Do Well, But

This quote came across my Facebook News Feed this afternoon and really struck a chord with me. Even though I am an optimist, with a generally positive attitude, and I am a guy that tends to plow through life on my way to my dreams with very little talk about “feelings,” and woes, I think about these five points quite often. Why do I think about them a lot? Because they, and the circumstances that spotlight them, show up a lot.

Ambition: a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.

There is something about the word, “ambition,” that turns me off from the start. I think it’s likely from witnessing some stereotypically negative aspects of what can happen when someone is “too ambitious.”  But, if you look at this definition of the word, “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work,” we’re all ambitious to one degree or another. If you’ve got a dream, any dream at all, you’re ambitious. For me, the deciding factor on just how much action you take toward that dream, is desire. How bad do you want it? What are you willing to do to get it? How much work will you do? This is when the herd starts to thin. Consistent, daily action towards your dream is the critical element that is missing from most people’s lives. Denis Waitley said that 98% of the human population will never achieve their dreams and goals. Why is that? For most, it appears, the cost of ambition is just too high. 

Late Nights, Early Mornings

I’ve got a clear picture of where I am going and how I am going to get there. And, just so I never forget, I recite my vision and mission statement at least twice a day. That’s my ‘why’. That’s why I get out of bed at 3:45 in the morning. That’s why I work late too. It’s not always about day-to-day management. My day is centered around activities and routines that are designed to help me BE who I need to BE, in order to BE who I want to BE. When your days look like this, there is sacrifice. You’re going to miss lunch dates, dinner functions, birthday parties, graduations, recitals, cuddle time, dates, and more.

Lots of Associates, Very Few Friends

I have a vast network of absolutely amazing associates, in almost every field imaginable. Then, I picture a round, maze like circle in my mind that starts to hold and manage all my relationships. On the outer circle are associates, vendors, clients, customers, people I meet at parties, etc. Then, as I get closer with people, they start shifting and progressing toward my core, or the inner circle of friendship. When it comes to close friendship though, it’s a very tight circle, made up of very few people. Not only is this part of my personality type, as an introverted, closeted, nerd, but this is kind of how it has to go as a multi-potentialite serial entrepreneur on a mission. Plus, look at the previous topic about the late nights and early mornings. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for socializing. And, when you do socialize, very few people “get” you. I can talk business all day and all night. I LOVE talking shop and dreaming up new ideas. Very few people in a social environment want to do that. And, what’s the fastest way to shut me down? Start talking sports or Kardashians. I want to talk innovation, technology, and lifestyle design.

You Will Be Misunderstood

I used to think it was imperative that people understand where I am coming from and why I do things the way I do. Now, I don’t even worry about it. As ambitious entrepreneurs, we are, and will continue to be, misunderstood, judged, and laughed at. And, along with some of the negative attention, we get the positive attention too. We are admired, envied, and loved by many, as well. The fact is, most people are too afraid to make a move to their dreams, so when you are putting yourself out there, taking a risk and advancing, you’re either going to inspire people or intimidate them. Their fear will either have them attacking you, or their desire to pursue their own dreams will be elevating you (and themselves). I think we live in an exciting time right now, where there is a shift occurring with the masses. More and more people are branching out of the norm and risking it all for their dream life. Lead the charge and be the change!

You Will Be Single, Unless…

First, let me say that I got pretty lucky in this department, and I found a partner that supports the entrepreneurial lifestyle, and all of my crazy, hair-brained ideas. But, that’s not easy to find, and if you do find it, it’s still not easy. The “Hustle” is a roller coaster, both emotionally and financially, and it takes a toll on people and relationships. As entrepreneurs, or as leaders in general, you must have a vision. This vision guides your decisions every day, and sometimes, you’re the only one that can see where you’re going and why. This makes for some pretty interesting friction in a romantic relationship.  When you have so much passion for your vision,  it’s fairly easy to become a bit dictatorial as you bulldoze your way down the road, blazing new paths to success. Shopping for matching towels at Bed, Bad, & Beyond, or having dinner with the in-laws, just don’t seem as important to you as making dreams come true. You’d think your spouse would be just as excited as you are that you’re working so hard to make a grand life happen, even for them. It doesn’t always work that way, and it’s important to remember that it’s YOU they’re in love with and want to spend time with. Not your business. An intimate relationship is a delicate balance with your dreams. When in sync (whatever that is for you), it’s a powerful force and inspiration for good things.  When it’s not, it’s as equally a powerful distraction.

People Will Want You to Do Well, But Never Better Than Them

If I hadn’t actually experienced this multiple times in my life, I would have completely disagreed with it. I tend to think people are more good, than bad. And, while I’ve had some pretty horrific experiences with business partners and collaborators, MOST people have been extremely supportive in my endeavors. Here’s what you run into a lot. You’ll be excited about a new venture, and you’ll be hustling every day towards its success. While the struggle is real, you’ll get lots of support and a cheer squad. People like to help and encourage…until you “make it.” Then, things shift.  In the eyes of many, you’ll be re-categorized as a threat or a challenge-either to their ego, their way of life, or their mind paradigm. Success can bring out the best in people, and the worst, both for those doing it, and those witnessing it.  At their worst, these people are the “haters” that actively work against you, either to your face or behind the scenes, sabotaging all you’re working towards. More common than that though, are the passive “haters.” These are people who are envious, and jealous to the point of anger, and they just start distancing themselves from you. Invites stop coming. Phone calls and text messages don’t get returned. They don’t show up to your events, and they certainly don’t participate or support your endeavor.

This is part of human nature, There’s no judgement on it, AND there’s also no excuse for it. It’s hard to work on ourselves, to evolve past jealousy and anger, and sit in a constant state of abundance. A state where there is plenty of success for everybody. It’s hard work, and it’s part of the cost of ambition. You’ll learn about yourself and see things you absolutely despise. And then, you change it. The opportunity to change our minds, and our attitudes about how we show up in this world, and how we support one another, is available to every single one of us. The cost of ambitiously pursuing our dreams is enormous. The cost of NOT taking on that pursuit is exponentially more, and the unfortunate reality is, most people won’t realize the regret of this decision until it’s too late.


One Response to “The Cost of Ambition”

  1. Interesting. I can relate to the second one the most.But the lines blur a little bit. My associates sometimes become my friends. I haven’t experienced the last one, and that would be awful. Most of the people in my life are supportive. So far (knock on wood), there have been few haters.

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