Do you ever feel that the common perspective society has on ambition does not speak to you anymore? You are not inspired by the idea of goal attainment at any cost. You do not want to be in work mode 24/7. You know you can do your work well but feel demotivated by the feeling that you constantly have to prove that worth to the bottom line.
You are not alone. According to the World Economic Forum, one in four women currently are considering leaving the corporate world or downsizing their careers. This is happening, not due to lack of ambition, but rather the feeling that their drive and motivation can be applied better elsewhere.
Exhaustion of constantly having to prove your worth
A little while ago, I bumped into my ex-colleague. It was surprising to hear that she quit the company she worked for. She was one of those powerhouse women: high energy, super high performance, great at what she does.
At the end of the day she got fed up with constantly having to re-apply for a new position. The large organization she worked for was going through a number of major re-organizations and she had to reapply for different roles seven times in four years.
She did get all those jobs, but at the end got tired of having to spend more time on proving her worth to the organization, than delivering value to her employees and customers. She did not become less ambitious, she just realized that her ambition is better served elsewhere.
You are also likely to go through different periods of your life where your ambition will be shifting from one thing to another.
When you are just out of university and entering the labour market your whole focus is likely to be on your career. And so it should be. It is such an exciting and gorgeous time of learning, discovering and curiosity.
After a while, it is likely that your life expands as you mature as a person and some of that ambition might be diverted elsewhere.
I remember vividly a remark made by a senior manager about one of his female employees. Her change of ambition after she had children. Curiously, ambition was viewed one dimensionally here – through the amount of time she was willing to put in to work and what time she wanted to leave the office.
Major events in your life, like having a child, is likely to adjust your attitude towards what is important. You can be both: ambitious and putting the needs of others first too.
And you are likely to notice that your ambition will shift again, once you feel that you can put your own needs back in the driving seat.
You climbed the corporate ladder. You delivered results. You got that next position you were aiming for.
You have achieved many of your twenty something goals and now you wonder if this is it. If for the rest of your career you will need to play office politics, deliver someone else’s objectives and do the tasks that you are good at, but not necessarily the ones that get you out of bed energized.
You are suddenly wondering about meaningful impact. How can you not only do the work, but feel that the work you do is contributing towards something bigger and something better?
This is the story we hear from our female clients again and again. The need to contribute towards something meaningful.
In order for us to fully embrace our ambition we need to accept that it will change, evolve and transform over time. What is important to you in your twenties will look different in your thirties and forties.
At Azkua we are on a mission to turn businesses and organisations into a force for good. And we believe that it is professional women who will be at the forefront of this transformation. Purpose driven, caring, grounded and influential women like YOU! See the details of our Gentle Ambition program to see how you can embrace your ambition on your terms.