Naked Ambition

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few friends for various catch ups and chatter; Naturally the conversation turned to Florence Finds and I told them how happy I was with the way the blog was growing already even though it’s such early days. On Thursday, I met Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams and once again the conversation turned to the future, hopes, dreams and plans.  As we’re both at a similar crossroads in life we shared concerns and ideas, and after talking to her I came away thinking, how acceptable is it to be ambitious?

It seems to me that ambition isn’t a terribly ‘British’ pursuit. Being ambitious requires a certain degree of tenacity, the ability to constantly push yourself forward, seizing opportunities and indeed making them. As people ask me how Florence Finds is going, my thoughts naturally leap forward to not how, but where it’s going. The answer is, I’m not quite sure.

It seems uncouth to look to be financially sucessful, and certainly to talk about it. I hear people everyday talk about how they ‘love their job’ almost as an excuse for it bringing them financial reward and declarations of ‘I don’t do it for the money!’  It’s all very well to do things because you love them, but when they’re a sideline and detracting from the main source of your income, the thing that is taking your life where you want it to go, then what?

Blogging has opened up such a world of opportunities to me and exposed me to some truly admirable business people, many of them women. Business was never on my radar as featuring in my future but I think the fact that I am naturally quite driven (or so people tell me) means that having gotten involved in it in the past, I’m wondering if it’s somewhere I want to go again. But how much risk is involved in being ambitious? It seems to me the biggest risk is failure, and not just failing, but doing it publicly. If you’re afraid to fail, how can you ever truly commit to putting your heart and soul into a project, honestly and publicly?

Fortunately I’m not much of a one for listening to nay-sayers or doubting myself. In someways my headlong rush towards new opportunities has lead to some sticky situations, but everyone of them can be chalked up to experience and has taught me so many lessons for the future.

Right now I’m treading water, waiting, watching. The passtime that I call my ‘day job’ is actually a profession, a career, a vocation. Yet after years of training I’m letting it tick along on the back burners while I see this chapter of my life close and wait for the first lines of the next one to be written.

Under it all is the naked ambition to want more for my life. I didn’t train this hard to tread water. I didn’t take a leap of faith to break my career’s progression for nothing. I want to move house, have space to invite my friends and family more often, have a Christmas in our home. I want to be tangibly sucessful, not base my worth on twitter followers, percieved influence and false praise.

All this left me thinking, do you consider yourself ambitious? Have you considered your life’s path recently and wondered how to take it in the direction you want? Maybe you’ve already taken a leap. What is it that drives you forward in life?


PS. In case you’re wondering, one of my slightly ahem, smaller, ambitions right now is to sort out the mess that I call my office. The images above come from my Pinterest collection of inspiring office spaces 😉 One step at a time, ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ and all that!

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34 thoughts on “Naked Ambition

  1. Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been struggling with this myself and have found most of the reactions to it amazing, but some have been very painful and hurtful.

    Heart first, I say. It’s the only way to live – it’s OK to want big things and it’s OK to be honest about your successes, we don’t have to live on self-deprecation to appease others.

    I love your honesty, your writing and your courage.


  2. Absolutely, 100% know where you are coming from. I’m also at a point in life where there is not simply a fork in the road but a mangle of paths I could take and I’m finding myself stumped by a mixture of personal living situation, fear and plain old indecision.
    I think you get to a point in life where you have to make certain decisions and if you do decide to do those other things, you know something has got to give.
    I’m getting frustrated at those things I can’t change and scared by those things I can.
    Being a grown up is hard, sometimes it seems life is all about making decisions and living with those consequences. Daunting.

  3. So many people associate being ambitious with being mean and selfish. But ‘ambition’ is NOT a dirty word.

    Real ambition is to strive for something better and something more. It is about pushing yourself to do better and be a better person and to achieve the most you can. It is not about stepping over other people to get there; that’s called ‘being a pompous git’!

    Without ambition, nothing will change or move forward. I for one am ambitious.

    • Nicely put ‘pompous git’ yes I know a few of those and it is such an UGLY quality. But it’s fair to say you naturally gravitate towards those you feel are like you so hopefully you will attract more of the nicely ambitious and less of the ‘gits’.

    • absolutely agree. There’s no need to be a pompous git, but I don’t think any of us would be the dynamic women we are without some degree of ambition. It’s not like being ambitious and being a nice person are mutually exclusive!

  4. I think I would consider myself ambitious but sometimes I struggle to work out how to use that ambition and turn it into reality, rather than just muddling along as I am in the safe zone.

    I greatly admire the drive and ambition of others though and see both as a very positive thing! We all should strive every day to be ambitious!

    p.s. I have promptly repinned your office inspiration – I love it!

  5. And lovely it was to chat with you but far too brief…..Eep, so thrilled our little chat has inspired a whole blog post. I think you know my views on this subject, for me ambition is about having not just one dream but loads (hence the name of my blog) and pushing yourself to pursue those dreams, no matter how crazy they seem or even if they are likely to fail.

    My motto is that we learn more in life from the times we’ve failed than when everything has gone swimmingly.

    As British people and as women we can seem a little more reserved in our outward ambitions, I think we are somehow moulded into thinking ambition is an ugly quality. BUT it doesn’t have to be, it’s all about how you get there that matters. Working with people because they inspire you, treating people with respect and courtesy even if you disagree with their viewpoints and listening more than you talk so you understand them.

    I too want more from my life both the tangible success but also the chance to create something special, to carve out and follow my own path and feed my creative soul. I feel I’m now on the right path to achieving those things, it’s going to be a long hard slog though and is already a million times harder than ‘the day job’ but I feel proud of myself for perhaps the first time in my life and that’s something no job could ever give me.

    On another note tidy desk, tidy mind: It so works, I actually wrote about it. But I regularly fail to keep it up.

    Great post Rebecca.

    Michelle xx

  6. “The passtime that I call my ‘day job’ is actually a profession, a career, a vocation. Yet after years of training I’m letting it tick along on the back burners while I see this chapter of my life close and wait for the first lines of the next one to be written”

    This is so true for me. I’m not in a position to give up my day job yet. One day soon, perhaps, but in the mean time I am not able to give my day job the attention it deserves because my head is full of ideas and plans and dreams of being a full time photographer.

    It’s a shame but the thing with any transitional period is that you have to priorotise. Not eveything in your life can have 100% of your attention or 100% of your passion.

    My life is so much richer since I started my photography journey. The need to do it and the need to do it well is all consuming and that’s how I know I need to make the leap. I will need to make sacrifices along the way but so be it. I will be happier and more fulfilled and that’s what drives me forward.

    Laura x

  7. Very interesting and actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I have had my hand forced slightly to put my career on hold for the sake of my family. After just having had our second {and last!} baby we simply couldnt afford for me to go back to work {sounds ridiculous I know but anyone paying for full time child care will understand!} and so I have given up a job that involved travelling the world, shopping, creating new ranges, designing and being creative..well, on a good day.. there was also a LOT of admin 🙂

    So I am at the moment a full time mum, full time wife, part time blogger.

    And I couldnt be happier.

    I have found great pleasure in the littlest things, seeing my baby change every day {something I missed out on with my first born as I went back to work after 6 months}, having food in the fridge, the washing pile not too high, a fairly tidy house and picking my son up from school. I also love being here when my husband gets home with dinner on and a very settled, calm household ready for us to share a glass of wine and talk about our days. I don’t think we’ve ever been happier.

    Makes me sound very unambitous doesn’t it? But does ambition lie in career success only? I’m not sure. I do love the blogging for the simple reason that it makes me feel like an individual and I guess is a diversion but long term this is me stepping off my ladder for a while for the sake of my familys sanity but I fully intend jumping back on it after a few years.

    ps Love the office images, I’m in the process of decorating ours and have just got to convince husband that an Eames Vitra DSR is the perfect office chair 🙂

  8. I can’t work out if I’m ambitious or not, on the one hand I’ve worked hard to get a PhD and I’m continuing along the (not easy) route of academic research but on the other I’m not sure I’m trying that hard to push to be at the top of my game in my job. I really struggle to balance ambition for my career with ambition for my non-work life. I’m lucky enough that my husband-to-be has the financial side pretty much covered so I am free to choose a job I love doing without worrying about the money (academia isn’t so lucrative or secure) but I think this choice makes it harder to find that motivation to drive me and most of the time I feel pretty aimless. I don’t think the love of the job is enough to make ambition, there has to be something quantitative in there so you can measure your success, this is what I’m lacking at the moment!

  9. This post is great.

    6 months ago I moved up to London for the perfect part time job and the plan was to build my photography alongside it (as it was photography related). Two months later the company had been bought out and I was made redundant. I figured it was a sign and I went full time with my own stuff. I was spending my days there with a notepad next to me for when I thought of things I wanted to photograph, how I was going to market myself and all sorts of other ideas. My heart knew what it wanted to do and wasn’t into anything else.

    To say it’s been a struggle is an understatement – London is expensive and I’ve sacrificed a lot of my social life in favour of editing a shoot or preparing for one. But I’ve loved every single minute of it.

    So to answer your question – I am ambitious. I just never knew it until I found what I truly loved to do.

    I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and everyone I have met starting out – it has to be good because we love it so much, right? Fingers crossed!

  10. Hi Rebecca, just wanted to say how much I have been enjoying your Blog. I love your writing style and so many of your posts I can relate to. You can strive so hard for something and then once you get there, it’s not quite how you imagined, but I think it’s the striving that is the most important part and being true to yourself. Hope it goes from strength to strength!

  11. From an early age, my parents always pushed me. Not in an American Soccer Mom kind of way, but in a positive, encouraging way.

    So, I think ambition was always going to be in me – whether that was wanting to win at sports, do well in school and now, succeed in my career.

    Most people can tell that I’m ambitious, not because I’m forever talking about it, but more because they have seen my career progress. I would say I’m quietly ambitious – I’m very focussed on getting to where I want to be, but not in an over confident, in your face kind of way.

    However. Am I doing what I want to do?

    Sure, I enjoy my job – but is it my passion? No. With my work, its more about pushing myself, getting to where I want to be and reaping those rewards accordingly – that’s where my ambition shows through.

    I would ultimately love to do something with things that I’m passionate about – music, interior design, writing… but I guess I’m a little scared to take a jump into the unknown {I am fully of admiration for people who have taken this leap!}.


  12. So relevant right now! I’m having a major career breakdown which is affecting the rest of my life – decisions on starting a family, my marriage, decisions on moving house etc, possible new job offers etc.

    Essentially it now boils down to the fact that I’ve lost all my ambition and I now do this job, a job I used ot love but now hate, because it (a) pays well, (b) has great benefits (including an almost un-rivalled maternity package) and (c) because I will be the major breadwinner with my next pay rise – if it ever arrives!

    My ambitious self, and my heart, tells me to resign/re-train/move onwards and upwards at a new firm (internal is not an option atm). My head tells me that if I want to be a mother and move in to a family home sometime soon I should stay put.

    I’m stuck in a career rut, I’m taking it out on my other half as he’s doing a job he LOVES for a modest salary and I make up the shortfall in his salary by doing a job I hate and will have to continue to do so after having children to maintain any kind of lifestyle…. (little bit of selfishness there!!)

    Essentially – this situation has sucked out all remnants of the professional ambition that I once had, and was proud to have. I worked hard to get to where I am… or in fact was two years ago. I wish I could find that ambition again and keep up that momentum to keep taking myself to the next level.

    On the flip side, my personal ambitions are slowly but surely being fulfilled -marrying my true love, visiting every continent before I “officially settle down”, buying a family home to do up before filling it with cute chubby babies… maybe my ambitions are slowly moving away from my professional goals and in to my personal life goals and so my job has become a necessity to ensure I can continue to have the life I want outside of my office? In which case should i just put up and shut up about my unhappiness at work?

    As you can tell, i’m feeling very sorry for myself today and this post has really made me think about why!

    In terms of ambition being a “bad thing” – I don’t think it is, and I would say that I was ambitious, but still empathetic toward others. Sometimes ruthlessness is mistaken for ambition and I’ve been on the receiving end of some nasty situations caused by people’s ruthless ambition. Being ambitious is a positive thing in my mind, but screwing over friends, colleagues and contacts is NOT! To be fair, if people won’t help themselves you can’t tiptoe around them, but in my line of work I’ve seen some unsavoury characters and all I can say is “karma’s a b!tch… watch out!”

    My father always told me to be nice on the way up because on the way down you’ll need all the help you can get…

  13. Good afternoon readers!

    Wow, what a response – this has definitely struck a chord hey?

    You’ve all made some fantastic points here.

    Vicky and Victoria, talking about babies and life outside of work… its funny, I’m earning less than I have in a long time right now, in my pursuit of some balance, but I too have never been happier and it is amazing the satisfaction I now get from small tasks like making a winter plant pot or actually having time to try that new recipe, or tidy out my wardrobe! QOL trumps pay!

    I also like that so many of you have brought up the perception that ambition = bitch. I agree, you don’t have to tread on toes/fall out with people/be ruthless to forge a successful path for yourself. More then ever in recent months I have seen how people react based on their previous experiences of how people have treated them. It’s also sad that people often feel threatened by ambition or in trying to be ambitious, feel threatened by other successful people who should act as inspiration to them.

    Laura – it’s interesting coming from this perspective isn’t it? I think for me the key thing is that my day job or profession offers me no less satisfaction than blogging, it’s just so very different. I will never give it up, it’s a privilege to be able to do what I do and keeps me very grounded against some of the creative dramas that are a part of blogging on occasion. But I want both to make my life the experience that most fulfils me. It’s just trying to do that without killing myself in the process and actually having a life!

    Victoria – again you’ve summed it up most for me. I want to travel, have nice things (and I’m not ashamed to say that) and a nice house and I know how to get those things… by taking a full time position in my day job. But if I could do it my way, mix it with blogging? That would be immense 😉

    I once discussed the loving your day job v doing it to pay the bills with a friend (I was asking him if we actually were in the wrong profession if we didn’t want to go back to work on Monday mornings!) and he said really, anyone who wants to go to work more than be at home needs to think about why that is. I think he was right, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your job too or indeed need the fulfilment it offers, but it isn’t your life, and you have to have a life to come home to after work.


  14. This is a great post, Rebecca, and one that’s got me thinking a lot. I want to be successful, to be recognised for what I do and to do it well. Honestly, I want to be up there with the very best. I’m not driven by money, but I want a comfortable life. I also want a balanced life, and that’s what I find hard – balancing that burning ambition with the burning desire to experience the whole of life, to enjoy my children, to bake and learn how to garden, to travel and to decorate and maybe one day even learn to sew… Ambition is easier for men to have, they can be more single-minded and society accepts it, but if women are single-minded then it’s perceived to be at the expense of their family.

  15. Rebecca this strikes a chord with me to!

    I studied at uni for 7 years 4part time. To become the best Art/Graphic Communication teacher I could. My results have been the best in my department since I started. However I get paid way less than I should and way less than others in the college getting worst grades.
    So I know that one day I will leave to pursue something more satisfying I have a couple of things in mind. But I know I need to wait and have kids first as this is defiantly the job in life that I want the most!

    Rebecca please can I ask what your day job is??? As I’m very intrigued!

  16. This really hits the nail on the head Rebecca. I have been thinking a lot recently about how to measure success. And I think w have to try out est and live in the moment, if we are happy then we must be successful. In blog terms I find it impossible to understand when a blog is successful. As ambition drives us forward and we always strive for more.

    I have always been so ambitious, but my health issues got in my way in my teens, which impacted my potential career path. But I couldn’t find a more rewarding and exciting industry/movement to be in.

    I really hope you achieve the success you deserve and I am sure if we work hard enough eventually we can live our dreams. If we don’t then we can find a new path 🙂


  17. Great post lovely lady! I used to be VERY ambitious, not that I’m not now, I just think age has mellowed me a tad, and things like quality of life has become more important to me, and the cliché job satisfaction…

    I was actually feeling really lost about a month ago when I found myself “not working as hard as I used to” ie. I appreciate the occassional couch evenings with hubby instead of upstairs working in my office. I felt like I lost “the drive” and wondered what was wrong with me. But then I just think life is too short and you have a choice of how you spend your time, and this is how I now choose to spend mine, I’ll always be ambitious but now the ambition is not just about getting to the top, it’s about achieving quality of life too.

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog, well done and can’t wait to see where it will go!

    Oh, speaking of tidying office, do it! I did that on Sunday (first time since ummm… ever!) and it’s the best feeling! Plus I kinda like working in it just that little bit more now 😉

  18. Hmm its a tough one – I never thought I was particularly ambitious and compared to those within my career industry I don’t think I am as I would never trample on people to get to the top (its not in my nature) However I know some of my friends and family would say differently and probably would describe me as driven. I work in a particularly competitive industry, one where I have worked hard to stay in and one where you are expected to work all hours for a relatively modest salary for the love of it and I guess I’m still prepared to do that. Although it has its tough days I wouldn’t want to give it all up.

    And then I have my blog – one which i started during a particularly tough phase at work. I still love it and I’m proud of it too. It gives me a new focus outside work and bizarrely its made me more content about my paid job. I’ve had the confidence to go freelance and know there are lots of opportunities even if I decide to continue out of my chosen career path. I guess its just that I put less pressure on myself as I know I have something out of work to focus on and also something else i’m good at.

    I guess like most of you I’m ambitious for my life as a whole. I want to be able to have nice things, go away on holidays etc to have new experiences and I’m also striving for balance. I work to live rather than live to work and want to enjoy my life all the way through – not just in retirement…

    Very thought provoking post Rebecca!
    Rachie xo

  19. Wow- what a brilliant post! This couldn’t have come at a more apt time…I too feel that my job that I used to dedicate my life to now seems like my hobby, or perhaps even more sadly, the millstone around my neck. I always said that when I woke up one morning and dreaded going to work I’d change careers… well, that morning happened about a year ago and I’m still doing it because it’s almost too hard not to! I’m beginning to see that actually my career doesn’t define me, I define me and I’ll still be “me” if and when I change careers. I think now we work later and live for longer, so the days when you had 1 career are long gone and I’m so excited about that!
    Personally I feel that women get looked down upon for being ambitious OR having a total of ambition. If we strive to do well then there’s talk of Margaret Thatcher, ballbreakers and “Steady on, love”, if we dedicate our lives to creating a family home we’re seen as a 1950’s fallback with nothing between the ears. In terms of being ambitious, I’m with Katie in the “quietly ambitious” group. I grew up with my Dad working all the hours he could to establish his business and that work ethic is woven right through me. I guess I am materialistic in the sense that I want the big house, flashy car and things but overall I want the satisfaction that I’m doing something well and bloody loving it. I see the next 18 months as a really turning point for me to work out my path, and it’s pretty scary!
    Best of luck in whatever you do, Rebecca!

  20. I did a job I hated for 11 years, initially because I was on the treadmill of thinking ‘this is what I have to do to get on in life’ and latterly because I was renovating a house & was driven by the ambition to complete that.

    As soon as I was able, I left my job & had been planning to experiment with a few different potential career paths – I have never been able to work out exactly what it is I want to do! – but ended up getting pregnant and am doing voluntary work at the moment instead. This has proved to be really fulfilling and if I could earn money in the future doing what I currently do for free, I would!

    I would say I have an ambition to be happy, and an ambition to find work that is interesting and stimulating, but am thankful to say I never had an ambition to get to the top of a particular career path (especially not the one I was on!) and I am so glad I recognised that before it was too late.

  21. You really have written this post at the right time in my life…I have always thought of myself as ambitious, and have always been told that I am too! (Hopefully not in a bitch way)

    Me and hubby bought our house in a little village in the Midlands. It’s lovely, close to family, and great for our animals and any potential children in the future…however, I hate my job, am studying to be teacher and blogging.

    Recently my hubby’s twin has moved to the centre of Manchester…and now we might move too. I have never lived in a city and LOVE Manchester, and the more time I spend there the more I fall in love…so what to do, change everything, or stick with the current plan of setting up a home and preparing for a family that we both don’t want for a little while yet?

    I think the next few months of our lives are going to full of some difficult decisions. Kind of exciting though!

    (Loving your new venture hun!)

  22. Another great post Rebecca.

    I believe that we all have ambitions – big and small, but those that are more vociferous about what they want to achieve or are more ruthless with their choices in life are given the title ‘Ambitious’.

    Each stage of my life brings with it a different set of ambitions. I spent 5 years studying for a career that I changed 2 years post qualifying. I’m now 9 years into my second career and I still feel that there’s something else in me career wise waiting to emerge. How do you find out what it is though if all of your time is taken up with life already?

    Then of course there’s the ambition and desire to be at home more, be a good wife, spend more time with loved ones, raise a family, and have nice things around me. All of which require time and money.

    If anyone knows the secret, please do share it!

  23. Another incredibly thought-provoking and well timed post (how do you do this? are you spying on my brain?)! 😉

    I’ve always been quite ambitious and have worked very hard to get where I am in my life career-wise. But the longer its gone on and the harder I work to fill the pockets of my superiors, the more ambition I lose. Those in superior positions seem to live, eat, breath and dream about work, happy to spend time away from home and family (why? I don’t know), happy to live their lives travelling between offices up and down the country – in hotel rooms, in their cars, in endless meetings (dear god, all the meetings). And the higher the ladder I climb, the more of my time I end up giving away to them. The work-life balance is skewed and I’m not happy about that. I’m to the point now where a year ago, I wanted desperately to get to the next level – now? I am afraid of a promotion for fear I’ll lose more of my free time. Yes, the money is much better than I’ve ever been on before and my OH and I are finally at the point where we are no longer truly worried about how we’ll be paying the bills. So then is it selfish for me to want something different?

    I love my blog and I love the relationships it’s given to me and I just spoke to my OH this evening about the pipedream of someday owning my own business relating to interiors and design (my passion). He was so lovely and supportive that I’m actually properly considering it. Because if not now, then when?

    So while I figure out this dream of mine, I won’t give up my day job. But at least now there’s a goal ahead of me and that gives me, if nothing else, some hope. There’s really nothing wrong with having ambition when it’s balanced – no one can do this alone and as long as we remember that and show respect to everyone on the journey, then it’s all good. Our mothers fought so that we could have the freedoms we do to make choices in our lives – I’m not about to disrespect that by saying ambition is a bad thing, especially for a woman.

    Its no wonder you are finding success in your blog – it’s really lovely and a new favourite of mine! x

  24. “anyone who wants to go to work more than be at home needs to think about why that is. I think he was right, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your job too or indeed need the fulfilment it offers, but it isn’t your life, and you have to have a life to come home to after work.”

    …or, you realise your life outside work is terrible, really spiralling out of your control, and work is the only place where you’re still in control and feel worthwhile??

    Very envious of those who feel they have stuff to enjoy outside of work. I love my job and feel lucky to do it and at the moment am not sure I’d recognise ‘work-life balance’ if it hit me in the face…Great post as always Rebecca x

  25. Yes Anita – thats very true and I think we all have times where we prefer to be at work, to escape one situation or another, I just hope that no-one lives their whole life that way, and situations come good in the end, for you too 🙂 x

    Thanks so much again to all of those who have left comments. I have as always really enjoyed reading them and the food for thought they have given me too. You’re all wise old owls 😉


  26. Hi Rebecca

    If I read between the lines correctly I assume you are contemplating making the blog into a business, a business you can make money from and if so, I say why not!? You have to. You have created something really special here and I have no doubt its onwards and upwards from here on. So why not make some money out of something you enjoy and love doing and something you have a talent for!

    I spent years in a fast paced job working very long hours which at first I loved but after 8 years I hated it, I’d lost sight of myself, I was completely burnt out and all this came to a head whilst I was planning my wedding (which magnified all the stress). About a month before the wedding I was made redundant which was a blessing in disguise because I had some time to re-coup before the big day. What drove me at the time was definitely material things i.e. buying a house, nice clothes, car etc. The lesson I learned was that if I was not happy or healthy all those things meant nothing….

    Anyway to cut a very long story short, the wedding was fabulous and very soon after me and my husband started our own business which was 1 year old yesterday and going strong, and we love what we do and enjoy it, and want to expand!

    What drives me now is doing something that makes me happy. I still have many ambitions business wise that I want to fulfil but I’ll do them my way and it will be doing something (a business) that rewards me financially, of course, but primarily it will be doing something that makes me smile and gives me that spark and fire in my belly.


  27. I’ve been meaning to make the time to read through all these comments and I’m really pleased I have now done so. Its a topic close to my heart as I’m a careers coach and have worked with many people who have got to a point where they this “is this it?” and “where else can I go”. I know from personal experience (as someone who is ambitious 🙂 ) that its not the most socially acceptable thing to be, but I never want to apologise for who I am or where I want to be.

    Having said that, the idea of a career ladder is certainly one from the past, with many people making sideways moves to retrain, make their outside interests their paid work or just doing something completely different. Ambition doesn’t have to be “upwards”. In the current economic climate my experience suggests that these steps are a little more daunting for many. I would advise having a backup plan, thinking through the various scenario that may play out and then take that step. I heard a great comment about tech start-ups recently that said to be respected in that sector you had to have failed a few times. If failure is a scary word then try to “re-frame” the experience. Call it a pilot, an experiment. Put in place a plan if it doesn’t work out. You can’t look back in 10 years time and wonder “what if” then!

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