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Why Ambition Can Burn You And Others

“Ambition is funny thing.

You can completely screw yourself with it

if you’re not careful.”

Simon Le Bon

“It’s because I like to win”.

So said the smart, ambitious CEO to me during a private session. He was replying to something I’d said… something along the lines of:

“Why do you need to win every conversation?”

“Who doesn’t like to win?”, I also said, “But the way you’re behaving, you’re setting yourself up to lose in the long term.”


Because this CEO wasn’t letting any of his lieutenants ‘win’ when it came to conversations or opinions. As a result, he had created an echo chamber without realising it, where people only agreed with whatever opinion he had because they were afraid of antagonising their leader.

He was so focused on being the best, that he was actually compromising his ability to achieve his best…(indeed he went on to reveal he was also doing this in his personal life)

Unhealthy ambition is blind, and it is driven by the competitive ego. Healthy ambition on the other hand comes from someone centred in achieving ‘their best’ – hugely competitive also but in a very different way.

They have learned how to harness the forces of ambition so that there is great fire in their belly but the fire doesn’t burn anyone else – especially themselves.

When you’re focused on being ‘the best’ you live in a world of stress, comparison and dis-satisfaction. Being focused on your best brings you into a world of clarity, enjoyment and relaxed focus.

Every day becomes an opportunity to learn and get better.

Where might this be relevant to you this week?


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New Podcast Episode: My latest episode is out today where I share some insights on the value of taking a strategic break. Listen on my website or on all major podcast platforms.

Peak Performance In The 21st Century: How To Be At Your Best In The Age Of Uncertainty.
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