Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

The Difference Between Positive Ambition & Negative Drive

Ambition is a powerful word, that sparks a reaction in all of us as soon as we hear it.

It is either a positive reaction that motivates us to work harder & chase after our goals, or a negative one that probably reminds us of hurtful events in the past where ambition was involved.

Ambition is based on the belief that there are more positive things in the future that we haven’t discovered yet.

(Image credit @jshnaaa)

(Image credit @jshnaaa)

True ambition requires deep courage. To put yourself and your ideas out into the world, in the hope of what you are working hard for will be well received by the world.

Studies show that ambition is linked to growth and progress; which are linked to positive self esteem and well being.  It has found to be an important predictor of positive life outcomes including wages, work and life satisfaction.

A key component of self esteem is contribution. Having a job and work we love gives us all a reason to get out of bed in the morning. As much as during times of pressure we dream about escaping to a beach with no responsibilities, the reality of this would be soul destroying.

We are designed to contribute who we are to the world. 

Ambition motivates us to live out our purpose and engage in meaningful work that helps others. It only becomes negative with HOW it is outworked.



1. When it’s more about your ego than the meaningful work that helps others: all of us have some ego involved in what we do, but when your primary drive is all about yourself it has negative consequences for yourself and others.

2. When it’s more about your insecurity than contributing to others: people who are primarily driven by insecurity – trying to prove something through their work & achievements – move into negative ambition very quickly.

3. When the way you are outworking your meaningful work is hurting your health: you can feel very confident that what you are doing is primarily driven by helping others, but you engage in it in a way that significantly sacrifices your health.

You will not notice these sacrifices in the short term, only in the long term when it will take much effort to get back on track.

Are you taking care of yourself and your health in the process?

4. When the way you are outworking your meaningful work is hurting your loved ones: many people don’t notice they’re making this mistake until it is too late. Relationships require consistent investment to grow. If you are constantly putting your work before the needs of your loved ones, you will one day find yourself “successful” but lonely and regretful.

You need to redefine what your definition of success is. Nothing is worth sacrificing the relationships with your loved ones.

Listen closely to what your partner, children, family and friends are saying to you. Don’t be defensive and decide that ‘they just need to get over it because what you are working on is important and meaningful’.

Their needs are important also – you are building a life together.


Ambition is a gift when used and managed in the right way. It causes us to reach higher, strive for more progress and see change in other people’s worlds.

When are driven by helping others, and do our work in a way that takes care of our health and family, ambition is a gift.


Now I’d love to hear from you – how have you positively managed your ambitions?


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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.