I used to be in awe of those individuals, who I envisage jump out of bed in the morning, 'go get the day' and work relentlessly to achieve their ambitious goals. However, the older I get I have come to realise that these people don’t actually motivate me but tend to sap my energy. Now I am not saying that enthusiasm is not a great virtue but I have a more balanced view of individuals who I find motivating who are able to balance an ambitious goal with a healthy life balance.
A light bulb moment for me come when I was asked to fulfil the Olympic Team Leader role for London for the sport I was working in. I remember vividly being sat in the room with the great and the good of British Sport giving myself a virtual pat on the back when I started to ask myself 'Did I really want to be these people?'. It was a very strange feeling, I started wondering how many failed marriages might have been in that room, how they have time to see their kids, etc. To work in high performance sport and have the relenting ambition to constantly strive to win gold medals is hard and inevitably you have to give some things up, which in the long term I wasn’t prepared to do. Success for me is being a good husband, dad, friend, whilst having work I feel passionate about but doesn’t consume me.
I still have ambitious goals for my work and life but take a more sensible view on how to achieve them. Here’s what I think you need:
1. Define what does success look like for you?
It is worth asking yourself the question - What are you prepared to give up in order to reach an ambitious goal?
Once answered it might be worth going back to defining success or at the very least the time frame you want to achieve it in.
2. Manage your energy:
On a work front you need to be the energy 'tone' of the team and keep everyone enthused about the stretch goals you may have put in front of them.
3. Set smaller goals as well as 'ambitious goals':
Ambitious Goals tend to be longer term so you need to think about keeping momentum towards them by setting and achieving smaller goals.
4. Framing the Goal:
Spend some time to really develop the Ambitious goal with your teams to develop its language and meaning. It should be that if you asked any of your staff to relay it back to you they can and they believe in it as well.
Would love to hear from others about how you wrestle with ambition and life balance and what other factors do you need to reach ambitious goals?