Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How Do I Develop Drive & Ambition?

careertrend article image
Alberto Bogo/iStock/Getty Images

Being ambitious means that you have an innate drive to succeed. You are hardworking and goal-oriented, and willing to do what it takes to achieve your dreams. If you lack ambition, you can turn things around by taking responsibility for your fate, clarifying your goals, making the necessary changes and being honest about your feelings. With effort, you'll develop the drive that leads to career success.

Stop "Shoulding" Yourself

When you’re following the career path your parents set out for you or what other people tell you that you “should” be doing, you may lack the drive to be successful. Instead of following everyone else’s dreams, develop your own. Doing what you think you “should” do often leads to anger, which drains you and eventually can turn to depression. Clarify what you want out of your career, and let go of the expectations of others. You’ll find the drive to fulfill those dreams.

Believe That You Can Change

Procrastination often occurs when you don’t believe you can succeed or when you blame others for your situation. Take responsibility for your predicament with the understanding that only you can change your attitude. Attitude is directly tied to inner beliefs that you may not even realize you’re harboring. Optimism replaces that negative mood and can drive your future success. Think about the success you’ve achieved in the past, and develop gratitude for all that you have. Gratitude makes you want to work to maintain what you have and work harder to build on it.

Build Rewards Into Your Days

Your final destination may be so far out that it seems like it will take forever. To develop and maintain the drive you need to reach your ultimate goal, build in smaller rewards along the way. Set aside a small “reward fund” to buy yourself something special when you achieve goals. For example, if you need motivation to write a proposal, buy yourself a book after you do the research, and dinner out after you’ve completed an outline.

Get Help If You Need It

If your lack of drive and ambition goes on too long, you may become depressed and unable to pull yourself up with inner motivation. Talk to a friend about your situation and you may find that you’re not as far behind as you think you are. Friends also can point out steps that you may not have considered. Talking with others also brings you out of isolation, a state that only fuels negativity. When you know you’re not alone, you can begin the process of getting back your motivation. At the same time, when you talk about your goals with others, they can hold you accountable, providing additional incentive to get going.


Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

Photo Credits

Alberto Bogo/iStock/Getty Images