Why is it that “being ambitious” is complimentary towards men but a critique towards women?  Why is it that women in business shy away from referring to themselves as ambitious to avoid coming off as power-hungry and abrasive?

It’s the million dollar question that boils down to being scared of failure. It’s why women downplay their career goals and achievements and keep the spotlight shining on men.

Columbia University conducted a case study using fictional entrepreneurs,“Heidi” and “Howard”, to prove how two people can have identical levels of success, but when genders are assigned, the woman is faulted for hers. Harvard University backed this up with a similar study involving female politicians using Hillary Clinton as an example. Before running for president her approval rating stood at a solid 69 percent, but as election day drew nearer it dropped to a staggering 40 percent.

With the various movements empowering women’s success today there is an increasing momentum to strip away the nurturing image society has pinned on women. When society thinks of ambitious they’re focusing on internal ambition equating it as being egocentric. To remove the resistance women have with labeling themselves as ambitious, they first need to understand that ambition is comprised of two paths, internal and external. When these two paths merge, the amount of success is amplified creating massive growth throughout businesses and organizations.

Internal ambition is focusing specifically on your own personal development and success. Successful leaders in business foster internal ambition by embracing challenges and using moments of failure as motivation to unabashedly achieve their big-picture vision and goals. For women to embrace their ambitious nature, they need to eliminate the self-sabotage and distance themselves from anyone who doesn’t support them.

External is striving for collective success. It’s helping others achieve their goals and helping implement major transformations in business. Where internal ambitious is purely focused on an individual, external motivation serves both you and your business in a mutually beneficial way. It’s the collaboration of external and internal that helps companies scale successfully while leaders

The American Express Global Women’s Summit hosted highly successful executives to discuss this topic in depth to try to find the reason for this stigma. The reason why still remains unknown today, but one thing everyone on the panel agreed on was how ambition helped them to achieve their level of success today. This is not meant to neglect the “Howards” of the world that struggle with this as well. These techniques can be applied to both genders.

Here are the 4 steps the most successful leaders in business have followed to crush the self-sabotage eliminate the doubters, and achieve the impossible

  1. Dream big without resistance
  2. Eliminate self-sabotage
  3. Get crystal clear on your goals
  4. Use ambition to develop you into a leader

Ambition is defined as the strong desire and determination to achieve big-picture vision and goals. Use these 4 steps combining your internal and external ambition to maximize results in your personal and professional life.

Let’s inspire each other – comment below and share how you’re embracing your ambition to achieve your big picture vision and goals

Join me on social media at twitter.com/heidilynneco and facebook.com/groups/globalBLEND to share your story and connect with like-minded and ambitious leaders in business. Every day we share content relating to HR, leadership, and team building. The mission of the Global B.L.E.N.D. is to connect Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders to Network Digitally. Inside is a tightknit community filled with a diverse group of leaders in business who share industry related tips, tricks, and advice to empower, inspire, and support one another. I hope to see you there!

-Heidi