The Art of Balancing Ambition and Success

Recently, I was having a discussion with a close friend who was mildly discouraged by his current situation at the company he was interning with. We then went through his reasons and something seemed off. He was discouraged because while he was a major part of the team and thriving in his role (and being recognized for it), he thought he would’ve had a better idea on if he would be hired upon graduation or not.

Don’t let your long-term goals hold you back.

I had to explain to him that he was becoming a victim of his own ambition. Just because he wasn’t having conversations about being hired full-time yet, did not mean he was not in “good standing” with the company. In fact, he was in great standing with the company; he just wanted more, despite the fact that’s just how the processes worked.

He wasn’t being selfish–he just saw that he had accomplished his first set of goals and was discouraged by the fact he couldn’t blow by them to bigger and better things. For someone who has been in the same position in the past, I could easily relate to this.

You’re not the only one.

When I was running Kratz PR, we had 10 clients at one time. Rather than trying to focus on excelling with those clients or appreciating what I had done so quickly, I started to plot how I would manage 15 clients. In the end, I didn’t do a great job with those current clients because I wasn’t able to recognize what was in front of me.

Applying this concept to your professional life.

Ambition and Success is a balancing act. While complacency should be removed from your vocabulary, your ambition should not get you discouraged because you want more–rather, it should fuel you to capitalize on your current situation so you can continue to move forward when the opportunity is there.

For the young professional or student, ambition is both a blessing and a curse. While ambition can keep you ahead of the game and moving forward, it can also keep you from realizing the important steps or accomplishments along the way. If you find the balance I have been talking about, you won’t be seen as a loose cannon or a train that could derail (trust me, being too ambitious does not win you points with experienced professionals). Rather, that balance will allow you to come off as enthusiastic, forward-thinking, and a leader in your field of expertise.

Ambition can force you to move too quickly or into situations you weren’t prepared for and that is why management is so important. Trust me, your ambition will break down barriers for years to come, you just have to realize when it’s time to push through.



Harrison is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new Online MBA program at the University of North Carolina and sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. As evidenced through his previous projects, Harrison has a passion for all things social media, philanthropy, and finding new ways for students to understand the power of a brand. Before moving to New York and while still a student at Temple University, Harrison founded the PR/Social Media consulting firm, Kratz PR as well as Engage TV and the #PRStudCast podcast.  Feel free to connect with him to discuss community, social good, branding, or the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter, @KratzPR or Linkedin

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