Be Ambitious Without Being Annoying

It’s rare to see anyone succeed who lacks ambition and motivation.

The art though lies in our ability to be ambitious AND not annoy those we work and hang out with.

A senior banking executive once confessed to me that he was so annoyed with young bright things jumping out from behind the cupboard and saying “Look, I just tied my shoe laces”. He meant everything they did was reported up. Proving their worth for the next promotion.

So what is the right way to have continued ambition without being annoying?

Let me ask you some questions and see if you can come up with your own responses.

Mindset and Attitude

  • Are you focused on just YOUR achievements or the collective achievements of your team and organisation?
  • Are you humble* and low ego when talking about the work you do?
  • How do you promote others in your team?


  • Are you actively showing you are open to other’s views?
  • Are you transparent about making mistakes and learning from them?
  • Are you clear and concise and use measurement-based concepts when speaking about your work?
  • Are you championing others, mentoring, coaching and sharing insights?

The ancient philosophers would tell stories of the cocky young person who had to be brought down to size by the sage wise mentor ….. it’s a familiar story. You can learn from the mistakes of others and make sure that whilst you are being focused on a positive future, a successful personal future, the steps you take are not annoying others and impacting the very success you crave.

*Humility doesn’t mean low aspirations or lack of ambition. To be humble means to be free from arrogance. To consider yourself of modest importance in the grand scheme of life.

And remember, whatever you do, make good choices.