am-bi-tion: a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
Each year we reflect on the one that was and the one that is to come while measuring ourselves against our accomplishments, failures, and the goals we set at the top of the year. They're the north star that guides our actions and determines where we invest our time and hard work. Goals are a dime a dozen but the cost to attain them comes at a higher price. As 2017 begins and new set of goals are posted to the fridge, I've been encouraged by a couple people who many would consider ambitious. I've learned from them that ambitions are only attainable if they are truly our own and that they take longer than a year to attain.
After listening to a recent "How I Built This" podcast with Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, it's clear to see the impact of this idea in his life and career. As a mountaineer and blacksmith, Chouinard knew what effect bad gear had on the environment and that the longer his equipment lasted the smaller the footprint he would leave. Out of this came the desire to create his own gear as the products of other brands broke down. The thought of growth for profit never crossed his mind and as his company grew and brought in a lot of profit (3/4 of a billion dollars to be exact) it stayed this way. He's only focused on growth for impact on the environment and sustainability and this has always been his north star. Chouinard's ambitions we're always his own and rarely affected by dollar signs and an IPO. He also looks far beyond the course of a year. Everything he does and the decisions he makes at Patagonia have a 100-years of impact in mind. Companies nowadays come and go and in his mind die trying to hang their hat on profit.
What would it look like for you to focus on your ambitions and what would it take to accomplish them?