Obtain the Ultimate Success – Is it Ambition or Aspiration?

2 min read

Obtain the Ultimate Success – Is it Ambition or Aspiration?


As we embark on this new year with new challenges in a rapidly changing world, many of us are reflecting on our personal purpose and what’s deeply important to us.

What if our happiness and therein, our success, lies not in the outer world of prestige, fame, and power but in the inner world of meaning, impact, and fulfillment?

I’ve noticed that people tend to think of inner happiness as being at odds with financial success.   I don’t think that this is necessarily true and unravelling that may lie in the analysis between ambition and aspiration.

In the Merriam Webster dictionary, ambition is defined as an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power.   Aspiration is defined as a strong desire to achieve something high or great.    The differences are subtle but significant.

In a recent Forbes article written by Andrea Vanacker, she poses that ambition is an outer drive that makes us competitive and focussed on winning.  This causes us to compare ourselves to others, judge the world around us and be more critical of ourselves and others.    She compares that to aspiration, which is more of an inner motivation or inspiration.

As I read this article, I reflected on the many agents that I have worked with over the years that have obtained high levels of success.  I consider success in real estate as having an abundance of freedom and this comes from financial security, inner happiness, meaningful relationships, and community impact.  In each case that I considered; these highly successful agents are more aspirational than ambitious.

We have a strong bias to think that people who are aspirational make less money. I don’t think this is true.

Many of these agents are making 7-digit incomes.   In fact, I believe that the route to financial success is  faster and more likely from an aspirational mindset.

But allowing our aspirational selves to surface can be a scary prospect.   We need to embrace challenges in a more compassionate way, we need to bring more authenticity to our relationships and we need to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable.  Interestingly, these are the same characteristic that are attached to higher levels of learning.   A convenient skill in these changing times.

There are certainly many agents who are highly ambitious and make lots of money but people who reach financial success through ambition, the outer world drive of recognition, tend to be much more vocal about their success since it defines their identity.   This skews our perspective on what it takes to be successful.

Look around.  There are thousands of agents living incredibly successful lives, quietly finding inner happiness – especially in these trying times.