To become a great leader, face your internal enemies. Consider your ambition, and all the fallout you create in your life as a result of buying into ambition. To lead is riddled with temptation, and there are many opportunities for ambition to take over more and more of your energy.
Ambition is very subtle and can enslave your spirit for many years before you even realize it. In my life, ambition manifested in wanting to create a great tango school and turn it into a franchise-able undertaking. I told myself I could get away with only 5 hours of sleep, run errands and do complex work all day for years without stopping.
I also wanted to be better than other leaders in the dance of tango. I'd dance that particular step or set of steps because I noticed a person watching who's approval I was craving for. I'd stay up late at night dancing till the morning in order to be able to say I was the last one dancing and be among other people I admired.
What are the signs of ambition?
- Exhaustion. Our bodies are exhausted systematically, slowly getting eroded and tired out.
- Complaining. Losing touch with others; judging the others and ourselves; complaining - silently inside, or to whomever wants to listen.
- Overriding what you need in order to fit in. Needing to fit in with a particular type of people, and doing many things to achieve that.
- Doing things to get attention. Things we do in hopes of getting recognition, building our image or impressing someone.
- Overriding what you need in order to get what you think you want. Any kind of wanting a particular type of experience, body, journey in life.
Ambition is so tempting in its offer to our very hungry egos that it can override compassion, honesty, and our own intuition. And due to its powerful lure, we don’t pay attention to our bodies telling us that they had enough. We routinely overrule such messages from our bodies. We most likely dulled that voice by now.
Our bodies like natural rhythms: sleep in darkness at night, eat nourishing things, think, feel, talk and act in connecting and empathic ways. Our ambition usually overrides our body’s messages to us, but we can do better. We can be more honest with ourselves. And others - our partners and friends.
Ambition is antithetical to tango and tango undertakings. Tango will evade your spirit and your body when there is ambition. You will experience a washed-down mock kind of tango facade. If you dance or create community with the ambition to “be the best, better than others” and if you draw a sense of superiority from that - you are caught in the throes of ambition. I believe leaders can reduce their ambition through following.