I have heard many times from colleagues and friends that "life's just about enough". I've never truly believed in this. Everyone feels special. Everyone is special. And very likely everyone wants to continue special.
And so in my view there's not one person who is not ambitious, it just happens that there are many kinds of ambition. Some want to be artists, other politicians, some want to be great lovers, others rock stars.
Some want to build something for the world. Yet it's hard to start at the top. Many get impatient at their stepping-stone jobs. They want to be at the top from the start. They want to be the boss. Fast.
Well, it's easier than you may think. All you need is to start by being your own boss.
How to achieve this even when you're not in fact a boss?
- A boss has objectives. Ask your manager for yours, challenge them and push yourself. Always make yourselve chase goals that make you uncomfortable. Start by your own personal goals, like how soon you want to wake up everyday. Try to wake up very early. You'll never be a great leader until you can control yourself, so start there.
- A boss has a budget. Managing money is essential. Talk to your manager and ask for yours. How much money can you spend on your function? If it's not money, how many hours? How many people can you manage? How much stock can you spend for your purposes? How much revenue is expected of you? Or what part of the revenue target is attributable to you? Operate your day like it was a profit center, managing revenue and cost. Good value is always expected from investing in you and your tools, the more you make this evident, the stronger you will push and the faster you will see recognition.
- A boss closes the loop. Customers behave in a cycle, you can't just acquire and sit still; chase them and learn from them. Don't consider a few competitors, track and learn from all substitutes. Don't be narrow minded, your metrics should cover performance all the way up to outcomes. Don't create to-dos of things you won't follow through. Study the past, act on the present and look out for what's coming. In other words, simplify but never forget the whole picture. Be MECE. Close the loop.
If your plan is to one day be a leader, you have to avoid at all costs being isolated. If you are not on top of all aspects of your trade - directly or indirectly thinking about strategic, organizational and operational - someone else will have to be. And you'll miss out on the opportunity to grow.
Improve on all areas. The most important thing is to not give yourself some slack. Act like your area is your own mini-company. Be ambitious like it's your life. Spend like it's your money and time. Don't miss out on detail.
Be your own boss.