Don’t Be Afraid To Be An Ambitious Woman

Often, men and women assume different meanings of what it means to be an ambitious person. In a psychology column by Anna Fels for Harvard Business Review, she notes two different descriptions of ambition: The way men describe it and women describe it – both present themselves quite differently. 

What does it mean to be ambitious?

Ambition is the determination and the desire to achieve your goals and succeed. 

Every one of us has a yearning for something. There are some traits that women who successfully utilise their drive and aspiration share:

  • Those women are aware of their strengths and limitations 
  • They do not give up due to failure or setbacks 
  • They know how to maximise their abilities 
  • They do not succumb to patronising tactics or fear moving outside their comfort zones.

Ambition is a necessary element of life and motivates us to get out of bed every morning. Whether it’s as easy as knowing how to tie a shoelace, driving a car, or stitching together the finishing mechanics for your profession as a rocket scientist, there’s always something to learn. 

What are some stereotypically different ways men and women view ambition?

Men tend to view ambition as hard work that leads to credit and recognition. For example, in her article, Fels describes the idea of men working hard because they want to make an impact that reflects positively on themselves. They want to be associated with their hard work and efforts as if there is a bit of egotism tied into their views on ambition. 

In contrast, Fels discovered that most of the women she interviewed about ambition didn’t much care for the term. They viewed ambition as more of a reflection on the person rather than the impact they were trying to make. 

For example, a woman who was working hard toward a goal may say, “I just want to make a difference” or “this group will benefit from this effort I’m making” – in the women’s examples, ambition was more inherently tied to the positive waves it made beyond themselves. 

What does it mean to be an ambitious woman? 

Though Fels noted some distinctive differences in her studies between the ways men and women tend to define ambition, she also noted that there are a few different ways women can display ambition. 

  1. Ambitious women understand and use their resources.

An ambitious woman knows she has good resources available to her. She considers many ways to use them to her advantage and move closer toward her goals. 

  1. Ambitious women are flexible. 

An ambitious woman understands that “Plan A” doesn’t always work, so it’s essential to be flexible and prepared to adapt to surprises. They do not let a failed plan stop their efforts – instead, they tweak their strategies and keep moving forward.

  1. Ambitious women treat themselves well. 

An ambitious woman knows that she is her most precious belonging. She takes good care of her mind, body, and spirit because she knows good self-care is vital if she wants to continue working toward what she wants. 

  1. Ambitious women embrace learning and trying new things. 

An ambitious woman likes to learn and try new things. She understands that moving onward in the world and working toward goals requires her to have an open, curious mind to learn as much as possible. 

  1. Ambitious women know what they want in life. 

An ambitious woman understands precisely what she wants in her life. Because she’s sure about what she wants, she can direct herself toward meeting her most meaningful goals. 

8 Strategies For Being A More Ambitious Woman

If you struggle to be an ambitious woman, consider the following strategies to improve this aspect of yourself:

Practice taking time to carefully consider decisions before committing to them. 

Sometimes you may make quick, snap decisions without taking much time to consider what you’re about to do. 

Taking time to consider all your options carefully and the best one to choose is a great way to become more ambitious. Instead of letting temporary feelings (or even fate) determine the pathway you’re going to take, give yourself a chance to determine the best option. 

Make choices that are directly aligned with your personal goals. 

Whenever you need to make a choice, you have the power to choose the option that will push you closer to a goal. When in doubt, ask yourself, “which of the choices will most benefit my future self”? 

For example, pretend you are debating going to bed on time or staying up late to watch one more episode of your new favourite TV show. Ask yourself which option would most benefit your future self. With this thought in mind, you determine that a full night’s sleep would be more beneficial than watching another TV show episode. 

Take your focus off other people and place it on yourself instead.

In the age of social media, it’s tough not to notice when other people are living the good life. If you spend too much time paying attention to what everyone else is doing, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself caught up in comparisons. 

Practice taking your focus away from other people and placing it on yourself instead. 

Everyone is on their unique journey, and comparing your journey to someone else’s isn’t going to give you an accurate picture of the progress you’re making. 

Take a break from focusing on everyone else to put your attention where it matters most – yourself. 

Give Yourself Permission

Self-permission is a significant attribute to have when it comes to ambition. This is especially true for women, as old stereotypes can interfere with goals – “ambition is only for men,” “women don’t belong in the business world,” “why is she so driven? She should just be a mom.” 

Yes, ladies, we have come a long way, but these beliefs still exist in many parts of the world, and in many ways, it is still a man’s world. For ambition to work for you, you must permit yourself to be ambitious and shut out other people’s and society’s opinions and BS. 

Know Your Strengths

Recognising your talents, skills, and shortcomings is essential as you can utilise both to help you in your efforts. 


Your vision can be a guiding light in whatever goals and endeavours you pursue. Vision typically guides the most successful and those that achieve their objectives successfully.

You may have the ambition to succeed, but how do you define success? Vision gives ambition clarity and focus. 

Learn From Your Mistakes And Setbacks

Why do the most successful people create prototypes or drafts before their masterpieces? To be more successful the following time! 

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