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The 9 things that make someone ambitious: Do you have them?

It takes a lot of ambition and passion to become a professional swimmer. Image: Getty

When Laynton Allan was in high-school, he made graduation calendars with his friends and sought out work well before he was old enough to legally earn a wage.

Allan is now the co-founder of KidsCo, a start-up which brings child-care into corporate offices, and as he told Yahoo Finance, he’s always had that “entrepreneurial itch” and ambition.

“[My co-founder] Adrian and I both went from working full-time, secure jobs to being our own bosses – making things up and up-skilling and at a speed we didn't know was possible,” he said.

“It was a daunting transition, financially and emotionally. But KidsCo was a dream we were set on seeing through, so while it has certainly been a tricky few years, the payback from the emotional roller-coaster of the journey has been truly priceless.”

He said he and Adrian encouraged each others’ ambitious natures, propelling each other forward at every stage of the tumultuous business development process.

“Ambition has always helped me believe that ‘anything is possible’,” he said.

Inside the KidsCo office. Image: Supplied

“Putting the fear of rejection in the corner and constantly jostling and repositioning to find a different way to achieve the goal has meant we have accomplished all we set out to do.

“It is human nature to fear showing your vulnerability, but for me, by putting yourself out there – even when you can’t control the outcome – is where the rarest of happiness is found.”

An ambitious character

According to new research from CGU, Allan has several of the character traits linked to being ambitious. Ambitious people are:

  • 6x more likely to enjoy the social element of being in business

  • 5x more likely to believe that ambition is linked to happiness

  • 4x more likely to say their ambition is to own their own business

  • 3x more likely to say they are full of energy

  • Almost twice as likely to consider themselves as outgoing

  • Twice as likely to have parents with a job they admire

Additionally, the research found that ambitious Australians are more likely to:

  • Exercise regularly

  • Take on responsibility

  • Think their friends and family are ambitious

Australia’s ‘ambition crisis’

But the CGU research also says Allan is one of few ambitious Australians.

The study, released this week, found that one-in-three Australians believe there is a shortage of ambitious people in Australia, describing it as an “ambition crisis”. And while 75 per cent of Australians believe they are ambitious, only 10 per cent claim to have all the major traits associated with ambition.

“Having ambition and the ability to ‘back yourself’ is a key factor in business success as it ultimately comes down to having courage; the courage to move out of your comfort zone,” leadership coach Sonia McDonald told Yahoo Finance.

“While people might believe they are ambitious, the reality is we can lack the confidence to act in an ambitious way, which will have a detrimental effect on the individual and even Australian economy at large,” she continued.

According to ATO statistics, nearly half a million ABNs were cancelled last year. To CGU Insurance marketing director Sally Kiernan, this is a worrying statistic.

“Every time an ABN number is cancelled, so too is the ambition behind that business

“ We believe that ambition can help people overcome the barriers they face when it comes to achieving their business goals,” Kiernan said.

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