How To Keep Increasing Your Entrepreneurial Ambition

Dan Sullivan
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Since I started coaching entrepreneurs in 1974, I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurial ambition — even more so as the years go on. The moment you say the word “ambition,” everyone understands what it is because what people imagine in their minds is the future. And what they see, in most cases, is a future that’s bigger and better than their present.

As you’re reading this, my guess is that you’re going to be thinking about your own future and the things that you want to be better in your life. Simplified, that’s what ambition is all about.

A unique opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are a unique category among all other people on the planet in the sense that they have the potential freedom to constantly increase their ambition throughout their lives.

I say “potentially” because not all entrepreneurs do this. I’ve noticed that there are three different types of entrepreneurs in terms of ambition:

Survival entrepreneur. The ambition of this type of entrepreneur is to never work for someone else. So, yes, they do become entrepreneurs, but they really don’t have a business. What they have is a job where they’re the employer. The extent of their ambition is to make a living that’s equal to what someone else might make working for someone else.

Lifestyle entrepreneur. A more interesting individual who, when they’re very young, develops a sense of a particular lifestyle they’d like to achieve in their lives. This is usually based on external factors and has a lot to do with the dream house they’re going to have, the neighborhood they’re going to live in, how their house is decorated, and how it’s landscaped. It’s about who they’re hanging out with, what kinds of clubs they belong to, the places they travel to, the cars they drive, and the clothes they wear.

This type of entrepreneur can be extraordinarily ambitious as long as they’re still working toward achieving their lifestyle vision, but once they have, they don’t grow any further. They’ve achieved their ambition. They’ll maintain their company as long as that company will maintain their lifestyle, but they have no vision beyond this.

Ambition entrepreneur. This entrepreneur has developed an ability to continually increase their personal ambition as they progress from one level to a higher level of success throughout life. They’re always increasing their commitment to what they’re doing in the world as an entrepreneur, developing greater and greater courage for making significant changes through this commitment, and gaining new and beneficial capabilities, personally and in their business.

As a result of this, their confidence and the confidence of their entrepreneurial company rises, and the never-ending growth cycle of deeper commitment, greater courage, more powerful capabilities, and then greater confidence is repeated. The growth this type of entrepreneur experiences is exponential.

Three different types of entrepreneurs in terms of ambition: ambition entrepreneur, lifestyle entrepreneur, and survival entrepreneur.

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A rare entrepreneur.

I estimate that for every 400 entrepreneurs in the world, one of them will become an ambition entrepreneur who will continually create entirely new kinds of products and services, new approaches, new ideas, and new strategies, which will then be utilized by the other 399 entrepreneurs for the rest of their careers.

If you’re an ambition entrepreneur, the best way to keep that mindset and momentum going is to surround yourself with other like-minded entrepreneurs. At Strategic Coach, we’ve developed the community of peers, the structure, and the process that can provide you with that. Everything we’ve created over the past 25 years — and me, personally, over the past 40 years — is all geared to giving you the thinking tools and the support to continually increase your ambition for the rest of your life.


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