Ambition vs. obsession, and the line between

13 11 2015

“The line between ambition and obsession can be much thinner than one might imagine.  You would be well served to look down and see exactly where you are standing.” ~ Tom Skerritt (acting in “At Middleton”)

The quote was from a pretty good movie, and it struck me enough to rewind a few times and capture it (and then wait for a comic that I could VERY loosely tie to it).  The actress being scolded was so into pushing for her own success that she not only insulted the person she was asking for help, but she also pretty much guaranteed she wouldn’t get the internship that she wanted.

When asking for something in your professional life (or when being asked), it’s good to understand how far one can push before a firm NO has to be accepted.  When I took a job earlier in my career, I told the CEO who was recruiting me that I needed to know that I could push-back.  I told him he wasn’t going to get a yes-man.  He told me that I would be welcome to make my pitch, and he’d say yes or no.  He said I could think about a rebuttal, and bring him some push-back, which he would listen to, and say yes or no (and here’s why not). He said the third time, I could bring him more data and argue it again, but if he said no at that timee, then that was it – he’s the boss.  We shook on it, and I took the job… and I was never obsessed enough to push it to the third try (I almost always had him convinced by #2).  🙂

Speaking of the line (in the middle of the table, and middle age)…

middle line

Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com

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