Ambition Vs. Greed

leadership mindset
Ambition Vs. Greed - Carolyn Mahboubi Coaching

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When did ambition become a four letter word?

Think of the last time you used the word “ambitious” to describe yourself or another person. Was it in an entirely positive context? Did it sound a little cringy even when it was meant to be a compliment?

Calling someone ambitious carries multiple connotations and if we’re being honest, most of us don’t want to be publicly recognized and lauded as being ambitious.

Ambitious looks like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Hillary Clinton. And Regardless of your view about their politics or business practices, most of us equate their ambition with greed — an ego driven bottomless pit of desire.


I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life and built businesses from the ground up for myself and for others. I have helped some of the most well-known brands in the luxury space increase their reach and profitability. Today, as a Professional Coach I work with relatively fewer people (compared to most other coaches) and I choose my clients very very carefullly.

Unlike most people, I don’t confuse ambition with greed, and when filtering for clients, I am actively looking for personality traits that include a high level of ambition and the existence of little to no greed.



Let me share 5 distinctions between ambition and greed.

  1. Greed wants a bigger slice of the pie — ambition is all about baking a bigger pie.
  2. Greed is outward focused and has something to prove to others — ambition is internally focused and has something to prove to the person themselves.
  3. Greed does not understand the word, “enough” — ambition does.
  4. Greed is rooted in a scarcity mindset — ambition is rooted in an abundance mindset.
  5. Greed wants more — ambition creates more.


I was recently asked about the top 3 personality traits of my clients.

I hesitated because I could not think of the short, easy and Instagram  ready answer.

The truth is that I have clients from ages 17 to 77 and they vary in gender, nationality and every other marker you can imagine.

But whether it’s the high school junior who is mapping out his future, the mother of two who wants to express herself more fully in the world, or the regional president of one of the top brand management companies on the planet, they all share one unmistakable trait.

Every single one of them is unapologetically ambitious.


Don’t be fooled by their jobs, titles, and seeming imperfections. Don’t be distracted by their vulnerabilities and the myriad ways they get in their own way.

There is a fire burning inside each of them! A fire that if stoked masterfully, can help them reach their own meaningful life goals while being a source of endless inspiration to others.

If my definition of ambition resonates with you, first stop apologizing for it.

You are not greedy. You are not too much. You are not extra.

The world needs more of you.


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