How do you become highly successful—while living a fulfilling life and growing as a person?
Most ambitious people struggle in at least one of these areas, yet they feel they don’t have the tools to improve their situation. Return on Ambition is the culmination of an ambitious effort to harness insights from recent research in psychology and neuroscience to help people pursue their ambitions more fruitfully. The result is a radical and holistic approach to achievement, growth, and well-being that includes:
• The Return on Ambition Self-Assessment: instructive, clear measures of how well you are currently doing in getting the return you aspire to
• The Trinity of Achievement, Growth, and Well-Being: research and wisdom that show that compromises in any of these three elements will cause declines in the others over time
• The 7 Frenemies: descriptions of personal attributes that are your core strengths as an ambitious person, but that can also be the biggest obstacles to your success and fulfillment in life
• The Return on Ambition Toolbox: 4 tools that will help you articulate and pursue your ambition, expand your self-awareness, and help you learn consciously
• 4 Self-Coaching Sessions: instructions for 30–60-minute contemplations inspired by thought-provoking questions
Nielsen and Tillisch have tried-and-tested experience inside the world of grand ambitions. This means that readers will find not only concepts brought to life with rich interviews and stories, but also two authors who inherently understand their audience.
Nicolai Chen Nielsen is an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, where he advises clients on leadership development, culture change, and agile transformations. He is the co-author of Leadership at Scale and has published several articles on personal development. He is currently based in New York with his wife, Samira, and their two dogs, Napoleon and Caesar.
Nicolai Tillisch works with Cultivating Leadership, the global coaching firm, and is a co-founder of Deliberate Development, the venture behind the StepUpYourDay software solution. He has been a consultant with McKinsey & Company and was an executive with DDB Worldwide, Hutchison, and Nokia Siemens Networks. Nicolai lives with his wife Ida and their children, Margaux and Axel, in Denmark.
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About the Author
NICOLAI CHEN NIELSEN is an associate partner at McKinsey & Company,where he advises clients on leadership development, culture change, and agile transformations. He is the co-author of the book Leadership at Scale and has published several articles on personal development. Nicolai is furthermore an Advisory Board Member for the Supertrends Institute and an Alumni of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community. Nicolai is passionate about personal development and the lifelong journey towards enlightenment. He is fascinated by the universal truths found in ancient wisdom traditions and seeks to understand them in order to live a more loving and peaceful life. He is currently based in New York with his wife Samira and their two dogs Napoleon and Caesar.
NICOLAI TILLISCH works with ambitious people to help them utilize their potential and make a greater difference. He combines deep insight into human beings with a wide understanding of professional work environments. He is associated with Cultivating Leadership, a global firm specializing in adult development and complexity. Furthermore, he is a co-founder of Deliberate Development, which developed and offers the StepUpYourDay software platform. Nicolai began his professional career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and has since worked as an executive at DDB Worldwide, Hutchison, and Nokia Siemens Networks. He currently lives with his wife, Ida, and their children, Margaux and Axel, in Copenhagen, after previously residing in Dubai, London, and Stockholm.
Table of Contents
Introduction-Bang for Your Buck 1
Part 1 What is Your Return on Ambition? 7
1 The Core Concept 9
2 Denning the Premises of Your Ambition 19
3 Measuring Your Return 27
Part 2 What Gets in the Way of Your Return on Ambition? 47
4 The 7 Frenemies 49
5 Frenemy 1-Convention 57
6 Frenemy 2-Boldness 71
7 Frenemy 3-Independence 83
8 Frenemy 4-Competitiveness 97
9 Frenemy 5-Perseverance 109
10 Frenemy 6-Desire 121
11 Frenemy 7-Flexibility 131
Part 3 How Do You Increase Your Return on Ambition? 143
12 The Return on Ambition Toolbox 145
13 Tool 1-Philosophy of Ambition 153
14 Tool 2-Immediate Priority 169
15 Tool 3-Weekly Deliberation 197
16 Tool 4-Frenemy Radar 221
17 The Toolbox in Action 245
Conclusion-The Journey Ahead 251
About the Authors 289