Danny Rehr
5 supporters
Scaling-Up Personal Ambition

Scaling-Up Personal Ambition

May 23, 2022

We think of our purpose as a target to shoot for. That's only half right. In fact purpose is BOTH the projectile and target, together. For individuals, purpose starts with personal ambition. The way to see purpose through to one's goal, one can scale-up. Let's explore what all of this means.

Personal Ambition

def. Personal Ambition
the total mix of one's personality, character, motivation and aspirations.

Just as a business has a basis for existence (mission, vision, values, etc.), so, too, do people. Shortly after my MBA program, I endeavored to understand personal ambition, or what I found to be the total mix of one's personality, character, motivation and aspirations.

Think about it. Can you stop being who you are? Tough ask, right?

So personal ambition is actually one's personal strategy for achieving one's basis for existence - doing things that satisfy one's personality, character, motivation and aspirations.


def. Scaling-Up (i.e. the scale-up of you)
the ability to recognize your current resources and opportunities, and then pair them with potentially new resources and opportunities through creativity, new possibilities and strategic fit. Your end result would be growth, improvement, newness, support of others, and so on.

Again, every business has a basis for existence (mission, vision, values, etc.) set forth by its strategy. Such an arrangement leads to provisions of value. That's great for businesses, but how can individuals generate strategy that leads to purpose and career enhancement?

Find one's personal ambition and scale-up.

Scaling-up is a really cheap, creative and demonstrative way to move oneself forward. My definition is above, but I've adapted the following definition of scaling-up by Michele-Lee Moore and Frances Westley into the graphic below.

Moving an innovation into a broader system and creating transformation through the linking of opportunities and resources across scales (2011). [1]

*At the intersection of your current resources and opportunities are NEW resources and NEW opportunities. Use imagination and creativity to figure what those new resources and new opportunities might or could be.

How To Scale-Up

Use your resources and opportunities to generate NEW resources and NEW opportunities. What do you have (resources), and what can you make of it (opportunity)?

A few quick examples:

  • In poker, one replaces cards (resource) to gain a stronger hand (opportunity).

  • A person might exercise more (opportunity) in order to gain strength, endurance or to look and feel better (resource).

  • Say you work on the floor in manufacturing (resource) and you want to pursue a career in data analytics (opportunity). Speak with your manager (opportunity) about using your lunch hour in the morning or afternoon to shadow the business analysts (resource).

  • Meetup.com (resource) is a great way to establish a group (opportunity) and market it to others who may have interest.

The theme in every example above is simply taking action.

There are no rules here. Just have fun. That's a pro tip: if the action or activity doesn't feel right to you, then it may not fit your personal strategy.

No one can create rules for you, personally, because you are unique. It's up to you. Take action. That's why comprehending personal ambition is actually your personal strategy, your purpose. And like a business, your purpose is unique to you.

I Scale-Up, Too!

I am Danny Rehr, MBA. My purpose is to support the ambitions of others to meet promise and potential. Some of my scale-up methods are

  • Blogging (opportunity) to explore fundamental business concepts (resources) both practically and anecdotally with the intention to make sense of what happens in the workplace and improve others' careers.

  • Share my MBA (resource) as a way to creating value (opportunities) for my employer (resource) and its employees (resources).

  • Keep a personal work journal (resource) to conscientiously think through what I experience and observe at work (opportunity) and share (opportunities) with colleagues.

  • Subscribe and read (opportunities) newsletters and blogs from other thought leaders (resources) to learn and sustain diverse sources of inspiration.


[1] Moore, M., and F. Westley. 2011. Surmountable chasms: networks and social innovation for resilient systems. Ecology and Society 16(1): 5. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss1/art5/

Enjoy this post?

Buy Danny Rehr a coffee

More from Danny Rehr