(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)
You may know someone who is part of a charitable organization and your sense of them is that they are primarily there to network with others to further their personal success. How does that make you feel about their service to the organization?
When someone is ambitious there s a strong desire for success. Perhaps they aspire to achieve something for themselves or they may be status-seeking. Whatever their contribution, it has a requirement for a personal payoff as a result of their efforts.
When you are serving — someone or some cause or organization — your energy comes from within, from your value system. You find that you enjoy contributing because you are drawn to assist, to aid. You may even feel that you are responding to a calling and are doing good. When you are serving you get paid just by doing it; you need for nothing to come back to you.
Serving versus Ambitious is not an all-or-nothing distinction. You can easily be serving and also be ambitious to achieve something for yourself.
Just know the difference.
Copyright 2003 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.