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Navigating the Waters of Ambition and Promotion

by | Oct 6, 2021

One of the wonderful gifts that God has given human beings is the ability to imagine how processes, systems, organizations, and even the world, can be better. Closely connected to that, God also gives us the ability to plot ourselves on a map of where we can contribute to the thriving of these spheres. Most of us not only see the possibilities but want to be part of the solution. Ambition in this sense is not only healthy but necessary.

However, a serious challenge comes when ambition loses sight of comprehensive flourishing and turns inward. We shift our focus and energy to mapping our path, often succumbing to tunnel vision. The journey from ‘where I am’ to ‘where I want to be’ can take center stage, stoke the fires of impatience, and potentially lead us to comparison, negativity, self-doubt, and cynicism.

In this week’s video, Sean Womack shares some great wisdom with us about navigating the waters of ambition and promotion.

Sean compares growing our career to constructing a building. “If you’re going to build a building really high, you need to dig really deep to make a really great foundation. And so, if you get a promotion, just realize, it’s going to stress test everything beneath it.” He encourages us to trust in the hope that God is always at work, teaching us lessons from our former positions, offering us opportunities to grow in wisdom where we currently serve, and preparing us for our next assignment.

But what do we do in the meantime? What is our part? How do we give ourselves completely to the role we have while we discern what position might come next? Sean offered three suggestions and I have added questions to reflect on for each.


Listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Do I have regular times of silence and stillness that allow me to pay attention to how the Holy Spirit is directing me?

Pay attention to what is going on inside me.
How am I stewarding my mind and my body? Am I taking care of myself in a way that tunes me into healthy physical rhythms and facilitates my best thinking?

Find the right people to process this with.
Who lives a wise and grounded life and who also loves me enough to tell me the truth?

We encourage you to tackle each of these suggestions this week.

  1. Start your day with five minutes of complete silence and stillness for the next few days.
  2. Take a 10-minute walk and pay attention to how your body feels and your thoughts fire.
  3. Ask God to help you identify 2-3 friends who are wise that can begin to help you discern major decisions.

Darrel Harvey

Darrel Harvey, Director of the Workmatters Institute, joined the Workmatters team in March of 2019. Before joining the Workmatters team, his vocation had been expressed as a church planter, pastor, mentor, entrepreneur, and as a connector in the Bentonville business community.