Ambition is like a loaded gun. It’s a powerful weapon that if not trained to be used correctly can injure the shooter and or anyone within range. The word “ambitious” seems universally to connote a positive personality trait. I’m not sure how that “ambition” term became universally assumed to be a good thing. You know what they say about the word “assume”!

Dictionary.Com defines Ambition as: An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.

If you read the definition carefully, you will notice it fails to mention anything beyond desire and willingness. There is a whole lotta nadda being said therein.

What is the ambitious persons’ intention for the accomplishment of their achievement? Is it intended to do good and benefit others or hurt certain groups or solely benefit themselves? For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to assert that readers here have pure and good intentions behind their ambitious goals. Now, having said that, desire and willingness are still not enough. And, even adding taking relentless action, it still is not enough. As a matter of fact, if you are taking relentless massive action on your ambitious goals, you may be running the risk of driving yourself to failure instead of to success.

Here are the Top Twelve Tools to Ensure Your Ambition is Driving You to Success Rather than Failure:

1. KNOW YOUR CORE VALUE. You must have a core value that becomes the basis for driving all your thoughts, words, actions and decisions. Examples: Honesty, integrity, loyalty, dependable, god directed, respect, etc.

2. HAVE A CLEAR AND CONCISE MASTER GOAL. A master goal isn’t something that you choose, it chooses you. It’s that one unrelenting goal that you cannot get out of your mind or quit going after even if you tried. For Gandhi, it was freeing the people of India.

3. DEVELOP HIGH LEVEL OF TOLERANCE. Judgementalism and quick to trigger temperament will cost far more than the expense of the thing in which you are striving to achieve. Long term success is achieved by those who know how to control their emotions and deal with frustrations rationally.

4. ADOPT A HABIT OF SEEING POSITIVE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. There is a seed of positive benefit in every situation. Seek to see it and seize it.

5. TRAIN YOURSELF TO FOCUS. Focus only on what you need to do each day to meet your responsibilities and achieve your master goal. Eliminate all non-essentials.

6. MINIMIZE NEGATIVITY IN ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE. Get honest with yourself about the people, habits and behaviors that erode the quality of your time, energy, focus and life. Be brave and let them go.

7. LEARN EFFECTIVE COPING SKILLS AND STRATEGIES. Have a go-to decompress habit that works for you. Examples: Pray, meditate, exercise.

8. BECOME AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR. Yes, we live in a time of “remote” everything. It is not an effective all around strategy. If you fear talking to or meeting directly with the people you need to advance yourself, just do it or learn how to do it.

9. UNDERSTAND AMBITION DOES NOT REQUIRE AGGRESSION. Aggression is the antithesis of success. A pleasing personality is known to be a key to success. Be assertive not aggressive.

10. HONOR YOUR COMMITMENTS. If you honestly discover you cannot deliver what you promised, then just speak the truth and find a way to compensate the promised party.

11. CONSISTENTLY FOLLOW THROUGH. Sounds so simple, and yet, this is the most common occurrence I encounter on a daily basis when working with businesses, entrepreneurs and clients. Most are good at the front end of connecting, but 90% don’t follow through to deliver at all or effectively.

12. NEVER SACRIFICE YOUR VALUES TO GET AHEAD. There is nothing worth having that is attained by sacrificing your values. It will, at some point in time, come back to bite you hard in the behind.

The main thing, of course, always, is the fact that there is only one of you in the world, just one, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost. Ambition is not enough; necessity is everything. Martha Graham

If you combine ambition with purpose, positivity, persistence, pleasing personality, productivity, minimalism, non-violence (self or others), truth, focus, relentless adherence to your values, determination and lastly and most importantly: an urgent and unrelenting need to positively advance the quality of life for all beings; you will drive yourself to success and greatness. You will not need to seek fame, attention or acclaim. It will find you in the footprints you leave behind as you traverse the terrain to your destiny.

In Closing My Shocking Confession: I don’t fall in love easily, but when I fall, I fall hard. The reason I don’t fall in love easily is because I’m super diligent about the person having a matching set of core values and beliefs to mine. Enter picture, the PERFECT guy. I mean, all the right inside rich stuff (I don’t pay attention to the outside stuff). He was the president of his place of faith, believed in God, prayer, family, and giving back. He was super funny, intelligent, in touch with his emotions, creative and highly ambitious. What could go wrong? It still hurts to talk about it. He got slammed with a bunch of big challenges all at once. He was pulled into many disputes that challenged his reputation, creditability and financial security. He was loved by so many. What I didn’t know is that in his struggle to maintain his status, he began to sacrifice his core values hoping that it would save his image and empire. Instead, he lost everything when it got uncovered. Then, he took his own life. Challenges come and go; money comes and goes; even people come and go; all that ebb and flow can successfully be navigated.  But, the loss that often one cannot ever fully recover from is the loss of self, faith and ones’ values. Ambition alone is not enough.