ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: AMBITION: Handle with Caution

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: AMBITION: Handle with Caution

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.


ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: The Promise That’ll Earn You a Million Dollars

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: The Promise That’ll Earn You a Million Dollars

We’ve all seen a movie or a real life situation where a person is speaking a wonderful promise to another person all the while crossing their fingers behind their back.  As if crossing fingers absolves them of their unprincipled behavior.  And, to make this portrayal of human behavior even more unsavory, we’ve been conditioned to see the person crossing their fingers as not really doing something that harmful.

Promises are a pathway to success. Period. There is no gray area here. The person who is intentionally or non-intentionally breaking their promise is not only causing harm to the other party, but committing a harmful crime against themselves. In failing to uphold their promise, they are setting themselves up for future failure.


Stephen Covey’s bestselling classic: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People  cites the #1 Habit to acquire to become successful is to be proactive: “The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments, is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity”.  If then, upon recognizing the failure to uphold a promise to ourselves or another, an immediate ability to self-correct is the most effective step one can take to putting oneself back on the path to success.

I bet almost everyone reading this article can reflect upon a time when they said to themselves “I will never let myself do such and such again”, only to find themselves doing it one more time and suffering some kind of a loss as a result of failing to keep their promise to themselves. We’re human, sometimes we succumb to breaking our promise to ourselves because we want something very badly. But, then we find out the hard way, that “Ooops, I did it again.” Until eventually, a hard habit of rigorously honoring our promises to ourselves becomes ingrained in our behavior because we have experienced the consequences of not doing so.

Success is achieved by consistently being proactive to keep the promises we make.  It’s important, first and foremost, to identify the #1 Top Promise you make to yourself.  It’s the bedrock upon which your future success will be made.  The #1 promise that I made to myself that made me a millionaire was to always be honest with myself and others; regardless of a fear of losing a perceived advantage, and not to align myself with those who don’t share the same value.

At the end of the day, there is great profit to be gained by honoring the wisdom of Shakespeare on how to live a blessed, balanced and successful life…

This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

In closing my shocking confession: I guess I had to learn the lesson the hard way. I had promised myself that I was not going to do business ever again with this company because they had failed to be honest in advising me of a key known fact that negatively impacted the valuation of the property that I was purchasing from them. I discovered it only after the fact. Fast forward 4 years later. The same group came forward with an incredible offer to purchase another property. I kept saying not interested. The “not interested” position remained in effect for months. Until the day, they came back with an offer that I felt I couldn’t refuse. It was incredible! I said to myself, the past is the past, and surely, last experience wouldn’t repeat itself. Boy, o’ boy, was that a huge mistake. Almost immediately upon closing the deal, I suffered huge problems getting them to honor their guarantees which cost me a financial loss and a lot of stress. I had failed to keep my promise to myself not to do business with people who didn’t share the value of honesty and had allowed myself to succumb to the allure of the great deal. I’ve lived and I have learned and earned.

What is your #1 Promise to yourself to keep no matter what? Honoring it is your ticket to a rich, rewarding and successful life.