The 10 Traits You Must Cultivate to Achieve Highly Ambitious Goals First comes the desire for success, then comes the hard work of molding yourself into the person who has what is required to succeed.

By Sherrie Campbell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Success is something all of us desire and strive for. But if success came easily we would all be succeeding at the same levels. The elusive quality of success makes the striving for it so special. Ultimately, success has proven to be exclusive to only a handful of people. Those people are the ones' who did extraordinary things in their lives to get them where they are today. Success did not come to them because they were lucky or because it was handed to them. They possess the pure ambition necessary to achieve the success they have gained.

1. Be willing to sacrifice.

Without hard work and the willingness to grind it out, you will not achieve your desired level of success. You must follow the basic science of success; your input will equal your output. Be willing to put your heart and soul into executing yourself without any wish for a lucky break. Earn your lucky breaks and never expect them. You cannot depend on luck.

Be willing to eat, sleep and drink your passions in such a manner that your hard work doesn't feel like hard work. Expect the utmost from yourself. When you are focused nothing can stop you.

2. Be curious and eager to learn.

The majority of people stubbornly believe they have all the information they need. This narrow-minded focus blocks you from reaching your full potential. To be radically successful, explore and learn new things each day. Be curious about problems, not defeated by them. Ask questions to get new information. Read, go to seminars and hire a business coach.

Knowledge is the foundation of success. To succeed you must always thirst for more information, education and learning. The more you know, the easier your work becomes. Apply all of your newfound knowledge by transmuting it into skill. In this way you are able to take full advantage of what you have learned.

Related: Curiosity Is the Key to Discovering Your Next Breakthrough Idea

3. Build solid connections.

Your network of connections is synonymous with your net worth. You do not need to be loud, arrogant or attention seeking to get ahead. The successful elite prefer to work quietly and let their success do the talking. You must constantly be networking with others with a sense of class, intelligence and maturity. Exchange information, talk about ideas and events and always know people's first names.

Build a Rolodex full of people who value your friendship, your ideas, passions and who will return your calls. In today's world, it is all about the people you know and how you can help each other get where you want to be.

4. Be passionate about personal growth.

The ambitious are never comfortable with where their life is. They are hungry to see where their life could be. You must become this type of person. Be in the continual process of examining and improving upon yourself, your life, your mind, your heart, your health and how well you utilize your time. Continually work to expand your personality, leadership skills, management skills as well as every other detail of your life. You must not tolerate personal flaws; strive to improve upon them.

5. Be creative.

There is a great saying, "those who run with the crowd often get lost in it." The ambitious do not run with the crowd. Be passionate about questioning the status quo. Explore thoughts and ideas that are out-of-the-box. Risk failure and face rejection. Success often comes from going against the norm. Doing again what has already been done will never amount to anything great.

The ambitious have creative minds which never stop. You must always ask "why not?" When you're creative you see possibility where others see a dead end. You wake up in the middle of the night because you had a light bulb moment and are compelled to get it down on paper to review and explore in your next day. When you have a creative mind like this you have the potential to change the world.

6. Be self-sufficient and responsible.

When you are filled with ambition, there is no room for excuse-making or to trying to shift blame or responsibility for your challenges onto others. If you are not succeeding, humble yourself and take note that you are the common denominator operating in all of your experiences. All change begins and ends with you.

To be the type of success you want to be, use your ambition to take full accountability for your current circumstances. Get creative and solution oriented. Change what you're doing, and depend heavily upon yourself to get stuff done. Refuse to get stuck or stay stuck. Make decisions and move on. You must take 100 percent responsibility for achieving your success. Take the initiative to always ensure you are headed in the directions you see yourself as destined to go.

Related: 3 Steps to Eliminating the Barriers to Becoming Self-Sufficient

7. Keep perspective.

No matter the stress or turmoil you experience each day, harness your ambition and stay in balance. Learn to relax and breathe easy. When you can keep perspective, you breathe easier. Slow down to focus on solutions, not problems. This allows you to ask the right questions and make sound decisions, even when challenged. Allowing your emotions to hijack you is when things begin to go downhill. Life and business are an obstacle course of challenges. To be successful you have to be a good problem solver and not dwell on any one particular challenge. Your ambition requires constant movement.

8. "Now" is the time.

"Now" is the only time you have that is directly under your own authority. Give your ambition to what is in front of you. Do not waste time worrying about what has already been done. Utilize every minute of this current moment to maximize your potential and your success. The past is the past, you must choose to learn from it and apply that learning to the current moment, so as to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Your future depends upon what you are putting into action right now.

9. Respond promptly.

With the advances in technology, what you want is always at the tip of your fingers. Be the first and quickest to respond to all opportunities which come your way. Grab ahold of all of them. Avoid allowing things to linger on, or to take too much time in responding back to potential opportunities. You do not what your competitors to steal an opportunity from you because of a late response on your part. Time is everything, so use your ambition to provoke prompt responses.

10. Never quit.

Love the challenge. When business gets hard, dig deep. The fearful walk away when the challenge gets too tough, but the ambitious see challenge as an opportunity to stretch their minds, skills and knowledge. You must understand that if success were easy it would come to everyone without effort. You must be willing to sacrifice all outdated beliefs you have in order to surpass your current challenge. Make it your goal to always come out on top.

Most successful people in this world started from the bottom and used their deeply felt ambition to drive them to the top. The only time luck plays a role is when you are in the right place at the right time, but it's up to you to get yourself where you are headed, regardless. Being successful is all about how badly you want it and how much you're willing to work for it -- it's about the ambition you possess to help get you there.

Related: Thinking of Quitting Your Entrepreneurial Quest? Read This First.

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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