I got called out recently. One of my friends asked why, if the theme of my website is executive presence, do I spend so much time writing about “motivation”? The answer is pretty simple: I don’t. I write about ambition.

I still believe that motivation is bullshit. That’s to say that I can’t motivate you and you can’t motivate me, we have to do that for ourselves. My goal has never been to motivate anyone, but rather to help unlock the ambition we all have because ambition might be the most powerful human emotion we can feel. Consider it’s benefits:

Ambition is the Key to Charisma

Some of the most charismatic figures in history have not been the most pleasant people to be around. Lyndon Johnson was domineering and Steve Jobs was notorious for his prickly personality, but despite their failings, they inspired people to follow them. The key to their charisma was their undying ambition. They had their hair on fire to make it and that’s something we all respond to.

When we unlock our ambition, we tap into something others will be inspired by. No one will ever be more excited about our futures than we are, so it’s up to us to raise the standard of our enthusiasm. When we do, we’re using the key to charisma.

Ambition Fuels Commitment

Behind every what, there’s a why. The person that spends hours in the gym has the drive to look and feel their best. Most of the people I’ve met in gyms don’t love to train, but they love the benefits of training, so they put in the work. Ambition fuels this kind of commitment making them much more willing to pay the price.

Muhammad Ali once said “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” It was his ambition to be the greatest that fueled that commitment.

Ambition Drives Happiness

The internet is full of stories of people who have given up ambition and lived the simple life and have never felt so fulfilled. GIVE ME A BREAK. Let’s not confuse ambition with complexity. One of the happiest people I’ve ever known was my grandfather. A man who spent his life living off the land as a farmer. He lived a very simple life and he was happy and he was fulfilled. He was also incredibly ambitious. He worked like a slave to buy his first farm then worked even harder to keep it. He took a job off the farm in order to buy more equipment then he picked up more ground and ultimately worked for himself for the rest of his life. He wasn’t chasing money, he was chasing freedom because that’s where we find happiness.

Ambition means something different for each and every one of us but unlocking it and using it will drive happiness.

Yes, my content has leaned a little more towards pushing ambition lately, but that’s only because I believe we cannot develop a true executive presence without it.  With ambition as the key to charisma, the fuel to commitment and the driver of happiness, it’s the rock that an executive presence is built upon.  Let’s unlock it and put it to work because I promise you, it will make you stand out and get noticed.

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