For me ambition is the key that turns the lock. Without it nothing happens. Let me offer a few observations on what ambition has meant to me in the context of my career as an entrepreneur and otherwise. Perhaps these can serve as an inspiration to you as well.
- Ambition has been part of my genetic makeup as far back as I can remember. It is what I am all about. From the time that my mother put me in acting school at age 4, I was never satisfied with just a part in the play. I wanted the lead part!
- Whether 6 or 60, my level of ambition has been constant – and thus I am convinced that age has nothing to do with how much ambition one has. Frank Lloyd Wright did his greatest work between 60 and 90, as did Peter Drucker, who wrote 32 books during his last 30 years.
- Fundamental to my ambition is knowledge. Thus in every important endeavor I sought mentors or advisors who provided the knowledge and guidance that enabled me to flourish. To do it right I followed other people who did it right.
- I have been as ambitious for others' success as I am for myself. That has made me charitable and helpful – and enabled me to build a successful company.
- Ambition can be carried with distinction or disdain. Strong ethics and humility bring honor to your achievements. Amoral ambitions undoubtedly contributed to the disasters at Enron, Worldcom and Tyco, for example. I faced a moral dilemma when I launched Makovsky + Company, today a leading public relations firm. I chose not to take one of my employer's largest clients. I felt the Golden Rule applied here. The best way to do well is by doing the right thing!