The Legacy of Ambition

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The word “success” is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  While the definition is standard, the true meaning of success is as amorphous as the blowing wind.  If you ask one hundred people what success means, you will not get an answer that hits the definition, which is purposefully general. You will almost always receive a definition of their goals and the building blocks from which their success can be built.  In short, you will get the components that are the sum of their individual ambitions.

Ambition is the motor that powers success.  Without it, you are dead in the water.  Our ambitions come from our motivations.  If ambition is the motor that powers success, than surely our motivations are the gasoline that fuels our ambition.  While our ambitions may overlap in that we want wealth, power, fame, contented loved ones, a lasting legacy; our motivations are as varied as our personal stories.

Perhaps you want money because you couldn’t afford the grocery bill in your youth.  It may be that you want fame because no one in high school knew you existed.  Maybe you had a leg up on the rest of the world, and strive to build upon that with a legacy of which your forefathers would be proud.

Whatever the truth of your motivation, it fuels your ambition, and fulfillment of your ambitions will define your successes or failures.

While success means different things to different people, the nature of success changes with the years.  In the 1960’s success in the workplace could be easily defined as landing a job with a good company, working twenty years with that company, earning a pension, and retiring as someone known as a loyal employee.  This is widely recognized as a basic thread in the fabric of the American Dream.

Yet that thread has been pulled and the old way of gauging the success of your attempt at that dream, is unraveling.  Few and far between, now, are the companies that are as loyal to you as you would be to them.  For the most part, the idea that seniority reigns supreme has dissipated.  Left in the wake, are the youthful masses, attempting to keep their heads above the water with internships, low wages, and less benefits. The term “over-qualified” comes to mind.  Companies would rather have a workforce that is 98% complacent, and 2% promotable.  If you’re complacent, you aren’t trying to move up the ladder, you aren’t increasing wages, you are happy to subsist.  They feed on strangling the dreams out of your eyes and then expect your loyalty in return.

Until they find someone more economical.

As these companies shed employees, as the nature of our employment system changes with the collapse of innovation bred by those companies’ own internal practices –so too has the nature of professional success.

The collapse of the twenty-years-and-out-with-a-pension corporate job has created a new generation of entrepreneurs, not content with the old model of success. Why work for a company that will treat you like your employee number when the times get tough or when someone cheaper comes along?  By being disloyal to the workforce, companies have developed employees that feel no loyalty to the workplace.

With no background in being a part of a company that was built in part by them, many of these modern entrepreneurs are striking out on their own, having success as in independent model.  They work for themselves, a company of one, a brand of the individual.  They are surviving at first, then later, excelling.  Social media offers no shortage of examples, the Instagram photo of the suited play boy driving a Ferrari, the beautiful vixen rolling about town in a limo, and the instant millionaire taking champagne by the Mediterranean Sea. These are very real successes, people living life on their terms.  They fought their way out of the cubicle jungle and defined their own professional success.

When we are done applauding them, after we have gotten over our wish for our own Ferraris, we can ask ourselves about the longevity of what was built.  The problem with a one man rodeo, is that when you are gone, so too is what you have created.

The men that built the original American dream, the ones that did it and whether by design or by chance, created something that could take care of their employees as well as their bottom line, are a dying breed. Our success should include bringing others on the journey with us.  We should be striving to create a lasting legacy, one that can last long after our own shadow falls from the face of the earth. By shirking the lowest common denominator of success, we can work to solve the equation of lasting legacy.

By bringing to this site people who have achieved broad definitions of success, we will help you gain the tools by which you can define your own.  Our motivation is for all of our readers to succeed, because your success is our ambition.  By helping our readers succeed, we achieve the legacy by which we define our magazine, our company, our brand, and ultimately, ourselves.

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