You have to win it

This is wisdom I’ve come back to time and again in my career.

When my motivation was lagging. Or when I felt a bit lacking in direction.

“Without ambition one starts nothing.

Without work one finishes nothing.

The prize will not be sent to you.

You have to win it.”

That’s from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

What Emerson reminds us is that success, however you define it, comes from having the courage to change.

If you’re not happy with the path you’re on, then it takes ambition on your part to define a new vision for your career (or life.)

But having the vision is not enough.

You have to define the milestones that will show you’re making progress.

You have to do the work of fighting inertia and making necessary changes to the habits and behaviors that are standing in your way.

And, as Emerson reminds us, there are no participation trophies when it comes to setting and achieving your personal goals.

It’s your vision and your career.

If you want the prize that comes with success (fulfillment, income, security, promotion) you have to win it.

No one's going to play the game for you.