It gets things done.

Most Inc. readers have it. Some wish they had more. Many hide theirs. Too many, if you ask me.

Like determination, resilience, self-awareness, and grit, among other properties, successful people have it and unsuccessful ones make excuses for lacking it.

A panel of experts

I recently attended a panel the Harlem WeWorks on ambition of successful, ambitious people who have accomplished a lot early in their careers.

They include a TED resident, an award-winning Broadway dancer and actor, a Marvel artist, MakerBot's General Cousel, and the podcaster who brought them together. To call each an entrepreneur is an understatement.

I asked each, after the panel:

  1. What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you shared at the event?
  2. What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you learned at the event?

The Marvel artist

Todd Wahnish, award-winning designer and animator, founded aarting.com and onefromzero.co and created several notable works for Marvel Entertainment, Cartoon Network, and artist Jeff Koons. He is married to his co-founder and loves making things people want through story-centered design.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you shared at the event?

You are responsible for exactly who, what, and where you are in life.

This will be as true this same time next year.

Your situations aren't as important as how you react to them.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you learned at the event?

Enjoy life and lighten up a little.

Treat life as an adventure.

Keep everything in perspective.

Things are seldom as bleak as they seem when they are going wrong.

The TED Resident

Evita Robinson, TED Resident, is a keynote speaker, and the creator of Nomadness Travel Tribe, Compass by Evita cosmetic brand, and CultureMeetsCorporate.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you shared at the event?

Perfection is a verb. It changes and evolves.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you learned at the event?

Ambition isn't monolithic. It looks different to various people.

The Broadway star

Lisa Nicole Wilkerson is a public speaker and coach, TV host and writer, and Best-Actress-winning Broadway actor, seen in Motown: The Musical, Tony winner The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and The Lion King. Her national tours include The Lion King and Mamma Mia!. She is also an award-winning storyteller and writer for ESPNW.com and TheArtistsForum.org.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you shared at the event?

Be malleable and open to change.

When times are challenging, take inventory of your life. You may not be where you want, but if you are alive, healthy, and have food, clothes, and a roof over your head, things probably aren't that bad. Its likely that you can find a way to muster up the energy to stay in the fight and keep going after what you want.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you learned at the event?

Todd discussing how he and his wife pre-sell what they offer--a perfect way to find demand. I thought it was an innovative, out-of-the-box way of thinking, and very inspiring.

The MakerBot General Counsel

Kathryn Hurley is General Counsel at MakerBot, a leading 3D printing company, and co-founder of a mobile app, a distance runner, and Board Chair of a South Bronx charter school opening this fall. She was also a Teach for America Corps Member.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you shared at the event?

Be interested in other people.

When you're genuinely interested in others, you listen and communicate better. Effective communication is critical in most industries.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you learned at the event?

Evita using an online course platform to share content. As an attorney in an innovative and new industry, I often have content and commentary to share but rarely have time to blog regularly. However, I think sharing content through an online course is doable for me at a cadence that works for my busy schedule.

The Speaker/Podcaster who brought them together

Kevin Y. Brown is an award-winning author, motivational speaker and host of the Create Your Life Series podcast and radio show that has featured Superbowl champions, NBA champions, business moguls, and more (full disclosure: and me).

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you shared at the event?

Be BOLD! Don't ask for permission.

It's important to validate yourself and keep moving forward.

Include others or ask for opinions when you have a job for them to further your vision.

What was the most useful advice or insight on ambition that you learned at the event?

Todd saying to test the market and making sure that there is demand before build products.

Make sure you'll have customers through pre-selling.

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Published on: Aug 7, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.