29 Visionaries Reveal How To Make 2016 The Most Ambitious Year Of Your Life

29 ambitious leaders
  • 100
  • 12

Written by: Greg Rollett | December 24

Talk is cheap.

That’s why we hand-picked 29 of our ambitious friends who have done everything from writing Best-Selling books to helping hundreds of thousands of people start businesses to getting millions of people healthy and even taking photos while traveling the globe to share the #1 thing you can do to make 2016 The Most Ambitious Year Of Your Life.

Take it away…

start building a local following

Taylor Jackson, World Traveler & Wedding Photographer
Start building a local following. Arrange meet ups, seminars and become an important member of your community. From there you’ll have an audience and the skills to scale out online and start to grow an exponential following. It’s what I wish I would have done early at least.

Learn more about Taylor’s ambitious story and see the trailer for his new TV show here.


Adam Lewis Walker, Speaker, Coach and Host of the Awaken Your Alpha Podcast
In my experience of coaching and working with many ambitious people over the last decade, there is a significant gap in what we KNOW we should do and what we are actually doing. The question is what are you actually willing to do or willing to sacrifice to get what you want? This is the gap that will likely keep the majority from achieving what they are capable of in the next year. DO NOT let this be you.

All of us must act in in the moment more of the time, this is all you ever have. This moment now is where your future experiences are being created by you and your decisions. Knowledge is great, but lets be clear, for me it is NOT Power. What is power and what can be for you if you chose to act today… is APPLIED knowledge! That is the key difference and the action for those who choose to live an Ambitious life.

Check out Adam’s insights that you can learn from getting punched in the face by Ronda Rousey.

meditate in 2016

Derek Flanzraich, CEO & Founder, Greatist.com
Make 2016 the year you become a meditator. Don’t just meditate a few times, become someone who meditates. Start with an app like Headspace or Calm.com, find the same time to do it every day (I do it right after waking up), and commit to it for a few weeks. From my experience (and, oh, science), it changes the way you focus and think for the better. It basically slows everything down, helping to stress less, remember more, and feel sharper. I can’t convince enough people that it’s the best life hack I’ve ever found.


Brad Costanzo, Bacon Wrapped Business
My one piece of advice for 20 somethings to help make 2016 the most ambitious year ever is to completely switch the idea that because you’re young and that you have time to screw around and make mistakes and using that as an excuse to wait, use that as a REASON to take risks, leave your comfort zone and stare failure in the face.

There has never been a time in history when young people wielded so much power and opportunity as right now.  There are no rules, there are no limits, but time is ticking.


Alex “Nemo” Hanse, Foolies Clothing
Care. Care about the people that you serve. Its not about the money. It’s about impact. Its about making lives better than how you found it. If you want to make 2016 amazing along with every year after that and every year after that then care. Too much has happened. Too many lives are lost daily. And I’m positive most people leave this earth without knowing if anyone cared. Time to change the rhythm of what it is to be human. And if you do nothing else, I promise that will be the most ambitious thing you could ever do.

Check out Alex’s 7 most ambitious steps to success here.

read a book every 2 weeks

Verne Harnish, The Growth Guy and author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)
Take a page from Mark Zuckerberg’s personal development routine and read a book every two weeks in 2016 as he did in 2015.  Leaders are readers.  Research by Brad Smart of Topgrading fame showed that the main factor differentiating A-players from B and C players is that they read on average 24 books per year – 12 for fun (the late, great Peter Drucker read lots of great fiction books to give him a solid grasp on human nature) and 12 in your chosen field of interest.

The key is out-learning everyone else.  Mark Cuban reads three hours per day and has since he was in his 20s.  Warren Buffett, the greatest investor in history, reads over 500 pages of information a day.  And in a recent interview Fortune magazine did with Larry Page, CEO of Google, they asked him how he learned be a CEO and he said “by reading books.”  For instance, he read three books on how to name something.  So spend a little less time on Facebook and a little more time reading/listening/learning.  It’s the greatest investment you’ll make in yourself and since it’s likely none of your friends are doing it, it gives you an even greater long term advantage.  Knowledge is one thing people can’t take away from you.


Arel Moodie, speaker and Host of The Art of Likability Podcast
The way to make this the best year yet is to radically change the way you look at goal setting. Stop looking at an outcome as a your goal. Instead look at the process it will take to get you to the outcome. Losing 5 lbs in a week is not a good goal. Because what happens if you don’t lose weight that week? Or don’t lose enough. You actually become demotivated. There are but so many times that you can miss a goal before just the mere thought of the goal makes you sick to your stomach instead of filling you with energy.

Focus on the simple steps you can take today to move toward your goal. The only thing that matters is what step in the process you do today to get there. So that might mean TODAY you go to the gym for 20 minutes. Focus on the process, the journey, not just the destination. You want to make more money? What do you specifically have to do TODAY to get there. Even if it only gets you a fraction of a step closer. That’s improvement. And the goal should be progress not perfection. Focus on what you can do today, and what you must do today and aim for it. 

Even if it you have to do a water downed version, do it. I promise you, doing 10 pushups in one day is actually better than doing 0 pushups. Even though 10 pushups may not create a huge physical change. The mental change of doing something consistently causes the development of habit. Then eventually 10 pushups won’t be enough. You may just do 15, 30, 100 and then next thing you know, you have chiseled arms and a chiseled chest. This works with business goals too. Don’t focus on making 10 sales this week. Focus on calling 10 prospects TODAY. If you focus on the process, the results become inevitable. Be relentless. Be awesome. And most importantly, be ambitious.

what do you really have to lose

Steve Sessions, President of Signature Sausage Company
Just go for it… What do you really have to lose? Take your ideas and do shit with it! Do you want to work a 9-5 for the rest of your life? Focus on crushing your dreams and don’t worry about the failure. If you fail pick your ass up and do it again. Live ambitiously!


Los Silva, Co-Founder, Build, Grow, Scale
Keep focus. Its probably the hardest thing to do when you start and its hard as you get success because opportunity starts to come from all angles. Being focused and committed  on one goal is one of the best ways to grow fast.


Nick Nanton, CEO of Celebrity Films and 4X Emmy Award Winning Director
Whatever you want to do with the rest of your life, start today. It never gets easier.

Check out Nick’s Wall Street Journal Best-Selling book StorySelling here.


Tori Molnar, founder Utoria
Take the time to plan, but don’t spend too much time planning, experience is the best teacher. And find a great mentor, read read read, but take all advice with a grain of salt and figure out what’s best for YOU. No advice from anyone, no matter how successful they are is the golden rule. This entrepreneurship thing is different for every user.


Richard Varner, Orlando Real Estate Agent, The Varner Group
Be generous! Be generous with your time, your energy and your resources. Genuinely care about others and their interests and others will reciprocate ten fold!


Anthony Tran – Marketing Access Pass
Buy a personal brand domain name and build a business around your skills and talents.  People want to do business with real people. Put your authentic self out there and show the world how talented you are.  You’ll be amazed at the results you’ll achieve.  Happy New Year!

Check out Greg Rollett and Anthony Tran talk about reaching influential people on the Marketing Access Pass Podcast here.


focus in 2016

Ryan Lee, Lifestyle Business Entrepreneur and Coach
FOCUS! Ignore all of the distractions and put all of your time, energy and resources into ONE thing. When you do that.. you’ll be shocked at what you can accomplish.

Listen to Greg Rollett and Ryan talk about media on the Freedym Podcast.


Ryan Paugh, Co-Founder and COO, YEC
Invest in Community. Throughout my life as an entrepreneur one thing has always been a constant: People have been my most important asset. From meeting my future co-founder at YEC to launching exciting new partnerships like Forbes Councils, it all started with building strong foundational relationships with other highly ambitious people. In 2016, make a resolution to yourself to invest in at least one business / professional organization. The relationships you form through these groups will open up worlds of opportunity.


Vernon  Foster II, Pod Parrot
On Life: Make time for your health, close friends and family. When SHTF they’ll be there to support you. We’re all human and trying to go at it alone will be painful. Don’t let pride or ego get the best of you. They’re both a was of time and energy. Find something to believe in or support that transcends your own personal motives. It will create balance in your life and keep you grounded.

On Work: Get uncomfortable. Get your hands dirty. Don’t be married to one idea. You have time to screw things up an learn from your mistakes. This isn’t the time to be risk averse and afraid of trying new things. Take a coding class, join Toastmasters, get stand up paddle board lessons, backpack through Central America. The more things you try now, the more you’ll be able to distill what your natural talents are and what you hate, like spreadsheets.

On Relationships: Start building relationships now before you need to call in favors. Figure out how you can add value first before having your own needs met. I’m personally reaching out to people to see how their year went, just checking in. It really goes a long way when people know you genuinely give a shit.

Watch Vernon talk about why every 20-something needs to start a Podcast in 2016.


Ilene Lieber, Owner/Publicist, Passion PR Consulting
Make the most of it!  My twenties went by in the blink of an eye, and looking back it was one of the most exciting times in my life.  The world is at your fingertips so I say figure out what it is that you really want most for your career and in life, go after it and cherish every moment.  I do believe those who are determined, passionate and kind-hearted about achieving their goals will achieve them.  There may be bumps along the way, but always stay positive and hopeful.

Check out one of Ilene’s clients, Doorstep Delivery, in this exclusive Ambitious video here.


Peter Awad, Slow Hustle Podcast
Stop doing what everyone else is doing. Look around and ask yourself “what if I did the opposite?” If everyone is buying a house, ask yourself “what if I rented or what if I purchased a duplex and had a friend rent from me?”. If everyone is taking high paying jobs, ask yourself “what if I started a company or traveled the world for a year?” Be different. Not only will you not follow the status quo but you will stand out. Be ambitious about everything. It doesn’t have to pertain to just one aspect of your life. Apply this methodology to every part of your life. Memories aren’t made in the safety zone.

Listen to Greg Rollett talk with Peter about being Truly Ambitious on the Slow Hustle Podcast here. 


Adam Spunt, All Work, All Play Podcast
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. In 2016, start taking tiny steps outside your comfort zone. How:  Treat fear as a muscle. Each time you do something scary, you’re strengthening your ability to handle fear. Don’t stress over your big fears.  Instead, conquer the little ones and build up that fear muscle. Eventually, you’ll be attracted to fear, and addicted to overcoming it.

Listen to Greg Rollett and Adam chat it up on the All Work All Play Podcast here.


think big

Kimberlee Bochek, Editor in Chief, Ambitious.com
In 2016, I encourage you to think big. Bigger than you’ve ever thought. Nothing is out of reach if there is a plan, passion, and commitment to your cause. And, don’t waste a minute doing something professionally that doesn’t excite you or bring you a genuine sense of joy. Happiness is one of the few things we have control over — if you are unsatisfied, watching life pass you by, you are out of excuses my friend! Any ambitious person knows that things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. Stay hustling.


Tom Morkes, CEO of Insurgent Publishing and the author of Collaborate
Stop going it alone. Nothing great was ever created in a vacuum. Collaborate, co-create, and launch.

Listen to Greg and Tom talk about media platforms on Tom’s In The Trenches Podcast here.


Alex Harris, Marketing Optimization TV
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all the opportunities available. It’s also very easy to get self doubt and intimidated by what ambitious people are doing online. My suggestion would be to get laser focused and block out everything around you. Only surround yourself with people who are going to support your goals. Only consume content that is related to  those dreams. Let nothing get you off track.

This could last for weeks or even months until you achieve major progress on your goals. Success takes sacrifice. Your friends and family may think you are weird, but the only thing that matters is having a clear direction on where you are going and using your why to fuel your vision. Every day your vision will get clearer and you need a daily ritual that is going to turn your dream into a reality.

Listen to Greg Rollett talk to Alex Harris on the Marketing Optimization Show.


Jason Bay, Gen-Y Success Show
Focus more on goal ACCOMPLISHMENT than goal setting. We tend to focus too much on having the perfect goal before starting. Go with what feels right, knowing it can change as you go…then TAKE ACTION! The keys to accomplishing your goals are finding a way to hold yourself accountable (an accountability partner works great), looking at your goals every day and breaking down your goals into bite sized chunks you can chip away at every single day.

Listen to Greg Rollett chat with Jason Bay on the Gen-Y Success Show here.


cheer for your peers

Emily Kopp, Singer/Songwriter/World Traveler
Cheer for your your peers. Be happy for your friends. Don’t compete. Just do your thing, and recognize that everyone has their own UNIQUE path – some with twists and turns, some with quick straight aways. None of that matters. Patience is a virtue, and relationships should be cherished, and taken care of. Be yourself, and trust your process.

Watch Emily Kopp in action in this exclusive Ambitious interview.


Chris Brisson, Founder KickAConference
Interview your hero’s. Your network is your networth so while you’re young and have age to your advantage, you’ll learn and discover so much by connecting, interviewing, and offering value to those you wish to become.”


Jenny Williams, 8 Minute Millionaire
Once you’ve made a goal, follow through with what you say you are going to do. Don’t make decisions based off of emotions. Make decisions based off of your goals and the end result of what we really want. When we follow through with things we say we are going to do, it builds confidence, we like ourselves more and we are happier. When we are happier and confident, we project that and people are more drawn to us in a positive way. Not only that, but people respect us more and our relationships become even stronger. We then attract ambitious hard working people and we all help each other continue to progress on our Journey.

Listen to Greg Rollett with Jenny on the 8 Minute Millionaire Podcast here. 


Chris Duffy, Former Pro Baseball Player and Founder of We Throw It
1. Use the positive qualities of the people around you to help propel your purpose. Learn their strengths and interest and apply it to what your goals are. In tern them doing the same to you will help them achieve their goals through the positive qualities you have.

2. Never burn a bridge or leave on bad terms because that same person might come back around to help you achieve your goals in some way.

3. When things don’t work out exactly how you plan, that means there is a better plan you ahead. you are still in control as long as you keep moving forward and stay prepared. Everything is connected in some way just have faith in it.

See more of Chris’s story in this exclusive interview with the Ambitious team here.


Chris Knight, Photography & Photography Professor
Never think you’re doing enough. Be hard on yourself. Pass out from exhaustion at the end of the day on a regular basis. It’s the best way to feel like you’re accomplishing something.

Want to learn to be a professional photographer in 2016? Check out the exact steps to make it happen in this Ambitious profile from Chris.


Julie Colombino, founder of REBUILD Globally & Deux Mains Designs

Perseverance is needed to be successful,and who you know is definitely important.  Therefore, perseverance of people is key.

Find out more about Julie’s incredible story of beginning a business in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that left millions homeless and jobless (but not for long).


create a media platform

Greg Rollett, Founder Ambitious.com, Best-Selling Author, Emmy Nominated Producer
Build your media platform. This is where you can be seen and heard and make the greatest impact in the world. When you have ideas, you need a place to share them. The people who are attracted to those ideas will seek you out and consume your ideas and content and most importantly see you as their leader. That can mean starting a Podcast like my friends Adam Lewis Walker, Arel Moodie, Ryan Lee, Jenny Williams, Jason Bay, Alex Harris, Tom Morkes, Adam Spunt, Peter Awad, Vernon Foster or Anthony Tran.

It can mean filming video like Taylor Jackson, Nick Nanton or my own video show.

You can blog and talk about things that matter to you like Derek Flanzraich or my Kimberlee Bochek.

In any case, you want to build a place where you get to express yourself, your ideas and your opinions so people seek you out, like every single one of my ambitious friends who helped contribute to this post. Do that in 2016 and it will be the year you look back on as the year that everything changed.

What about you?

What is the number one thing you are going to do to be more ambitious in 2016? Leave your answer in the comments below and let the Ambitious Community hold you accountable to make 2016 your most ambitious year yet!

  • 100
  • 12

Greg Rollett

Greg is the CEO of Ambitious.com and writes most of his posts while eating burritos for lunch or drinking Mexican beers or island rum outside with his laptop and a pair of Beats headphones over his ears, listening to good ol 2000's hip-hop like Master P or Jay-Z (before Tidal). Follow his ambitious antics on Twitter, @gregrollett

Recent Posts