Summit Highlights: Foundations for Success

Discover the number one thing that holds us back.


We’re kicking off our Yale-focused Summit Highlights series with a look at the Foundations for Success leadership workshop facilitated by Sunjay Nath, a longtime keynote speaker with Ambassador Leaders. During the Leadership in Action Summit at Yale University, students will spend time identifying their limiting beliefs and developing a personalized value print to success. Read below as Sunjay shares the details of his exceptional workshop.

Years ago, I realized that the smartest student doesn’t always get the top mark. The most talented team doesn’t always win the championship. And, the most qualified candidate doesn’t always get the scholarship or job. On one hand, I was frustrated to learn that exceptional ability doesn’t lead directly to a desired outcome. On the other hand, I came to an enlightening idea: you don’t always have to be the best to get the best results. To be successful, you merely need to step up into leadership at the right moment or in the right situation.

This realization is what started me down my path to studying leadership. If I didn’t have to be “the best” to be successful, it meant developing my leadership skills could take me where I wanted to go. My goal now is to bring Ambassador Leaders to this same understanding, teaching students to leverage their leadership abilities and experience the resulting success.

Think about a major league sport like baseball or soccer. The difference in talent between the best team in the league and the worst team is often not that great. They’re all professional athletes, after all. The results, however, can be tremendous. So what accounts for the difference between winning and losing teams? Simply put, it’s the successful team’s ability to exercise trust, communication, and team work — all vital leadership skills. This is why we study leadership: to catapult us to the next level of success.

The first portion of The Foundations for Success workshop is called The Number One Thing That Holds Us Back. I designed it to help participants understand that, based on our lived experiences, we all create certain patterns of thoughts and behaviors. These patterns we’ve created help us understand the world around us and often save us time and energy. Think of them as mental shortcuts or life hacks. We think we’ve figured out what works, so we keep our actions consistent or stick to tried-and-true ideas.

These patterns, though, can sometimes grow stale, become ineffective, or lead to biases. The goal for this portion of the leadership workshop is to help students learn to question what is really “impossible” and become aware of their own limiting ideas or behaviors. We can’t break out of a rut we don’t recognize, right? By questioning barriers and approaching problems from a different perspective, what was once impossible suddenly becomes possible. When we shake up our old pattern of beliefs, it’s amazing what shakes loose!

During this portion of The Foundations for Success, Ambassador Leaders will participate in plenty of hands-on activities. In fact, it’s through these activities that students begin to realize the ways in which they’ve been limiting themselves. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s real-life. Once students identify their limiting beliefs, they’ll discover ways to break beyond traditional approaches and achieve any goal.

Check back next week to hear more about the second portion of The Foundations for Success leadership workshop in which students define success with their new mindset of endless possibility.

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By Sunjay Nath

Sunjay travels the world sharing insights on leadership. He is the author of several books including the best seller, The ABCs of Student Leadership and a frequent speaker at Ambassador Leadership Summits. To order his book or inquire about his guest speaking, please visit