There are big, highly desirable gains to be had in the Ambition Zone. But there is a catch—nothing in the Ambition Zone is a requirement in a leader’s day-to-day responsibilities.

There are the “have-to’s” in leadership, and then there are the “don’t-have-to’s.” Most of what leaders focus on are the have-to’s, the things that cannot be pushed off—immediate fires to put out, preventing business interruptions, or even short-term objectives that require significant effort.

The hallmark of leadership going forward, however, will be the accomplishments that fall in the Ambition Zone. Enduring companies will be built on the shoulders of leaders who pursue goals and objectives that were not an immediate necessity to accomplish but instigated the business being propelled into a whole new future.

At the same time, it’s clear that merely setting stretch, or impossible, or BHAG, or moonshot goals does not guarantee success and change. Most seasoned executives can point to more than a handful of experiences where big commitments were boldly made and not realized. Operating in the Ambition Zone requires building a very specific capability—leading themselves and others out of what they “know to be true.”

What does this mean? Any leader attempting to pursue an unknown but desirable future will need to contend with the success of their past. Senior leaders who are experts in their fields and industries—built on years of success—risk being trapped by their expertise. Looking at what has worked in the past leads people to become stuck in their assumptions. These assumptions determine what is possible and what is not. People become handcuffed with what they know, with how to do things, and with frameworks that are proven, driving them to act with certainty.

The Ambition Zone is the space of uncertainty. There are no best practices, precedents, or assumptions. Everything must be considered and reconsidered for change, as needed, to move to a different place. The Ambition Zone is about disrupting oneself first, and not waiting to be disrupted.