Before the age of 20, I had little as no ambition to do anything but go to the gym. I loved the gym and only wanted to be beastly strong, hard like a brick-wall and look like one of my idols, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his prime.
Education was nothing that excited me, I had finished a year in a school that specialized in training personal trainers to be better at their jobs, but that was all I could motivate myself to try after I failed to finish collage. Job was something I looked at as something you just have to do, and you're lucky if you can find something you don't hate to do. I have worked at some places, and the worst of them was so boring to me, that I tried to keep myself awake as long as possible because I hated to go to sleep, since time flies by so fast when you're asleep, and I didn't want to wake up and go to that shitty job.
That idea of mine wasn't good at all, I always woke up looking like a zombie, dead-tired and didn't want to go to work. That's not how it should be.
Few years later, I started working at a pretty large company that services people with internet, mobile and TV services. While I was working there I spent some time reading about entrepreneurship, motivation, read some books on goal-setting and other stuff. That helped me a lot.
When I first started working there, I focused on doing the things my boss wanted everyone to do, but after I started reading, I figured out that no one was going to give me a raise or a promotion unless I really did a good job and went after it.
I don't work there anymore, but there were several things that I did do, that really did help me get promoted to a "underboss" in my department there, and those are the things I'm going to tell you about, because you can do this too at your job.
1. Do more than is expected of you.
My job at that time was to answer the phone and solve problems for customers, I could have set focus on that, but after I got good at that, I decided to try to do something bigger, try to do something to help more people around me do better. Instead putting 100% focus on trying to answer 10 extra phone calls a day, try helping other people solving problems faster by writing manuals or something that makes their job easier, so they can work faster. If you're in a department of 11 people, you can help the 10 of them adding 5 phone calls every day, so the department answers 50 more phone calls instead of you answering extra 10. That shows the boss that you are a problem solver and a leader.
2. Don't bring problems to your boss, bring solutions.
By bringing problems to your boss, you make his work harder, and I don't know many people that want that. Instead, you should go with an idea to the boss, tell him about it, and what problem your idea can solve, even better if you can implement it yourself. That shows your boss that you have the balls to talk to him about ideas, and that you're ready to handle them yourself. If the idea is good and you manage to deliver good, you've made his job (and possibly others job) easier.
3. Show up, and if you need a day off, be ready to offer to help when needed.
Some people that I worked with always took their sick days, it was very common that they took them on Mondays or Fridays, and it always looked like they were trying to make their weekend longer. Even if you get these payed sick days, don't use them if you're not sick. If you want a promotion, the boss needs you to be there, the guy or girl that is always sick at least two days every month isn't stable enough and it's awful for the boss to have a right hand man/woman that isn't at work when needed.
Also, if you need a day off, offer to work extra hours some other day or days, to show that you care about the job, and that you appreciate that you're going to be given a day off.
4. Handle your problems, and even others problems so it won't end up in the hands of your boss - but make sure he knows.
I know a few people that couldn't at all handle an angry customer. Every single time someone raised their voice, those employees said "if you want to talk to my boss, I'd be happy to ask him to call you and assist you"
I very, very rarely did that before promotion. I handled the angry customers myself and even called them for other employees to handle the situation. My boss knew about this, so he saw I could handle those kind of situations and saved him the time. That again shows a leadership- and problem solving skill.
5. Show interest in moving up at your company.
Ask for special assignments so you get more responsibility. Of course you need to finish them like a champion, but you have to show interest in it. When you notice that there is a better job available in your department or your company that you're interested in, ask the one who's hiring if he has found someone and if not, what he's looking for in that employee that he wants, let him know that you're interested in moving up and that you're ready for a new challenge.
6. Don't let failure beat you to your knees.
If you ask for a promotion or a wage raise and you don't get it, do not get mad, cry like a little baby or lose control, that's not going to help you in any way. Instead, ask what the boss want's you to do better, so you can get what you want, after that, thank him. Get better at what you do and fix you can fix. By doing that, you show that you are confident, you can take denial like a champion and you're there to do business.