You need to excel in what you do to achieve your ambitions.
Excel = perform exceptionally well.
Sometimes you need to swallow your pride.
No they don't really work. Especially sentence 1. Sentence 2 may work in some situations, for example swallowing your pride to work in a lower paid job rather than loose your home through debt.
Example you have lost your job but you refuse to work as a labourer and you are in debt, but the only jobs available are labouring jobs, you have to swallow your pride, do the labouring job and pay the rent or loose your home.