Burn the Ships!

In 1519, Spanish explorer, Cortez sailed his fleet of eleven ships into the harbor of Veracruz, Mexico.  It was common practice in those days to leave guards with the ships, as they might be needed to later return to the old world for supplies, or if necessary to retreat from the enemy.  But Cortez came for victory; he did not come to look at “options.”  Cortez didn’t want anyone to have any doubts about their mission so he gave the order to “burn the ships.” And so every ship was burned, obviously Cortez wasn’t ambivalent about victory – it was victory and nothing short of this was acceptable!

Cortez demonstrated his commitment to the outcome by giving his orders to burn the ships – his men probably “got it” that he was serious about this mission.  It takes commitment like this if you really want results.  But what is a typical commitment by most people?  Usually it is a luke-warm response that says, “Sure I can give it a shot,” and with one hand outstretched we “reach for the stars.”  But just in case things don’t work out, we keep our other hand firmly grasped to the chair in our familiar and comfortable office in the world of the known and predictable.  As I read somewhere, when the going gets tough, those who keep one eye on the way out, usually lose.

We all go through times in our life when we know we must commit to change, and in some cases significant change.  And if we are honest, we will admit change scares the daylights out of us.  We all want the potential reward and excitement that the change offers and have excitement in our voice when we talk about the challenge.  But talk is cheap, commitment requires real action, the kind of action the Cortez took when he gave to order, “Burn the ships.” 

Fully committing to success means there are no excuses.  If you commit to increasing sales, really commit to it, then burn the ship of excuses, because there is nothing short of total completion of that goal that is acceptable.  Old sales goals are gone forever and the only thing you are focused on are the new numbers. Falling back and achieving the old numbers isn’t a success of any kind, it’s short of your goal. 

If you commit to meeting with one new client every week, but you used to meet with one new client every three months, burn that ship of what used to be acceptable; it’s gone!  Meet the goal you have established!

Simply saying “I want to do this or that” isn’t good enough.  Heck, I want five million dollars, but that doesn’t get me any closer to being a millionaire.  Commitment requires that we change the verb from want to will.   I will contact new prospects this week, I will make this deadline, and I will change my attitude.

 Burn the ship of options and excuses, make a real commitment!  No more woulda, coulda, or shoulda and no mindset of “I will go down fighting.”  I will not go down fighting, because I will not fail! 

 If you want to win, don’t allow losing to be an option. Victory comes with the commitment that is willing to “burn the ships.”

The next commitment you make, write it down on a piece of paper and keep  it  in a conspicuous place where you will see it daily.  Begin with “I will” not “I want.”

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