Burn the Ships

“Burn the Ships…”

When Cortés and his men made land at the New World in 1519, he instructed his men to burn their ships, sending a very clear message that they were committed to this journey, that there was no turning back.

“Burn the ships…”

Can you imagine THAT conversation and how it went?!? Oh, to be a fly on THAT wall….

It probably went something like, “…but we just got here…” or “…how will we get home?”

But that was the point. By burning the ships, he and his 600 or so crew were forced to make the best of their situation because they didn’t have an out or escape route.

Too often we give ourselves an out. We embark on a new endeavor or change, only to walk away and abandon it the moment things get rough or don’t seem to go either our way or the way we expected.  You end up missing the lesson chasing the win.

If you genuinely want something, you have to commit to it wholely….either you’re in or you’re out, there is no straddling of the fence. When you want it badly and believe in it deeply to your core, you don’t just dip your toe in to test the waters, you jump in and get wet.

So what does “Burn the Ships” translate into in real life application?

  1. Commit to Change. Once you have done the pre-work to identify the change needed and a plan to make it happen, commit to it.  No excuses. It’s about execution at this point – just do it.
  2. Dump the Dead Weight. You can’t expect people who don’t get your vision to see your vision. Elevation requires separation. Free yourself of dead weight – any thing and anyone that doesn’t support your efforts. Nay sayers, blockers, haters…cut them from your team. What if it’s family? Limit your interactions to not include your dreams and goals so they can’t block your shine or just smile and keep it moving.
  3. Take Fear Head On. What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from what you are trying to achieve? What’s holding you back? To really get at the root of fear, you have to be willing to spend the time and go deep. Understand the beliefs that you have that might be creating these fears and spend the time challenging them so that you can move forward. If that means you get some professional help, by all means do it.  The season of life you want to get to is paved with relationships – find your Hiram and get the help you need.

To see things differently, you have to do things differently.  To do things differently, you have to get out of your comfort zone and take away your outs or excuses.

Burn the ships…
Dr. Gail Lewis is a certified professional coach and has 20+ years of experience in leadership, management, coaching, and mentoring, helping others unlock their personal success zone by connecting to their vision and purpose to action.  Follow her on social media @drgaillewis for more AIM(tm) – affirmation, inspiration, and motivation.


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