Have you ever watched the movie Hunt for Red October? It is one of my favorites of all time.
Early in the movie Captain Ramious during a gathering of his officers, rather casually informs them that he has left a letter with the Soviet high command informing them of their plan to defect to the United States and turnover their high-tech submarine to the Americans. The officers are enraged as they know this will bring the entire Soviet fleet down on them to destroy the ship and prevent the defection.
His men are aghast and ask the Captain why he sent the letter.
Next, Sean Connery, in that famous accent of his, tells the legend of Cortez and his arrival to the new world. As the story goes, in 1519, Cortez, with 500 men and 11 ships, traveled to the new world, intending to conquer the mighty Aztec empire and capture their vast treasure.
Cortez knew this would be a great challenge for his men and decided to take action to ensure his army’s complete engagement.
He burned the boats
This left his men with no alternative other than to win or die. As Captain Ramious so eloquently frames it in the movie, this left his men “highly motivated.”
Time to make a choice
Too seldom in our lives do we decide, as Cortez did, to throw away all fear and burn the boats. Instead, we let our self-doubt and focus on past failed attempts keep us from fully living life as it should be lived.
No turning back. No moving backward. A highly motivated battle forward to win the prize.
Pivoting my career three years ago was a burn the boats moment for me. I decided the only way I would genuinely move in a different path was to blaze a new one.
Even this change will only take me so far, and I know that soon I will once again be presented with a choice to burn the boats or keep floating along.
Will I do it? Will I have the courage?
I like to think that I will.
What about you?
What part of your life do you need to burn so that you can leap forward to a better you?
Do you have the courage required to turn something that is holding you back to ashes?
The truth is that you will never break free from the now unless you find a way to leave yourself with no other choice.
Why not start today?
Burn the boats