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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Burning my ships

This is not Cortes burning his ships but it gets across the general idea.

Like Cortes, I plan to burn my ships. Actually he may not have burned his ships but only run them aground but the metaphor is the same.

The bad starts are because I am no longer as effective as I have been in the past in the way that I evaluate potential work. I have a tendency not to be callous enough. I tend to say yes when I mean no. Previously, I always took work as it came in but over time that exhausted me. It not only over committed me but it also meant that I spent time doing work I really didn't enjoy.

Time to change or go insane.

This from Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD

One of the keys to reaching your goals is to eliminate any escape routes. It is tempting to retreat to safety and comfort when challenges and difficulties arise. To avoid turning around and abandoning your goals, you must make going forward more compelling then going back.

When striving towards a goal, you must focus on what you want to obtain and avoid the impulse to go back to what you know and to what is comfortable. When Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in Mexico, one of his first orders to his men was to burn the ships. Cortez was committed to his mission and did not want to allow himself or his men the option of going back to Spain. By removing this option, Cortez and his men were forced to focus on how they could make the mission successful.

Eliminating an escape route creates a compelling reason to focus on the goal and to keep moving forward. However, it is important to keep in mind that although Cortez had his men burn the ships, he did not have them burn the food and supplies. Cutting off an escape route to increase motivation and create the desire to press on where you might otherwise give up is totally different from throwing caution to the wind and taking undue risks. Reaching your goals still requires prudent planning and managing. All goals contain a certain degree of risk, but it isn't necessary to create undue risk and stress by not properly planning and thus lacking the necessary tools and supplies to achieve your goal. Take risks, but don't be careless or foolish and simply hope that everything will be okay.

1 comment:

Coach Lee said...

Dear Silicon Valley Warrior:

Burning your ships, or at least creating a compelling reason to move forward, is an extremely effective way to reach your goals. You want to create a plan and work your plan. Making the commitment to move forward and not go backwards is essential for success. Also important is to have a success team, people who will support and encourage you along the way.

Thanks for including me in your post. I can only imagine that the Warriors of Silicon Valley need to keep looking forward and staying the course.

Rachelle Disbennett Lee, PhD