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Don’t Turn Your Back on Your Business; Burn Your Boat!

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By John Boe

I believe that the great NFL Hall of Fame coach, Vince Lombardi, had it right when he said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Do you agree with Coach Lombardi, or are you the type of person who has difficulty staying focused and keeping commitments? Do you allow the negative influences of fear, anxiety, self-doubt and worry to dominate your thinking and sabotage your results?

Sadly, most people fail to achieve their goals, not because they’re lazy or lack self-motivation, but because they were never “fully committed” to succeed! I can’t think of a single great achievement that has ever been attained without first a plan of action and then an unshakable commitment to its accomplishment. Walt Disney was arguably one of the most creative dreamers and determined men of the twentieth century. Walt understood the power of commitment and would frequently tell those around him, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.”

The ancient Greek warriors were both feared and respected by their enemies. In battle, the Greeks established a well-deserved reputation for their unsurpassed bravery and unshakable commitment to victory. The key to their overwhelming success on the battlefield had far more to do with how the Greek commanders motivated the warriors than it did with issues of tactics or training. The Greeks were master motivators who understood how to use a “dramatic demonstration” to infuse a spirit of commitment into the heart of every warrior.

Once the warriors had been offloaded from their boats onto their enemy’s shore, the Greek commanders would shout out their first order, “Burn the boats!” The sight of burning boats removed any notion of retreat from their hearts and any thoughts of surrender from their heads. Imagine the tremendous psychological impact on the soldiers as they watched their boats being put to the torch. As the boats turned to ash and slipped quietly out of sight into the water, each man understood there was no turning back and the only way home was through victory.

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