I admire my daughter. She will be graduating in five months, and when she does, she’s heading to New York to begin the working part of her journey through life. She has no job yet, no place to live yet, and she barely knows her way around Syracuse let alone one of the biggest cities in the world, but that’s where she’s heading. You know how I know this? Because she told me. She also told all her sorority sisters, friends, and anyone else within range of her rather strong voice. I guess you could say, she’s told so many people, she couldn’t back out if she wanted to. And that’s why I admire her.
Telling people was no accident. I’m not sure if it was a conscious or unconscious behavior but I believe, deep down, she told people of this rather bold plan for a reason. She told them so she couldn’t back out. Brilliant. Once she told the world, she was able to focus on what she needs to do to be successful, and not on whether she should or should not do this at all.
One of my favorite lessons from history involves this very point. In 1519 when Spain dispatched Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez to explore the world and create Spanish colonies he decided he was going to accomplish his task no matter the consequences. His men were unhappy with the conditions in one of the settlements they created, and there was constant debate as to whether they should stay or go. This debate became intense and potentially dangerous. Sensing this Cortez burned the ships in the harbor that brought them there. That ended the debate and forced the colonists to focus on their survival. History will show countless bloody coup.
It’s 2011, and many of us are struggling with our own debates. It wouldn’t be a debate if it involved a task that was easy for us to do. I believe if you really examine the debate at hand you’ll find that the debate often involves two issues. On one side of the debate you have something that involves risk, and the fear of failure that accompanies this risk. On the other side of the debate you have that voice in your head that is trying to talk you out of it so you can avoid the heartache of failure. I say, burn the ships, remove the debate of whether to do something or not, and focus on the tasks at hand that will help you accomplish your goals.
Or, if you don’t want to be quite that dramatic, tell your friends and family of your lofty goals and go for it!