I’m not one for making New Year resolutions. I’m definitely a “to-do list” lover and a goal setter, but not a resolution-maker. Although I am resolution-free, I want to make sure 2011 is a productive year for me both professionally and personally. I am going to make this a year of action — a year of stretching out of my comfort zone and taking my life to new places. A year of growth and expansion. I’m going to live the life I envision for myself because I realize if I get lazy and apathetic now, I can be sure I’ll probably try to coast through the rest of my adult life that very same way. I’ve decided 2011 is going to be my year to burn boats.
Has anyone ever told you to “burn the boats”?
I’ve heard this expression before and knew what it meant, but it wasn’t until I learned the history of the saying that I grew to fully appreciate it. Ancient Greek warriors were both feared and respected by their opponents. The Greeks were ace at “dramatic demonstration” in order to get the best action out of their soldiers. Once the Greek warriors were dropped off onto the enemy’s shore, the Greek commanders would shout out, “burn the boats!” The sight of burning boats removed any possibility of retreat from the hearts and minds of the Greek warriors. Imagine the impact this had on the soldiers – to see their “safe haven” go up in flames. They were left with no choice but to fight to win — the only way back home was through victory.
It’s easy to stand on the sidelines of life and just let it happen to you. It’s safe and pretty darn comfortable, but there’s no chance of growth. In order to change our lives, we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. This takes courage and a willingness to stop standing on the sidelines of life. Sometimes, we just need to take a leap of faith and listen to our intuition when it tells us to get uncomfortable and make changes. In other words, we just need to burn the boats.
Need a gentle nudge to burn your boat? Think of these possible missed opportunities:
- The job interview you passed by because you were comfortable with your current job even though you were no longer really happy there
- The relationships you didn’t pursue with fantastic people because you were fearful of rejection
- The friendships you didn’t nurture or attempt to grow because the effort was simply ‘too much’ at the time
How many more of these scenarios do you want in your life?
In order to see change in your life, you need to take a leap of faith and jump away from the status quo and what is comfortable for you. It’s amazing to me how willing we are to maintain our current status even when we’re not truly happy with the way things are, just because we fear the unknown. Safety nets are good – they protect us from pain. But they also prevent us from really moving forward. Now’s the time to ditch the excuses and obstacles standing in your way.
If you’ve had a nagging feeling in your gut about a chance you need to take or a change you need to make, that’s your intuition. It’s time to stop ignoring it and take action. Set fire to your boats and let them sink to the bottom of the proverbial ocean along with your fear of the unknown and new. Look ahead. You’ll get to where you want to go in 2011 without those boats that are keeping you anchored to where you are now.
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