17th November, 2022
The concept of burning boats traces back to one of history’s most inspiring leadership stories from 1519. Hernán Cortés led a large expedition consisting of 600 Spaniards, 16 or so horses, and 11 boats to Mexico. His goal was to capture a magnificent treasure said to be held there. Upon arrival, Cortés asked his men to destroy all their boats. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back. They either win or they perish.
You might assume that Cortés’ men would have become dejected, with no exit strategy in place to save their lives. Instead, they rallied behind their leader as never before. Within two years, he succeeded in his conquest.
At its essence, burning boats represents a point of no return. It is a psychological commitment where you recognize that you have crossed a line never to cross back.
Figuratively, it means to commit oneself to a particular course of action by making an alternative course impossible.
Burning your ships doesn’t mean you can’t ever change course or decide that a current pursuit is not working. But no change process has a chance of working if your team has an off-ramp.
Where can you burn ships in your business? In your life? Look inside yourself and see where you’re having a hard time committing. Is it because the ships are still in the harbor? Burn ’em. Force commitment. And see what happens.
Sucess comes from total commitment.
‘Burn your boats’ to succeed and stay blessed forever.