There is a story about Herman Cortes and his expedition to Mexico that involves lots of drama, and eventually leads Cortes to find out his crew plans a mutiny against him and wants to leave him in Mexico and return to Cuba. Finding out about this plan, Cortes made a really bold move and set the ships on fire, ensuring his crew could not abandon the original plan. Some accounts say he scuttled (or sank the ships). Talk about commitment to a mission!

From this story comes a phrase that is one of my life mantras–burn the ships! In others, don’t abandon the plan or purpose…stick to it, stick it out.

Never give in.

Sometimes we make plans or set goals for our  marketing departments, our sales teams, our company as a whole that seem big and “pie in the sky.” And sometimes they are. But we often make those plans or talk about long-term goals with a contingency plan in mind (even if it isn’t verbalized or put on paper). We know our goals are lofty, so we think of a backup plan in case we can’t reach our goals.

It’s not a bad thing to have a Plan B. But if we rely on our back up plan, is it really a backup plan? Or is that truly what our Plan A is? There is a fine line.

I love the call to Burn the Ships! Keep the true goal in mind. Be committed to your mission and your goals–with reckless abandonment. Why wouldn’t you? You’ve done your research. You’ve thought things through. You’ve review SWOT analysis after SWOT analysis after Pros vs. Cons comparison. SOMETHING  inspired and motivated you to take on new commitments. Maybe even bigger commitments than you have before. Maybe your journey is already underway, but you aren’t quite where you want to be. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon your mission.

True Plan A can evolve as you get going–being flexible is key!. But, commit to Plan A. I mean true, stake in the ground commit to it. Let Plan B truly be a backup, not the second part of Plan A. Be the champion of the goals that have been set, for you and your team.

Let the battle cry ring out, “Burn the Ships!”

You with me?