The Power of Commitment – Burn Your Boats!

Monday, November 10 2014

“Without commitment, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.”… So begins my favorite quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe.

An ancient army sailed to the enemy’s shore; greatly outnumbered, they knew that success was nearly impossible. Once ashore, the commander burned all the boats to prevent anyone from going back, unless they were victorious. And they were.

“Burning your boats” has come to symbolize the commitment people, teams or companies make when they refuse to accept failure as a possibility. Most significant success stories begin with someone who has put everything on the line in order to achieve their goals.

Goethe continues: “Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth; the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans – that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole steam of events issues from that decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidences, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamt would come their way.”

This has happened to you throughout your life. Think of the times you set out to accomplish something and succeeded. It’s not easy, but you found a way to make it work. In a sales context, when you commit to your revenue goals – I mean really commit – you achieve your goal.

This happens because you have removed all doubt. You’ve decided you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. If it requires you to put in extra time, you do it. If it necessitates making bigger sales, you do your homework and make bigger sales. If it means making one extra phone call, one extra appointment or asking one more time for the sale, you do it. That’s what commitment is about. Not namby-pamby attempts or ‘trying’. Trying becomes an excuse. It’s an admission of failure before you’ve even begun.  The person who says “I’ll try to reach my goals” might as well say, “I’ll give the illusion of working but I don’t expect to succeed.”

Are you committed to your company, your sales goals and your own personal goals? Do you throw yourself wholeheartedly into the challenge or is there hesitancy?

Here’s a way to test your resolve. Write me a cheque for $1,000 and post-date it to the day you have determined to reach your goal. When you reach your goal, I’ll return your cheque. If you don’t, I get to cash it. Simple. If you’re truly committed it’s not a risk for you.

The final line of the quote: “Whatever can you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Burn your boats. Send your cheque. I’m happy to keep you accountable.