You’ve heard this one before… What’s the difference between the chicken’s contribution and the pig’s contribution to breakfast? Commitment. The chicken? A mere passerby… The pig? All in…

The theme this month is about “burning the boats”. Complete and total commitment. It’s a sexy concept, one that I love the idea of, and that I have some experience in…

I can picture it too… It’s dusk… The boats slip almost silently through the gently lapping waves and the stillness of the crisp night, until they rest gently on the beach and ease to a stop… The air is cool and quiet, and across the beach, through the vegetation ahead of you, your enemy awaits… You can almost smell them… You can picture them in your mind and you can visualize the attack… Your team then almost imperceptibly climbs off of the boats and lines up on the damp sand… The anticipation is palpable… One man turns with his torch and in a heroic display, the boats that you came in on are lit aflame to announce your arrival and your enemies impending destruction. As the woods ahead brighten with the flames that represent your complete, unwavering, laser-like focus on the hard work that is before you, you advance. The firelight begins to penetrate the jungle and you see that, in fact, it isn’t a jungle at all… It’s overgrowth at the bottom of a brick wall. Confused, you gaze around, trying to get your bearings to see what may have gone wrong… This isn’t what we planned! This isn’t what we expected?! Where are we exactly? What just happened? Wait! We’re about to storm abandoned buildings that are crumbling into the sea… Slowly, you turn back toward the sea upon which you rode to get here, and watch as your only means of transport burns and sinks into the water.

So, sure, you were totally committed. And it felt powerful. And sexy. And noble. And any number of other positive things. But it was misdirected. This isn’t at all what you expected when you hit the shoreline of this island. The question is, should I have burnt that boat? Did I commit to the right thing? Did I just throw myself all in without any way back? Did I not only burn boats, but maybe burn bridges in the process?

Just over 10 years ago, I jumped out of corporate life, and started my own video marketing and production company. I burnt the boat of corporate security and dared to go on my own. Over the last 10 years there have been a lot of ups and downs, but (**humblebrag warning**), with a lot of help, I built it to a small but solid team of 9 with clients that include some of the biggest and best companies in the country (Bank of America, Electrolux, Samsung, Nucor, Britax, BASF, Honeywell, you name it). Sometime if you’d like, over a hot chocolate, I’d be happy to tell you all the sordid tales of what that has entailed. The short story is this. Things have NOT always gone as I wanted, planned, or predicted. I’ve wanted to quit. LOTS. I’ve wanted to ride the giant waves of success that I had into the sunset. LOTS. I have questioned my decisions, my worth, my ability, my sanity, and my grit to move forward. LOTS. Truth is, it has NOT been sexy, pretty, clean, or anything else that we sometimes associate with this noble foray that would come along with burnt boats. So why am I telling you this?

Well, I guess what I am saying is that as we consider all that will be written and discussed about boats and burning this month and beyond, one other aspect of it that I think it may be useful to keep in mind is that as you commit fully and completely to whatever it is that you feel inspired to as you read the messages this month (business, job, wife, kids, F3, etc.), make sure that if you find yourself in the story I told above about finding yourself on the island, that you either have a friend with a helicopter, or that you prepare your mind to live in abandoned buildings that are crumbling into the seashore and figure it out from there. Too often, men love the IDEA of burning the boats, because they have a movie-like picture in their mind of how that will be. Then, when it starts to look nasty and off plan, they start swimming. Or to bring it more to home maybe, they start drinking, or looking at porn, or chasing other women.

Before you ever get in the boat, and certainly LONG before you hit the beach, just know that you will need to pivot. Life is not a movie. Your solution will not be waiting for you in a tidy package in 2.5 hours right before the credits roll… Burning the boat means that you are opening yourself to something that may challenge you to the very core of who you are as a person. It has done that to me. DO NOT TAKE THAT LIGHTLY. Like Robber talked about, get a partner. Use tools at your disposal to make it work, but recognize that it may require all you have. I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m just saying, be ready.

Remember the pig? Yeah… he’s dead. If you aren’t sure, don’t volunteer for breakfast duty…

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