On and off the field, in and out of the locker room, and even in social settings, I must have heard or said, “Burn the ships” 5,000 times in college. For my team at USD, which at the time was a top 5 NCAA Division I program, the phrase “Burn the Ships” was a declaration that described our culture as well as any.
“Burn the ships” is a timeless reference to the infamous conquistador Hernan Cortez, who upended the Aztec Empire. On April 21, 1519, Cortez landed at Veracruz to begin his conquest, and in a powerful gesture of commitment to the mission he ordered his men to burn their ships, which in turn offered no hope for retreat. Simply, they had the option to succeed, or perish.
As we all know, Cortez continued his romp of the Aztec Empire, etching his effort in the history books as one of the most remarkable conquests of all-time.
In college, this story was shared with us by our well respected head coach, Rich Hill. Our team rallied behind the concept. For a chance at greatness, we had to leave no doubt in our effort to do so. This commitment took us from a successful Top-25 program to National Title contender in just one season.
My question for you is, what are your “outs?” We all have life boats, backup plans, and safety nets in our lives. My call to you isn’t to be reckless, but to understand that until you commit to something without the option to fail, you aren’t realizing your potential. Period.
What areas of your life are underwhelming because you’re playing it safe? What are you waiting for?
“Burn the ships.”
2 Reverse Burpees
4 Hand Release Push Ups
8 Hollow Rocks