Lesson 2: Burn Your Ships: The Power of Declaring Your Intention.
Mary Ellen Sheets, founder & CEO of Two Men And A Truck International knows the power of not allowing yourself to fail. She starts the story of the birth of her business with a personal event that seemed devastating at the time, “I always tell people that my husband went to the grocery store and never came back. He left me for a loaf of bread. And that loaf of bread was 23 years old.”
When her husband left, as the sole wage-earner, she was forced to find a way to provide for her 2 boys and a girl. For the sake of her family, failure was not an option. While working full-time as a data processor, she bought an old, used truck, staffed it with her high-school age boys, only one of whom was old enough to drive, and created a business to help them save money for college. Today, what should have been named ‘Two Boys and a Truck’ is the largest moving franchise in North America. Great things often born of necessity. That business is one of them.
Many times it takes a difficult event to force us out of our comfort zone. But we are not helpless, waiting for situations to motivate us. We can create motivation any time we choose.
A great story about creating motivation comes from Napoleon Hill. He says, “A long while ago, a great warrior had to make a decision which ensured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded the soldiers and equipment then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, ‘You see the boats going up in smoke. That means we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice – we win or we perish!’ They won. Any person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat.”
Burning their ships was a hugely powerful motivator for those warriors and it can relate to fitness as well. When you cut off your own retreat, your fitness results will skyrocket. Since you can’t go back, even when you feel tired or lazy- and we all do at times- you will still make good decisions that move you forward, closer to your goal.
Obviously, these first two are dramatic examples. Eliminating your retreat is quite possible without personal hardship or that annoying threat of death! Burning ships can be fun!
My friend and coaching colleague, Joey Petri is a great example. He decided to issue a challenge to become fit enough to dress as a Spartan from the movie “300” for Halloween. For those of you who may not have seen the film, the main wardrobe piece in “300” is a washboard set of abs. Dressing like a Spartan in the movie meant Joey had to commit to being in the best shape of his life. He gave himself only 90 days to do it.
To make sure he got there, Joey cut off his retreat. He literally told hundreds of people his intention on the Beachbody’s public message boards. Fear of disappointing hundreds of people insured that he got the results he wanted.
When you declare your intentions publicly it instantly creates accountability. It is a way of burning your ship and cutting off your retreat. People who you respect and admire will expect you to produce the results you declared. The more people you tell, the more powerful the motivation becomes.
In Joey’s case, not only did he tell everyone he was dressing like a Spartan from the movie, he asked his friends to join him! In true Spartan fashion, they all banded together to help each other. Joey and his fellow Spartans achieved results that were off the charts. Why? Because they publicly declared their intentions. By doing so, they instantly created incentives that guaranteed they would achieve their goals. Friends expected to see great results. Since human nature is to please your friends and family, the Spartans did not want to let their friends down. (Not to mention they didn’t want to embarrass themselves in a very small outfit!) Every person involved in the challenge helped every other person succeed.
We all can find unique ways to cut off our retreat. Carl Daikeler, CEO of Beachbody, has a great idea about creating an incentive. He says that if he were a hairstylist, he would take his before picture and put it prominently on his mirror so all his clients would see it. When customers ask about it, he would declare, “I’m losing weight with my new fitness program. This is my before picture. When you come back for your next haircut you’ll see a thinner me in my 30-day progress photo.” Now, he not only created accountability for himself, he insured that his clients will book followup appointments because they want to see his progress.
The more people Carl tells, the stronger his incentive to succeed!
Imagine for a minute how strong the incentive would be if you were a stylist who shared your before pictures and your intention to lose weight with 20 clients! What about 100 or more! Imagine how proud you would feel when customers start commenting on how great your progress pictures look. You would not allow yourself to fail.
What ways can you think of to eliminate retreat and create motivation? Find a way that works for you.
1. Get rid of the junk. Was the ship that brought you to the enemy’s shore loaded with Hot Pockets and Whoppers with cheese? If you don’t want to go back to the land of ill-health, burn that boat and all the Twinkies on it!
Get junk food out of your house. Give it to your local food pantry. Feed the ducks. Bury it in your backyard in a shallow grave. I don’t care shat you do, but get rid of it. You wouldn’t but junk in the gas tank of your car. Value yourself higher than that beater you drive and stop putting junk in your tank, too!
2. If you haven’t already, TAKE YOUR BEFORE PICTURES AND MEASUREMENTS! You’ll start losing weight soon, and you’ll never have a chance for a before picture again!
3. Involve friends, family, and your coach. Find a few people who you know well and who care about you. Share with them your goal to lose weight. Be specific, for instance, “I will lose 30 pounds in the next 90 days with Turbo Jam, and I want you to help keep me accountable. I’ll be emailing you every week to tell you how I’m doing. I will even show you my progress by sending you pictures every 30 days!” (Don’t worry, by day 30, when you stick with us, you will have measurable and visible changes! Soon you’ll be proud to show your friends and family!)
If you are serious about success- email, call, or write to everyone you know. Post publicly, once a week on Facebook or start your own weight-loss blog. The more people you can involve, the better.
4. Consider coaching. Another great way to help yourself succeed is to help others do the same! Ask your coach about the Beachbody Revolution and how you can get in the best shape of your life while helping others get healthy with you. You don’t have to be in great shape yet. You just need to be interested in helping others. When you do, you’ll find that you will want to set a good example for them. It super-charges your motivation to stay consistent with your own workout and healthy eating program! And consistency is the key to lasting success.
I know the idea of opening up and telling people your plans can be scary. I realize that I’m asking you to leave your comfort zone. But if you are serious about losing weight, getting ripped, lowering your blood pressure, or improving your glucose control, I ask you to burn your ships on the enemy’s shore. It will guarantee that this time you will succeed and your results will be permanent!
(as always, email your coach with any questions or concerns. Your coach is there to help!)
Next lesson: Find Your Why.
To your success!
Kevin Kane, MD
The Fit Doc
Kevin Kane MD, The Fit Doc, is a practicing physician and home exercise fan. He started with P90X in 2005, and has since done programs including Slim in 6, P90X+, Ten-Minute Trainer. His current exercise interest is Project:YOU! Type 2 and helping people with Type 2 diabetes use lifestyle change to help manage their disease.
Kevin Kane, and The Fit Doc LLC, and your personal coach are independent Team Beachbody coaches not employed by Beachbody.
This e-course and all contents are for informational and motivational purposes only. This is not medical advice. Consult with your physician with medical questions and before starting this or any exercise program.