The year was 1519 when Hernán Cortez set sail for the New World. His strategic objective was the conquest of Mexico. The Aztec were a great nation with vast stores of gold and silver, an incalculable prize for King Charles I of Spain. Though I do not agree with what he had set out to do (not all strategic objectives are noble), I do, marvel at how such a small army could defeat a vast empire that had endured for 600 years. The key ingredient for their success would go down in history as one of the greatest Momentum tactics ever applied.
When taking the step from idea to execution, we can all learn something from the Spanish conquistador. After sailing halfway around the world, Cortez landed his eleven ships on the beaches of the Mexican Yucatan and unloaded the 500 men and supplies. Cortez then gathered his men around him and delivered those fateful words that now echo in the annals of leadership history, “Burn the Ships!” From that point onward, there could be no retreat. The only option was success.
Ideas die from lack of faith, especially if the founders are the chief unbelievers. Burning the ships is synonymous with getting uncommonly serious about your objective. Relational movement in a consistent direction is what creates Momentum. Cortez knew that they could not generate break-through Momentum if his men were keeping one eye on their escape plan.
As you approach a point of no return, team members who have invested in the conquest usually begins to ask, “Where is the fallback position, where are the reserves, what are the contingency plans?” Put simply, they wonder, “What if this doesn’t work?”
I am indeed aware of the importance of risk management issues. I am also aware that many people have been engaged in a recurring cycle. A vision is born, the vision gets hard, and the vision dies. Then they try something else.
Most of us will try several things before we commit ourselves to a lifelong focused pursuit. However, the problem is often that many have never sufficiently invested themselves in order to create the kind of Momentum needed to be successful. They have adopted a tolerance or threshold for opposition and difficulty that is too low. They say to themselves, I will to do this, if it is not harder than that.
I have bad news for you — there is no creative idea, process, or system so ingenious that it will work by itself. I co founded and help to lead an association of independent inventors, and am fully aware of how rapidly new innovations are emerging. However, the reason an originator of an idea rarely becomes rich is because they are unable to incorporate or monetize their ideas. Rarely does the idea alone have the Momentum to become successful. As the old saying goes: “Nothing works; people do.” (Click here to tweet)
The surest way to kill your dream is to not be “sold out’’ to its successful completion. That has been the cause of innumerable failed projects, including my own. On the other hand, it is this abandoned pursuit of the success at all costs that makes your vision contagious. Like Cortez, when it comes to entrepreneurs and inventors, there is a fine line between being considered insane and being celebrated as a genius.
You may not think of yourself as inventor. However, everyone who has high goals for themselves is in the process of creating a preferred future. If you do not have authentic conviction behind your ideas and ideals, you simply will not be able to create (or much less) sustain Relationship Momentum. You must have a relentless resolve to see that preferred future become a reality.
Question: What is your dream and how are you sold out in your pursuit of the dream? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.