Posted by: Rael Kalley | July 20, 2013

207. Burn those darn bridges.

I have been thinking of writing about this topic for quite some time and the decision to do so today was made easy after a brief coffee meeting earlier this week.

I spent a short while with a man I have known casually for several years who used our time together to explain to me why he had recently made the decision to quit the business of being a realtor and go back to seeking employment in a different field.

His reasons for this decision all made perfect sense – to him. The economy was not particularly cooperative at this time, it’s a very difficult industry to break into, the competition is fierce and he was tired of people disappointing him with last minute changes of heart.

He ended the litany of reasons by explaining that when he first became a realtor he had told himself he would try it for a year and see what happens.

And true to his word, 12 months later we were having this conversation.

I have had this exact same conversation three other times over the past few months. Each conversation was with someone telling me of their decision to quit a potentially lucrative career having “tried it for a while” and found it wanting.

Of these three people, one was a realtor like my friend from earlier this week, one was in financial services and the third had decided to “dabble in network marketing for a while.”

Why, you might ask yourself, would these four folks have walked away from industries that offer the potential for seven figure incomes?

Surely they could not have expected great success to come without great sacrifice for if earning a seven-figure income was easy then, as they say, “everyone would be doing it”.

I have long been a firm believer in burning bridges. I know that is not the reasoning of conventional wisdom but please allow me to make my case.

By burning bridges I am not advocating the severing of relationships that occur when one slashes one’s bosses tires while leaving the building on the last day of your employment, I am referring solely to those bridges that so many people build behind themselves as they venture into new territories in order that they may turn around at any time and race back along those bridges to return to the place from where they started.

Burning bridges removes failure from becoming an option. Not having a bridge to carry one across to the warmth and comfort of safety and security can indeed be a strong and profound motivator.

In 1519, Hernando Cortez, the renowned Spanish Conquistador ordered nine of his eleven ships to be burned  after landing  with his small force of 500 soldiers on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula.

His troops could go into battle with the choice of either winning or dying. Escape was not an available option.

It worked.  They won and established a Spanish empire in a place called Mexico.

When a person tells me they’re going to “try real estate for a while,” or “try financial services for a while,” or “try network marketing” they are presenting a clear lack of understanding of the reality of their situation.

When we say we are going to “try” something we are, in essence, suggesting that we will be putting it on trial to see how it fares.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The business of selling real estate is not on trial, the business of selling financial services is not on trial and the business of network marketing is not on trial. All three have been well tried and found to be fully capable of, and willing to, handsomely reward all those who prove themselves worthy.

It is not those industries that are on trial it is every person who enters those industries who is on trial. The question is never “is the industry good enough for me?” The question is always, “Do I have the courage to make it in this industry?”

The difference between those at the top of these industries and those barely hanging on by their cuticles, lies not nearly as much with knowledge, skill, or talent but rather, with the unwavering determination to succeed at any cost.

Most often the price paid by those who did not succeed, and therefore leave these industries, is a badly bruised ego. Financial challenges can, and will always be overcome if the bridges to safety have been burned.

When faced with only one choice – success – doing what must be done in order to achieve success is no longer an option, it is a way of life.

That, my friends, is why I’m a great believer in burning bridges.

I rest my case.

Till we read again.

 P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, this week introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure

– Over the past few weeks I have done four radio interviews.  These interviews have focussed on my book, Life Sinks or Soars – the choice is yours, and it’s applicability to people in different industries.

I have listed links to each interview and would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to the interviews. Please contact me at rael@raelkalley.com and share your thoughts

       Interview 1     General discussion about the book.

       Interview 2    Applicability to counselling groups and sales organizations

       Interview 3    Applicability to Network Marketing

       Interview 4    Our new 60 Day Coaching Experience, Boot Camp for Your Brain.

–  My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at  www.lifesinksorsoars.com  and let me know what you think.

–   If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, please do so by clicking here. You can also check out, or subscribe to my other blog by clicking here.


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