BURN YOUR BOATS, BRIDGES AND BACKUP PLANS

The Shockingly-Soulful Truth Behind Using Hard-Core Commitment Practices – To Help Get Yourself Into Massive Action (Under ANY Circumstances)!

Road warning sign in Canada - No Exit. This sign is used in Ontario.Once upon a time, there was an Unstoppable Dude named Ulysses . . .

He was on a sailing mission — and NOTHING was going to stop him.

But one day he found himself headed toward Muse-Infested waters… and he knew the Sirens of the Sea would soon be casting their spell upon his boat, himself, and all the men aboard ship.

He ALSO knew that these singin’-sisters would render all his men (including himself) hopeless, helpless, useless puddles o’ jiggly-jello-y-love.

Turning them into a bunch of big hairy goofballs who would surely ram Ulysses’s ship right into the shore (drowning them all in the process, FYI).

And all in the hopes of getting’ a lil’ sumpin’-sumpin’ from the smokin’ hot songstresses awaiting them on the sand.

(…Oh, silly boys! )

But Ulysses had been around the block a time or two – and thought: “I can’t keep lettin’ these chicks get to me, man!

(Or something like that.)

So he devised a brilliant plan – one where he would actually hijack his “Future Self” – to GUARANTEE a positive result (using a technique that only a small selection of Unstoppables still use to this day).

It is this VERY SAME TECHNIQUE (“The Ulysses Contract”) that I used this past month to:

Finish my book; give 3 live talks; win a competition; write my newsletter regularly again; avoid all procrastination; and get more done in 30 days . . . than I have in the past 30 MONTHS!

In fact, it’s my FAVORITE TECHNIQUE EVER – and my “Secret Weapon” for conquering any fear, phobia, procrastination or put-off project. Any time. No exception.

Especially when a part of you really, really REALLY doesn’t want to do something . . . (but you know you should).

So back to Ulysses…

He knew what was coming. He knew the seductive powers of these nasty nymphettes – casting a spell over men with their soothing, sultry voices that no one could resist.
And before you know it: His boat would run right up into the jagged rocks surrounding the Sirens’ Island… and sink silently to the bottom of the sea.

Phoooooooey!

Beautiful Mermaid with fish tail sitting on rocks and looks at a ship on the horizon

So Ulysses made a plan…

He knew that his “Future Self” was weak — and would fall prey to the women’s lure.

So he set things into motion – in his “here and now” – to PREVENT his “Future Self” from going Ga-Ga over those soggy, sodden vixens…

First, he got some wax, and told all his men to plug up their ears before reaching the Sirens’ lair… protecting them all from the maddening melodies.

Next, he had his men tie him to the mast of the ship. Tightly. (And they were to beat him silly if he attempted to escape!)

He stressed: “Once we near those Caroling-Crazies —under NO circumstances are you allowed to listen to me, follow my directions, or veer off course… Not 1 stinkin’ bit!”

(Or something like that…)

And sure enough, as the ship drew near — and Ulysses began to hear the glorious chorus from the island’s distant shores — he went stark freakin’ MAD. Nutsballs. Bonkorama. Certifiably wackodoodled.

But… his plan worked.

He set in place a situation where he went unscathed. He was safe. He sailed onward. And he saved all his men in the process, too.

(Whew!)

So what the HELL does this have to do with business, or life?

A LOT. You’ll see why in a minute…

A person is standing with their head against the wall in between two beach huts

BACK AGAINST THE CLIFF

Now I’m going to tell you another quick tale that will bring it all home.

This time we’re traveling back to ancient Greece – where a powerful Greek ruler was being chased by an army of Persians.

But one of his Generals got VERY concerned: “Sir, you’re leading our men onto a hilltop, with only a cliff behind them! If the enemy overtakes us, they have nowhere to run… and will surely fall to their deaths!”

And he said in response: “Yuppers!”

(Or something like that…)

He knew that if those men had 0 way out — and NO backup plan to follow — they would fight like an American at the Apple store on Black Friday…

Like crazed, deranged mo-fo’s.

And that’s what I want you to create for yourself, too.

Except:

  1. Your adversary isn’t on the outside. It’s INSIDE. And it’s likely wreaking havoc on your creativity, momentum, and your mission.
  1. You’re not going to end up hurling over a cliff, or drowning in the ocean by the end of this: Hoorah!

Here’s more of what I mean:

Whenever there’s something that I want to do… my SOUL wants to do… my HEART wants to do…

…But my Brain does NOT want to do it!!!

… It’s simply because of the body’s operating system.

You and I are wired to avoid pain. And move toward pleasure.

Our brains are ALSO wired to focus on immediate-gratification (and long-range plans are super-duper-tough for the brain to comprehend).

For example:

I wanted to do public speaking.

BUT…

My brain was telling me it could potentially:

  • BE PAINFUL!!! = I could be rejected, made fun of, fail miserably, or teased mercilessly.
  • BE TIME-CONSUMING!!! = A good talk can take many hours or days to pull off, and the results from a talk can sometimes be far off into the future…

And guess what? With all that garbage in my head, I haven’t given any local talks in EONS!!! (No surprise there.)

(… But not after pulling out my favorite technique this past month!)

dectalk_smOr how about:

I wanted to write a book.

  • BE FRUSTRATING!!! = I might end up writing a bunch of drivel… feel frustrated… and wonder if I’m worthy of ever being a real writer… Blah. 
  • TAKE FOREVER!!! = I knew this wasn’t a quickie-project – and could take me countless hours, many months, or even years to pull it off!

And whadda ya know? I’ve had “Write a book!” on my to-do list for DECADES!!!! And just kept putting it off… and off… and off some more.

(…But no longer!)

bookpic_nl

If you find yourself wanting to do something… Whether that’s:

  • Stop checking email all day
  • Start exercising
  • Clean the house
  • Learn to dance
  • Launch a new program
  • Quit your day-job
  • Stop watching TV at night
  • Read more books
  • Finally start that business

BUT… you just CAN’T get yourself to do it!?!?!?…

…Well, that’s when you want to consider pulling out “THE BIG GUNS…”

In The End We Only Regret The Chances We Didn't Take written on desert road

THE BIG GUNS

The Big Guns” is simple anything that you set up which REMOVES your escape hatches. Puts your back against the cliff. Ties your butt to the mast of your life (and ignores your whimpy, whimpering cries for help!)

For example:

MEET OLIVER SACKS…

When Oliver Sacks – a Neurologist + Author – was writing his first book “Migraine” he got writers block. For MONTHS! Nothing was coming. Nuttin’ at all.

And his frustration level grew… and grew… and grew larger by the day.

But then, on Dec 1, 1968, he pulled out the biggest guns of all (one I do NOT recommend, by the way!)…

[Hold onto your horses for this SERIOUSLY-crazy tale…gulp!]

In total frustration, he sat down and said to himself, emphatically to his inner Muse: “If this book is it’s not DONE in 10 days… then I will commit suicide!”

(Sheesh!)

But strangely, this new imagined threat scared the pants off that inner resistant part of his brain — the part that was slamming on the book-writing-brakes — and poof: that resistant part started to ease up!

He started working. Writing. Words flowed like buddah… And what was previously a fearful task actually became a joyful task instead!

It was as if there was an engine inside of him that started back up that day — kicking into high-gear… and pulling things out of his mind (or through his mind) and out onto the page. …As if he were transcribing it from the Divine!

NOW MEET ZELDA GAMSON….

Then in 1984, Zelda Gamson — a woman who had been a life-long smoker — decided to do something drastic to help her quit, and said to her BFF: “If I ever smoke again, I’m giving $5000 to the Ku Klux Klan!”

And she never smoked again.

NOW MEET LIL’ OL’ MOI…

When I heard these tales (especially Zelda’s) several years ago, it struck a powerful cord. Instantly. Deep down inside.

So I decided to come up with my own “Ulysses Code”, too.

I scoured through my mental database, thinking of the ickiest scenario imaginable… What would light a fire SO BIG under my Bum — that all my stress, avoidance, angst and procrastination would simply melt away (because it had been trumped by something far, far more heinous)?

And that’s when it hit me:

FullSizeRenderDICK CHENEY!!!!!

Dick Cheney is probably one of my least favorite peeps on the planet. (Don’t get me started as to “why” – we can chat about that over an intense cup of coffee one day…)

But the thought of Dick Cheney having my moolah made my stomach churn in the most unpleasant way.

There was NOTHING I wouldn’t do to keep those buckaroos OUT of Dick’s creepy little mitts!

So for years now, I’ve been writing checks made out to Dick Cheney… and mailing them to my best gal-pals. If I commit to doing something – and I DON’T follow through — then that check gets a stamp, and goes in the mailbox, pronto.

(I even keep a pink framed scowling photo of him on my desk… It not only keeps me reminded of my goals — but also cracks me up!!!)

dickcheney_nl

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

  1. It helps your brain fully, 100% COMMIT to the task at hand – so there is 0 compromise, or wonky wiggle-room left for your brain to try to con you out of your plans.
  1. It helps you craft a thought MORE PAINFUL than your urge to avoid your desired outcome…
  1. So you can attach a feeling of disgust to your PRESENT-MOMENT avoidance – in order to win the LONG TERM battle… That way the long-term issue (ie. wanting to write a book) suddenly becomes very VERY important to us… right here, right now.
  1. Basically, it’s a radical approach to quieting your internal fears — because once you remove your mind’s alternate options, backup plans, escape hatches and sneaky sabotage techniques — AND you actually live through the very thing your mind has been freaking out about! — it shuts up.

Because think about it: It’s tough for the brain to scare the crap out of you, once you’ve already DONE it! When you’re standing on the side of “accomplishment” of your goal, your mind gives up. It can’t con you into being scared again. The gig is up, at last!

Sure, sure… This approach may SOUND a smidge “harsh”. But from first-hand experience… it is utterly the OPPOSITE!!!!!

Your mind FINALLY gets on board, and actually starts to help out!

The stress, freak outs, and doubts go away. And what’s left is Y-O-U… on FIRE!!!! — Taking brave, bold action… EASILY!… unlike anything you may have ever experienced before.

No joke.

PELOPONNESE, GREECE- MAY 29: The ritual burning of Judas Iscariot at sea during the Orthodox Easter, May 29, 2013 in Peloponnese, Greece.

BURN YOUR BOATS

So this week, think about some things you’ve been longing to do…

Maybe even things you’ve been struggling with. But just can’t seem to get traction.

Instead of spinning your wheels… or even WORSE: Beating yourself up for not doing it!… Consider burning your bridges, instead.

Get yourself off of “Stuck Island” and onto “Success Island” — that magical place where all the things you want to create are coming true.

Then turn around, grab your Bic, and set that boat a’ blazin!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When there’s no other path but: FORWARD!!!!! …everything gets easier. More fun. More meaningful.

(I DARE you to prove me wrong . . . )

So whadda ya say? Ready to get more traction than you’ve had in EONS?

Ready to check off those long-standing Bucket-List items… at last?

Ready to finally feel that your SOUL is leading the way (instead of your fears and limitations)?

If you’re a totally Unstoppable Woman, share your #1 desired goal — and your “Ulysses Contract” in the Comments-section below… I can’t wait to see your fabulous ideas…

And may this tool shift your life as profoundly as it has mine.

Love ya!
Stephanie

 

© Copyright 2015 Stephanie McWilliams LLC

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4 Comments

  1. Jessica
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Amazing!!!! Congratulations!!!! Where can we buy your book? Also, I recall you sharing this with me in our sessions! It does work! Love you, amazing and magical Goddess!

  2. R
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Re : ” burn your boats…”
    WOW! Such direct, easy to follow writing! Makes we want to grab your book to see what other gems you let loose!

  3. Vicki
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    A few weeks ago I had the thought of having to give money to the NRA (gasp) if I didn’t accomplish something. Now I’m not sure what that “something” was, though I think all the things that were waiting to be initiated are still not initiated. I love the idea of actually writing and post-dating a check, and sending it to a friend. I do know that deadlines tend to work for me, though not self imposed ones, and this kicks it to an external deadline!

  4. Hosting
    Posted May 26, 2016 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Although an unconventional approach, burning bridges provides laser focus to the entrepreneur. The outcome becomes clearer and there are less distractions. Having options may seem like an effective risk-mitigation strategy, but it will only hurt the entrepreneur. A person with a backup plan is likely to use it, which results in settling for far less than what he or she desires.

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