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Burn The Ships!


So I was on a coaching call with my amazingly fabulous coach Andrea J. Lee and we were doing our typical stuff “I’m, working this….I needs help with that…” when suddenly, in true AJ Lee style, the conversation turned to the stakes I am playing for.

First she asked, “What would you let stop you?”

I felt so smart and smug, “Well Andrea, my post last week called “What Stops You” talks about that. I listed all the scary things I’m really afraid of out in front of god and everybody.”

Score one for the good student. I thought.

“Uh huh.” she says. “Let me ask you this: are you playing to win Sarah or are you playing not to lose. Because it sounds like you are playing not to lose.”

Crap. She’s on to me.

“What would it look like for you to be ALL IN with no way back? How do we burn your bridges? Orbetter yet, burn you


r ships like Cortez?”


I couldn’t answer the question.

So I got direct kick in the ass instructions and this post is my starting point.

I am terrified to burn my ships. I want a safety net. And yes, I am afraid I will fail and look ridiculous in front of people who so matter to me.

But just saying those things isn’t enough. In fact, saying I’m afraid is a cop-out. It makes me feel like I am doing something big and daring when actually I’m not. I’m doing something that I hope YOU will think is daring. Because I’m all about what other people think.

What is daring is saying this: 2010 is my make it or break it year. Actually the first quarter is my make it or break it window. All my chips are in. And if I don’t make it, I am PACKING IT UP.

What does packing it up look like?

This: shutting down my blog, ending my social media engagement, giving up my coaching practice. It means getting a job, working for someone else, possibly putting my child in daily after school care and not seeing him between 7:30 and 6pm ever day, leaving behind the tribe I’ve finally found, forfeiting the way of life and the way of work that I have come to cherish during the past five years.

Would I survive all that? Sure I would. Do I WANT to survive all that? Just thinking about a life like that makes me want to throw up. No – it makes me want to curl up in a ball in my bed and stay there.

But that is my future if I don’t pull out all the stops, play to win and DECIDE I am burning my ships.

(And just so you know, for me burning the ships means more than just saying there is no Plan B. It means eliminating Plan B and C and D altogether. )

I’m no longer willing to be afraid of anything I listed in last week’s post.

-If I embarrass myself and look so horrifically foolish in the first quarter of 2010 (so foolish I don’t want to show my face on twitter or in public for fear of the ridicule), I still have people who will love me and hold my hand and step back out again with me.

-If I say something that pisses off you, my tribe, or anyone else I think highly of (so much so that you slam my name all over the web and in the real world), I can either a) apologize if I am wrong or b) realize that I am not going to make everyone happy all the time.

– If I splay myself open and find out someone doesn’t care (which will break my heart into a million pieces), I will remember that the important thing is that I told the truth – my truth – which all I can ask of myself in this life. This won’t stop my heart from shattering, but it will give me something to hold onto while I am picking up the pieces.

– When I am afraid that there is not enough love, or money, or recognition or success to go around (there is a part of me that still believes that more strongly that I want anyone to know considering what I do for a living), well….I’ll just have to work on my scarcity mentality.

-And if that super influential, important person decides they don’t like me (and that opinion matters WAY more than I want to say out loud), well all I can say is FU because I am awesome.

-If I make a mistake – and I am certain I will make many of the kind that make me feel stupid, fraud-like, embarrassed and ashamed – I can apologize, make things right, re-group with my nearest and dearest and keep on going.

– When I don’t know the endgame, and I don’t and I won’t (even though I pretend I do to keep myself from feeling so untethered that I might fly off the planet), I can take the next indicated step or leap and remember that “action is the middle finger to doubt” (thank you John Haydon).

– And when I avoid pain (the heart-wrenching, rattles my core, puts me under the bed kind)  I can remember that my greatest lessons have come from feeling extreme pain (and I can call on my BESTEST friends to hold on to me while I get to the other side of it – which is way better than remembering some dumb lesson).

So, to begin setting my ships on fire (I still have more to do), I flashing a giant middle finger to EVERYTHING I am afraid – no – everything I am physically, to-my-core, in a caveman survival kind of way – TERRIFIED of.

I’ve lived through worse than anything you can dish out.

And you, my tribe, are bearing witness to my declaration. This game is on!

(Ready to burn your ships too?! This is as good a time and place as any to make your declaration!)

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