Commentary

March 28, 2014

‘Burn the boats’

Maj. DAVID LEMERY
56th Component Maintenance Squadron

Though I have read a little about history and a little more about business and leadership, the first time I heard the expression, “Burn the boats,” was just a few weeks ago. It prompted me to look into this theory a little further. The phrase is most attributed to Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez when he landed in Mexico in 1519 with only one objective – to seize the great treasure owned by the Aztecs. Warriors had tried for six centuries to accomplish this feat, none had succeeded, but they all had a fallback plan to take the path of least resistance when the going got too tough. Cortez had a unique advantage; he had complete and total commitment from his men, as failure would result in death.

Though some in the military will face a “succeed or die” scenario protecting our freedoms, most of us will not. We will, however, be faced with a similar decision to burn our metaphorical boats so we can move only forward. Commitment is one of the foundations of success. We can all cite outliers in every theory but for the bulk of the bell curve, commitment is required to succeed. You saw it in Super Bowl XLVIII just recently as those men were completely committed to coach Pete Carroll’s game plan. Companies like Kodak, Kimberley-Clark and Dell burned their boats to reinvent their business models in an effort to stay relevant.

A boat I have seen not burned a lot as a commander is in regard to making the military a career. Often times, Airmen delay making a career commitment and do not prioritize physical fitness, professional military education, advanced degrees and Weighted Airman Promotion System tests. These are not areas in which a lack of time is a friend. Deliberate planning and commitment to the results are required to succeed. Without the commitment to take care of Air Force requirements, the Air Force often has no choice but to force you back to your fallback plan.

Burning a boat involves sacrifice and getting rid of something you love for something you love more. Sacrifices of time, resources and effort are part of what we input into the equation to receive greater output. The correlation will vary depending on how much you can sacrifice. The contestants on “The Biggest Loser” are able to sacrifice all their time to get fit and lose weight, and their results are pretty remarkable. Full-time Airmen can’t make that sacrifice, so you shouldn’t expect similar results in a week, but those fitness, educational or promotional goals can still be attained over the long haul.

What great treasure are you looking for? Take some time to examine what boats you have in your life that are keeping you from being 100 percent committed to being an exemplary Airman, parent, spouse, volunteer or friend. Figure out what you are passionate about and go all in.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
DT_JTC0216

Supreme allied commander comes home

Gen. Philip Breedlove, left, NATO supreme allied commander, Europe, visited Luke Air Force Base Sept. 12. Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, right, 56th Fighter Wing commander, briefed the general on Luke’s evolving mission to train F-3...
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

Command post chief averts potential disaster

Senior Airman Grace Lee Capt. George Normandin, 56th Fighter Wing Command Post chief, received the Aviation Safety Well Done Award Sept. 2, presented by Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander. Normandin took control of an F-...
 
 

You are what you eat

“You are what you eat.” This is a generic statement or a notion. It implies that if you eat healthy, you will be healthy. But how true is this in the world today? What we eat, drink, wear, drive and buy is often an attempt to construct a social identity. It lets others know who...
 

 

Knowledge equals power

The phrase “knowledge is power” is said to originate from Sir Francis Bacon in 1597. Personally, I remember learning the phrase from the old television show “School House Rock” theme song. The key idea behind the phrase is the more knowledge you accumulate, the more “power” you will have. Here is a simple breakdown: knowledge...
 
 
Senior Airman
MARCY COPELAND

EOD Airman changed for good by life experiences

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Tech. Sgt. David Gerig’s, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team chief, first assignment after technical school was Kadena Air Base, Japan. The challenges in life are often w...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

CFC kick-off The 56th Fighter Wing Combined Federal Campaign kick-off charity fair is 9 a.m. Monday in Bldg. 1130 auditorium. Learn about the 2014 campaign ‘Serving Our Country. Supporting Our Community.’ and visit with local charities. For more information, call Maj. Jennifer Preyer-Bonton at 623-856-7144. Hispanic Heritage Month National Hispanic Heritage Month began Monday and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin