Burn the Canoe

A disclaimer: this story isn’t mine. It was from a wonderful presentation I heard at a conference; however, it’s very timely with what I’ve been blogging this week.

There was a tribe of Native Americans that lived across the lake from an enemy tribe. The chief was preparing his braves to launch an attack. They rowed across the lake in their canoes. When they reached the shore, the chief ordered them to burn the canoes. They entered the enemy village and conquered the tribe.

Why did the chief have them burn the canoes? So no one could run away. He understood that without an escape plan, his braves would fight that much harder.

The speaker suggested that when you create goals for your life, don’t hang onto the lifeline that will bring you back to the life you already know. I’ve heard this in Mary Kay sales meetings as well. Some of the top directors suggest that if you want to replace your current income by selling Mary Kay, you should quit your job and sell Mary Kay. This allows you to be fully invested in its success. You aren’t dabbling it on the side.

What is your lifeline? Do you still have the canoe sitting on the shore of the pursuit of your dreams? Maybe it’s time you burn your canoe so you can pursue your dreams with the vivacity it is going to take to make them a reality.


Jana Axline is president and leadership coach at Axline Solutions and author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Axline Solutions.

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