Burning the boats: a path to confidence and getting what you want
By: Tanya Marie Dube
I’ve always negated the idea of a plan B. I don’t like the idea of a cop out or an easier way lurking behind some corner, pretending to be a life raft, but really is a way of saying “it’s okay if my dream doesn’t work out, I’ll always have this other thing.” Having a back up plan just gives you a reason to say that if it doesn’t work out, it’s because you never really wanted it anyway. And I really should have prefaced that with the fact that our dreams change often, and something you wanted 15 years ago might not be something you really want now. We don’t want to allow old programming to run this new version of ourselves.
Pick one thing and see it through
One of my favourite people, Jill Stanton, says to pick one thing and just do that
thing, tweaking and working it out until it starts to work for you. But I add to that: no back-up plans. It might sound a little hard core, but I like it like that because it pushes me to be my best, all the time and keeps me super charged and uber focused when I am chasing something down full force. Now I don’t want to confuse this idea with control of any kind, because I have learned and I will impart to you that controlling something and forcing it to happen will only give you more of what you never wanted and a bigger problem to deal with in the end. What I’m talking about is carving your path and staying focused on it, trying different things, failing and getting back up until you are an expert in it and you’re off to the races.
Burn the boats and take the island!
Tony Robbins once said “if you want to take the island then burn your boats and you will take the island. Because people, when they are going to either die or succeed, they tend to succeed. But most of us give ourselves a way out and that’s why we don’t have what we want.” I started thinking of all the times I said I would “try” or “do my best”. Why not just say that I’m going to figure out what to do and then do those things so that I will achieve what I want? It’s easier said than done when you’re not used to thinking this way or acting this way. First you have to think that it’s possible, and there’s no better way to start than to say “I believe I can do anything”, and then follow it up with closing your eyes and doing some deep breathing, holding the visualization of you having achieved your dream, feeling what it feels like to have that one thing and think about how your life will change if you do it, and how your life and family will be impacted if you don’t.
How to make it important enough to pay attention to
How to get more of those “happy hormones”
These happy hormones are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. I want to give you a little info on these:
- Dopamine: you can get your brain to regularly release dopamine by exercising regularly, learning to meditate, getting a massage, listening to music and you can even get dopamine supplements. You can also get a dosage of dopamine by eating bananas, almonds, avocados, beans, eggs, chicken and fish. Add a little something from this short list into every meal and you’ll be happier for it. Literally. Laugh, enjoy a healthy sex life, and do things in general that make you feel good.
Serotonin: Work out regularly, working up a sweat. Also learn all about
gut health: how to properly hydrate, eat foods that benefit your brain health and make sure you’re taking a quality pro-biotic. You can also take serotonin supplements and I’ve been told to look for B vitamins and folate in those supplements for best results.
- Oxytocin: known as the love hormone, bond-hormone and cuddle hormone, we can see from the way it’s described that Oxytocin is a bonding hormone, intimacy hormone and love hormone, indeed, so hugging, kissing, sexual intimacy and cuddling all trigger the hormone. It’s that feel-good feeling we have when we are cuddling with our partners, our children and even our pets. Natural oxytocin chemical release in the brain boosts feelings of security, love, compassion and trust with those we have strong relationships with. According to healthline.com, some ways to trigger that chemical reaction cerebrally can be with Yoga, making or playing your favourite music, get or give a massage, tell someone how much they mean to you, spend quality time with friends, meditate regularly, make your conversations count, make food with friends and loved ones and eat together, cuddling or hugging, sexual orgasm, being there for someone who needs you in a way that makes you feel on purpose and useful, and even petting your family pet.
- Endorphins: Endorphins help to regulate your body. After a hard workout, we often feel “great” because they’re natural pain relievers. They’re released in response to pain or stress, but they can also be released during activities like exercise, sex or eating. Endorphins also reinforce social attachments, and if you don’t know it by now, we really do thrive in community: we all love to feel like we belong, like we are making some kind of impact on those around us and we want to matter. Endorphins can boost your self-esteem, help you lose weight, reduce stress and anxiety, help with pain during childbirth. Some signs that you are endorphin-deficient are moodiness, low energy, depression, trouble sleeping and impulsive behaviour among other things. Having a glass of wine, laughing, eating small quantities dark chocolate, dancing, exercise (including sex), getting a massage, having a sauna...so many amazing things to produce those endorphins that we love so much. There are some common ones among all these happy hormones and I’ll leave you to figure out which ones work for you.
My point in teaching you this is that when you can capture the “feeling” of what
you want by picturing yourself having it, those emotions can go a long way in that chemical production and release in your brain, giving you feelings of ecstasy based on visualizations alone. Imagine that...what a cool thing you’re able to do simply by visualizing what you want and witnessing yourself having it. So cool.
You have to know your WHY
So back to burning the boats. When you know what you want and why you want it, it’s not that difficult to stay away, right? How many times have you set your sights on something and then made it happen? It’s not that hard, but you could do it so effortlessly because you knew WHY you wanted it. Knowing why we want something, connecting to a deeper feeling or meaning, will be the reason you have anything meaningful in your life (or not so meaningful). The amount of time we spend thinking about something we want or don’t want and the feelings we have behind that desire is what makes it happen. Suddenly, when you want something and you’re feeling a little obsessed with making it happen, you’re on the phone or online and you’re making it happen.
You’re opening doors, finding the money, coming up with creative ways to make your dream happen. Nothing can stop us when we’re like this. So this is why Tony says Burn the Boats! When you burn the boats, you know that there is nothing left to go back to, so you have no choice but to succeed. And there’s so much truth in that. When we have the option to either fail or succeed with no backup plan, we will find a way to succeed, but we won’t if we have an easy way
out. Why? Because as humans, we are emotional and can be very lazy and left to our own devices, we will find a way to opt out because we tend to let our self-limiting beliefs take over and then it’s literally game over on yet another great idea that we had but we never acted on.
Now imagine the confidence you will build when you have the zest behind what you want and you know the steps to take to at least start out on the path, and as those doors open up, keeping your eye on the prize, you just keep going and going, working for what you want and doing your visualizations, holding that feeling of having already achieved success in this area...I mean, can you say unstoppable!?
How did I survive being a homeless street kid?
When I was 12, I was homeless for six years until I was 18. When I look back on that time or I talk about this during interviews, people often ask me how I did it. They also sometimes ask me how I’m not dead today. And when I look back, truthfully, the only thing I can say is that I had a plan: I knew I just had to make it to 18 and then the whole world would open up for me, and I also knew that I was meant for more, so knowing that it was temporary and not permanent was an essential piece for my survival. I wasn’t going to let just anything happen to me. I’ll be honest and tell you that my central nervous system took a massive hit and
nothing has ever been better for me than meditation and the love and support of my family right now in my life but that’s because I choose peace. I choose love and I’m integrating breathing techniques to slow it down, I refuse to go on medication for anxiety and nervousness, so I take the time to teach myself how to calm down and look at facts and not let myself be carried away in other people’s emotional problems or toxic state of mind.
I simply remove myself and hold the space for them and let it go. Remember that everything you bring into your life, you can still choose whether or not to participate. Think of it like shopping at Winners: you may buy a lot of things because they’re brand name and on sale, but you don’t have to keep them all once you get home.
Calling in opportunities and people into your life should be an intentional thing that you’re doing by being conscious and mindful and aware but sometimes our ego will step in and bring something in that makes us feel off or not right and it’s okay to change your mind and set it free. This is the only way you will be able to step up and truly burn the boats: know who you are, what you want and why you want it. Know yourself enough to know that you can trust yourself and your choices and that if you make a left turn when you feel you should have made a right turn, then just simply reset and make that right turn. But burn the boats. Don’t rely on a plan B. Do everything you can to make your dreams a reality, keep meditating and visualizing and triggering those chemical releases of happy hormones in your brain. Eat well, hydrate often and dream big. You owe it to yourself to get out of your way and chase your dreams. As Jim Carrey so famously said in his MIU Commencement Speech for the 2014 graduating class,
“Fear is going to be a player in your life. You get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future but all there will ever be is what’s happening here in the decisions we make in this moment which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never dared ask the universe for it. You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
Tanya Marie Dube - Born into the foster care system, living in eight homes by the age of two years old, and homeless on and off for six years from 12-18 years old, Tanya-Marie Dubé is a show host, a motivational speaker, published author and online educator. She feels called to use her extensive experiences in life and business to teach ambitious women and men entrepreneurs to stand in their power and reclaim their lives through radical money mindset shifts and personal development skills that help them overcome the hardships that have held them back all their lives. Tanya-Marie is trained and as a Results Life Coach with Tony Robbins' school Robbins-Madanes, and is certified as an Advanced Belief Clearing Practitioner. She has been coaching for 29 years with an educational background in psychology.
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