To Become a Better Freelancer, Burn the Boats


I recently heard commitment described as a removal of all the other options. Whether a relationship, a fitness goal, or a freelance career, once you remove the distraction of considering other options, the energy and focus you have to dedicate to your priority is amplified immensely.

A few days after that, I heard a story with a similar message. It originates with a Spanish explorer who devastated the Aztec Empire, so I won’t spend time on him, but there’s a great lesson in his particular story.

This explorer and his crew faced an unfamiliar land full of immense challenges. But upon arrival, the leader gave orders to burn the boats they had sailed in on. By removing the option of going home, he made the group focus on surviving together.

There’s a nice parallel between becoming a freelancer and burning the boats. To become a freelancer is to go all-in on yourself and your vision for your life.

To start realizing your potential as a freelancer, you banish the idea that you can’t, or won’t, become a freelance pro. You remove all the other options and focus entirely on becoming the successful freelancer you know you can be.

You burn the boats.

Photo: Joshua Zader (CC-BY-20)