Challenge Your Most Brilliant Self: Burn Your Boats

This past Thursday was a rare day I did not duplicate the posting I’d done for Say “Alaka‘i” here on Talking Story, for I gave the publishing day to the announcement of our D5M Ruzuku alpha instead. (It starts today!)

RuzukuD5MRed15Well, some things are not to be denied.

The post was called “Your Edge Comes From Your Inconvenience” and Smilin’ Pat left a comment for me there which reminded me of the story of Hernando Cortés.

I had to look it up, and found the following passage as quite appropriate for our day: Today is your final chance to sign up for our habit-building challenge with The Daily 5 Minutes, and I wonder…

Will you challenge your most brilliant self?

“I’ve never forgotten the story of the famed explorer Hernando Cortés. He landed on the shores of Veracruz, Mexico, in 1519. Wanted his army to conquer the land for Spain. Faced an uphill battle: an aggressive enemy, brutal disease and scarce resources. As they marched inland to do battle, Cortés ordered one of his lieutenants back to the beach with a single instruction: ‘Burn our boats.’ My kind of guy.”

Challenge serves beautifully to introduce you to your best — and most brilliant — self. How fully would you show up each day — at work and in life — if retreat just wasn’t an option?”

—Robin Sharma, The Greatness Guide
(which I highly recommend: One of the most dog-eared books I own)

Well, the D5M habit-building challenge we have starting today isn’t quite that daunting — or is it? Are you still hesitating?

Today is the day!

Last day to sign up for the challenge, AND Day 1 of the challenge.

There is one thing I can confidently reassure you of. If you seize the commitment, and do just one D5M each and every day for the next 15 days with us within the closed Ruzuku environment, you can’t fail to improve your communication skills. At minimum, you will be a better listener.

The only way to fail, is to stop short of the habit kicking in (or to fake it, and if that’s even a remote possibility I prefer you not sign up at all). So let’s do this!

D5M-ing the Ruzuku Alpha:
Recommendations from your Coach

Today is Day 1 of the Alpha, and thus November 16th is day 15. On November 17th we celebrate your new habit! As promised, I have composed a D5M Tip of the Day which will appear in the alpha for the first 5-7 days, and will then custom craft them to the experiences of our alpha group. Here are my early, as-we-get-started recommendations for you:

1. I suggest you focus your habit-building challenge on a team of 4 or 5 people. You will still do just one D5M a day, and therefore, by day 15 they will each have had at least 3 conversations with you, and you can see how it progresses for them ”“ after all, they are creating a new habit too, one of talking to you! So choose the invitation which you feel will work best for the people you have chosen as your D5M receivers and co-builders of the habit. If you missed it, examples of D5M invitations are in this post: The Daily 5 Minutes: How to Get Started

2. Don’t get overly ambitious. Even within the workplaces I personally coach I will only recommend one or two D5Ms a day for a very important reason: People will expect you to follow up on the things they talk to you about, and you must allow time for your follow-up to happen (and the sooner the better). If you don’t follow up, people will stop opening up to you, thinking, “Why bother?”

Bonus Link: Here is another MWA workplace tool which may be of help to you, one which covers the 3 things you want to take note of when following-up well: Improve your Reputation with 1 List

3. The alpha will prompt you for a daily update, for “daily” is what is required to build your D5M habit. 21-28 days is widely assumed to be the timeframe required to build a new habit, but in my experience, the 15 days of our challenge is all you need. I’m giving away the punchline here, but have you ever read the Habit Riddle? Food for thought with all your habits, not just the D5M: You are Your Habits, so Make ‘em Good!

4. Your daily log in the alpha is to be done after you have had your D5M conversation each day. I am recommending people log initials and a time so you can look back over the 15 days and see what times trended for you. E.G:

My D5M was with A.S. at 3:30pm today. Add what you’ve learned and feel comfortable sharing, or use it to ask a question of the community; perhaps you’d like others to suggest responses you had not thought of. Tell us what you notice, and we’ll be optimizing our peer-to-peer coaching.

5. You probably won’t want to tell us everything! Depending on the relationships you are targeting, you may find that keeping a private journal helps you more than the 1 list note-taker linked above in no. 2.

Another Bonus Link: Our all-of-November theme on our sister site, Joyful Jubilant Learning is Writing to Learn. Rick Cecil introduces another Ruzuku challenge there today you might be interested in: Journaling to Reflect and Learn

Sign-up will close at midnight today in your own time-zone. Don’t miss out, for we’re going to burn some boats and watch old communication habits go up in smoke as we create some better ones.

Postscript: After this posting we will continue with our on-going Talking Story publishing Ho‘ohana: About The comments will be kept open on our D5M Ruzuku Alpha Resource Page for those D5M-ing practitioners who might want another talking story place outside the confines of the alpha test parameters —I’ve added the link to the right sidebar so it will be easy for you to find, no matter what page you may be reading here.

Photo Credits: All the D5M/Ruzuku graphics were created by Rick Cecil of More Better Labs. Orange by 96dpi on Flickr and ? by R’eyes on Flickr


  1. says

    Your second point was funny to me by how timely it was. A consultant at our main office instituted a weekly phone conference with all us area supervisors (I’m a HUGE fan of meetings that go for hours on the phone by the way (where’s the “not really” html tag again?). After six weeks of them and several of us keeping notes on promises vs. delivered and following up on them it was decided by the consultant that perhaps a week wasn’t enough time to get things done on their end so now they’re bi-weekly meetings and everybody’s happier.

    I think he made the same mistake a lot of people (myself included) make at the beginning of a program like this, they intend the world and accidentally over-promise and then wind up under-delivering and that’s just the worst. He recognized it and addressed it and we were all happier for it. It’s important that he dialed it back right away, only six weeks into it and didn’t just stop the meetings. That’s the danger. Customers see under delivering and then watch to see what happens next. Is it withdrawal of the offer or adaptation to fix things?
    .-= Rich G. ´s last blog ..Daily Five Minutes for your life =-.

    • Rosa Say says

      Good points Rich. “Under promise and over deliver” is a coaching mantra we use quite a bit, and it works well because the “over deliver” part means you don’t minimize your own self-expectations and you still go for the dazzle.

      I am often guilty of getting too ambitious in my workshop facilitation agendas, for the time that we interact with each other on a more modest lesson presentation is much more valuable – so thankfully, my hefty facilitation prompts get cherry-picked, and I’m the only one who knows!