On commitment, changes, and soul searching.

“The chains of the ordinary are only broken by an act of extreme commitment.”

That is a sentence that I have heard many times throughout my life, in some paraphrased form or another that always struck a chord in me. And one that I need to be reminded of constantly.

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am a person of extremes. My pendulum swings from one rapid side to the next. Thankfully this does not apply to my moods, but it applies to almost every other area in life. I love climbing a tree and getting my hands dirty equally as much as a pampering day at the spa. I can be found on any given day drinking a kale smoothie for lunch but then eating an entire tray of brownies for dinner. Moderation is not a word that I love, nor is it one that is my friend.

Earlier this year, in a desperate attempt to get my health under control, I decided that in 2013 I am going to remove sugar from my diet until my wedding…with the exception of my birthday cake and bridal shower (hey, let;s be reasonable here!). For a person who loves dessert more than anything else, this was extreme. But I spent the better part of 2012 yo-yo’ing. Gaining weight and losing it. Back and forth. Feeling great and feeling disgusting. And it got to a point after Christmas that I just hated how it was all making me feel. It wasn’t healthy physically, emotionally, or mentally. So I made a decision of extreme commitment to remove sugar from my diet. As you can imagine, it has not been an easy ride. I am on day 14 and I feel like it’s been 3 months. And all I want is a cupcake. Or 3.

Sunday in church our pastor, Justin Kendrick, talked about the idea of extreme commitment and it was spot on, exactly what I needed. He talked about facing the giants in our lives and about letting go of things we’ve been holding onto that we shouldn’t be. And then that sentence that I’ve heard many times…

The chains of the ordinary are only broken by an act of extreme commitment.

A few years ago I was giving a concluding graduation speech to a group of International students that I had the privilege of teaching for a year and I shared this story which my pastor also shared at church…

In 1519 a man by the name of Hernando Cortez set sail from the shores of Cuba, headed to the Yucatan peninsula. He sailed his fleet of eleven ships into the harbor of Vera Cruz. He and six hundred men had come to defeat Montezuma and claim the riches of the Aztecs. Hernando Cortez knew that prior to this, people had gathered armies to conquer lands…and failed. And he knew that if he wanted to conquer this land, he had to put together a team of men that were willing to fight for what they believed in. Common practice was to leave guards with the ships, as they might be needed to later return to the old world for supplies–or to retreat from the enemy. But Cortez came for victory and so his strategy was different.

I want you imagine this with me for a second…this commander steps off his ship, and pulls his men together. I am sure the men were expecting some huge, inspiring pep talk but instead Hernando Cortez gave them an order in three words that would forever change their way of thinking. He said “Burn the boats”. And so the boats were burned–all eleven. He wanted his men to know that there were only two options- fight or die.

Because where there is no point of return, you have no option but to change.

What are the chains of the ordinary in your life that need to be broken? The boats the need to be burned? The habits that are destroying you physically, emotionally, and spiritually? The things that you and your spouse keep arguing over but you just won’t budge on? The areas of your business or life that you know need to be changed but don’t seem to change just by making small adjustments? Friends, if you are anything like me, you may need to make an extreme decision if you want to see real change.

So today, I challenge you…whatever that area is in your life or your business that has been bugging you for some time now…make that change. Make a drastic decision if you need to. Turn Facebook off. Quit going on that forum that tears other photographers apart. Get your butt out of bed 1 hour earlier and go to the gym. Vow to turn your computer off by 4:30 so that you can spend time with your family. Make the move to another state/country. Cut the cable. Tell your husband that you love him and believe in him. Whatever that hard decision is that you need to make but seems so difficult to, today, I implore you to do it. Drastic results often times require drastic measures and today, I challenge you to join me in taking some drastic measure to get our lives back to where we want them to be.

If you are interested in listening to Justin’s sermon from Sunday, you can find it here. 🙂

  1. Heidi

    January 15th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Love this Alicia!! Some great advice, hope I can make that drastic change too!

  2. ashley barnett

    January 15th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    LOVE THIS! Love love love. Needed to read it. Thank you!

  3. Kim

    January 15th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Andrew has done this for the past four years. It has made a huge difference for him! You can do it!

  4. Vanessa

    January 15th, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I’m truly blessed to have met you. I enjoy reading your blog and this one so far is one of my favorites. You are truly an amazing person inside and out. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts with us. You are an inspiration!
    Vanessa

  5. Lisa

    January 17th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Love it!! Thanks for the encouragement, and KEEP ON WRITING 🙂

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