Taking the beach, assaulting the objective, and accomplishing the mission takes training, tenacity, and momentum. Combat veterans attest that when the bullets start flying, training kicks in. In the middle of the attack, there’s no time to think; you’ve got to execute the plan. In similar fashion, overcoming life’s obstacles can be approached the same way. Listed below are steps to take the objective, whether a beachhead or goal in life.
1. Get off the boat
Recall images from World War II with Marines landing on Tarawa or soldiers on Normandy. They approach the beach, under fire from the enemy in a surface connector. In those days, it was the Higgins boat, known formally as the landing craft, vehicle, personnel (LCVP). It was an overwhelming experience fraught with danger, evoking a terror that threatened to paralyze one with fear. Remaining in place, however, was neither an option nor a surety of safety. In fact, it almost assured death. Survival required momentum and began with getting off the boat. In life, you can fall into a place of complacency caused by a lack of ambition or a fear of change. Success will not simply fall into your lap. You must come up with a plan and then execute it, even in the face of opposition. Executing the plan starts with getting off the boat.
2. Get off the beach
Once off the boat and lying in sand in the prone position, you are in the fight. You only have a brief moment to assess the situation before you have to move again. Lying there on the beach just steps away from the surf, you are in danger of being struck down just as you are getting started. You must get off the beach. Even if the next position is not readily identified the key component at this point is momentum. As you step off to pursue your goals, you may begin to second-guess yourself early in the journey. Resist the temptation to do so and get off the beach!
3. Take cover
You get off the boat and get off the beach while under attack. The next step is to take cover. It might be a shell hole, a coconut log, a downed vehicle, or a piece of micro-terrain. You find someplace to gain protection from direct fire while moving towards your goal. When you are in new territory pursuing your goals, you will encounter naysayers who will ridicule, discourage, and outright attack you. As they say, haters gonna hate. You must get out of their line of fire, which will render them ineffective.
4. Get dispersion
You are not the only one on the battlefield. The reason you must get dispersion between yourself and your comrades is because by maintaining close proximity, one blast, one weapon system, can take both of you out of the fight. There’s a natural tendency to bunch up and congregate, but doing so in combat does not bring you the feeling of strength in numbers. It makes you a liability. When you decide to pursue your goals, it may become necessary to get a little dispersion (get some space) from your friends ... particularly if they tend to enable your bad habits or prioritize frivolous activities.
5. Move forward
Once you have initiated the process and get to this point, you must keep moving forward until you seize the objective. Just as the Marines and soldiers of the Greatest Generation took out the pillbox and machine gun nest, you must keep moving forward until the goal is attained. You eliminate the threat, seize the high ground, and hold your position. Comparing life to combat, or the pursuit of goals to battle may seem a little over the top, but life can be overwhelming. When we remember what tremendous adversity combat veterans faced, the problems in our lives don’t seem nearly as daunting. Learning the lessons and putting them into practice (in other words, letting the training kick in) we too can accomplish some pretty amazing things. So, get off the boat, get off the beach, take cover, get dispersion, and move forward! Now get moving.