How One Word Can Change Your Life

Wouldn’t it be nice if rather than focusing on a million and one new traffic and marketing tactics for your business you could instead understand just one simple word and instantly explode your business? Well you can and it’s much simpler than you might expect.

Those of you that have followed me for awhile know that I am a private instrument-rated pilot and that a lot of my life lessons are, in fact, pilot analogies. So, true to form, so is this one, so buckle up.

It is so easy to become distracted by information and shiny object syndrome. In fact, most marketers and small business owners erroneously believe we are still in the Information Age. But the fact is, today more than ever, the single most important aspect of growing your business is not information or tactics but rather commitment.

Commitment is defined as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc”. And dedicated is defined as “having single-minded loyalty to a task or purpose”.

So, why the 6th grade English lesson? Because I think many of us get lost in the forrest and can’t see the trees right in front of us. Commitment requires us to have a single-minded focus to our business and that starts by making a decision.

And yes, for those that may be trying to jump one-step ahead of me, the single word that can change your life is “decide”. But before we delve into that further we need to step back once again and talk about definitions.

You see it’s really important that we understand the words we use. Many of us go around spouting out “words” with very little understanding or comprehension of what they really mean. Let me give you an example.

Do you know the meaning of the phrase “a general rule of thumb”? Most people don’t and most women would NEVER use the “general rule of thumb” phrase if they knew it’s history.

In the 17th century it was permissible for a man to beat his wife as long as the thickness of the stick did not exceed the width of his thumb. It was so commonplace that it was even adorned with a satirical cartoon named Judge Thumb (don’t believe me, see Wikipedia). While the phrase was used for other general measurements as well, this was clearly the most ugly use of it.

Well, when you spend some time researching the history of the word decide it becomes abundantly clear why I’m so in love with this word. It has become completely watered down in our usage of it today, but the original latin base for the word decide (which came from decidere) meant literally “to cut off from” (from de-“off” + caedere “to cut”). So the original meaning was “to cut off from all other possibilities”.

Now I want you to think about the incredible power behind that. To cut off from all other possibilities. That means when you decide grow your business an extra $100,000 in revenue by year end, you are literally telling yourself that there are no other alternatives, because you’ve deciding to do so and are cutting off from all other possibilities. Powerful.

Brining it back to a pilots perspective.

So I want to tell you one quick little story about the word “decide” and how important it truly is and the reality of it’s true definition and how pilots know and practice this definition each and every day.

Each time you take off in an airplane, there is a very methodical set of checklists that you go through in preparation. It starts before you ever arrive at the airport as a pilot, making sure you’ve had adequate sleep and have not flown excessively as of recent.

Once you get to the airport, the checklist continues. Before you even take the plane out of the hangar you have to ensure it is legally ready to fly and it’s service records are up to date. Then comes the exhaustive pre-flight checklist.

You check the fuel, the electrical system, the physical integrity of the plane, the visual lighting system inside and out, the engine operation and much more. Methodically you progress through each and every item on your various checklists until you finally reach the point of taxiing to the runway for takeoff.

As you position yourself on the runway, you do so clear at the end of the runway so that you have every last foot of takeoff length available to you. Then you center the plane on the runway and begin accelerating.

But here’s the thing, there is a point for every plane where a “go” or “no go” DECISION must be reached, and there is no ambiguity in it. You either have sufficient enough speed and remaining runway to take flight, or you don’t.

As a pilot you must DECIDE to abort that take-off or continue. There is no one you can blame if you choose incorrectly. There is no mitigating circumstance that will explain away your decision.

And you know what the worst thing you can do is? Be indecisive.

That’s right, choosing – even making the wrong choice – is preferable to indecision. Let’s say you choose to take off when in reality you should have aborted. If you do so with complete and immediate action, you will likely still be okay. You might not have the optimal altitude to clear some of the nearby terrain and may have to deviate from the proper takeoff route, but you’ll still likely survive.

But if you’re indecisive and let your mind run amuck going back and forth between “do I” or “don’t I” what will happen is all but certain. You’re gonna crash.

While you’re wasting time trying to figure out what to do you’re plane is hurling itself down the runway consuming more and more of those critical feet. When you finally come to the inevitable conclusion that there isn’t enough room to get airborne, you begin braking. But by then it’s too late – you simply don’t have enough runway left to stop to incredible momentum built up and your plane will go screeching off the runaway and crash into whatever is awaiting it – barrier, ditch, road with car traffic or, in some cases, a cliff.

One such airport is located in the hills of Northern California. Nestled high above the city of Eureka, is a small desolate and quite remote airport named Kneeland.

While not super high in elevation, the airport is at 2745’ of elevation and that means the air has less oxygen which means that small airplanes that would typically land there will need more runway length than they would at sea level. Since this airport is a bad weather alternative landing location for the airports in Arcata and Eureka that are both at sea level, many inexperienced pilots forget to adjust for the density altitude and don’t realize just how small the runway really is (just 2252’ feet in length).

Now I’ve landed my former Cessna 182RG on strips just 1000 feet in length before, so, at 2252 feet, Kneeland airport has plenty of length for the average small airplane, but there is no time for indecision. If you want to know what indecision there will get you, see this accident report or the image at the end of this post.

The same is true in your business. Go or no go. Or, as my favorite quote of all time says, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yeah, I know, I’m dating myself pulling out a Yoda quote, but I truly believe with every ounce of my being that it is the single most important aspect of business you can ever learn.

Do or do not. There is no try.

In other words, DECIDE.

DECIDE… to make this year the year to quit screwing around and treating your business like a hobby.

DECIDE… that this quarter is going to be your best quarter ever.

DECIDE… that you no longer wish to have a J.O.B.

DECIDE… that you will have at least 500 members in your membership site by year end.

DECIDE… that NOW is the time and simply make it happen.

Okay, pilot Troy is off the podium, now it’s time for you to DECIDE to take your business to the level you know it should be. But before I do, remember the title of this post, it’s about how one word can change your life. Look at this image and you’ll see in a very clear way exactly what I’m talking about.

9 Fatalities Kneeland Airport in Recent Years

9 Fatalities Kneeland Airport in Recent Years


The power to decide is a powerful tool, so be careful how you wield it.