Eaten Alive’s Paul Rosolie on Commitment

Paul RosolieHow committed are you to your ideals? How far would you go to prove your point? On the Discovery Channel’s Eaten Alive, Paul Rosolie hosted a show where he was eaten by a giant green anaconda…on purpose. What can we learn from Paul and his experience?

A leaders’ level of commitment drives credibility, vision, and their ultimate success. When we are committed to achieving a goal, we are focused. Our efforts feel justified and worthwhile. As a result, our steadfast determination is evident to those around us, serving to motivate and build a deeper level of trust. There are three steps each of us can take to more successfully commit ourselves to a goal.

Motivation

It starts with knowing why you’re willing to commit yourself to something. For Paul, he’d been fascinated with anacondas for years.

They’re a misunderstood species. People hunt them and kill them. And I said I want to do something that’s going to grab people by the eyeballs…that would sort of shock people and force a dialogue about what’s going on here — and it’s working.

What’s compelling you? Is it Paul’s social consciousness? Or maybe his desire for publicity? It may be financial incentives, directives from your boss, or government mandates. Either way, understanding the purpose will help you make better decisions, find your ethical line, and get you through the challenging times.

According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter from the Harvard Business School, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to test whether you are honestly prepared to make a commitment. They include:

  • Does your goal get you excited when you think about it and share it with others?
  • Does your idea match your values and beliefs?
  • Is it realistic? Are you sincerely convinced that your goal can be achieved?
  • Are you willing to put your credibility on the line for it?
  • Are you willing to devote your personal time to bring your goal to reality?
  • Are you committed to the long term as you work toward your goal?

If you cannot emphatically agree to each of these questions, you may want to reconsider the significance of the goal and whether you should spend your valuable time working towards it.

Preparation

Being emotionally committed will only get you so far. Before jumping into the belly of an anaconda, Paul was a seasoned naturalist specializing in the western Amazon. He’s frequently been featured by conservation news sources for his work with anacondas, has written a number of books, and is an award-winning wildlife filmmaker.

Like Paul, do your homework. He did not wake up one morning and decide to be serpent food. Paul put over two years into developing a carbon-fiber snake-proof suit to protect him while in the belly. He tested it, reworked it, and tried again until he felt adequately secure. You need to do the same.

Execution

Finally, it is “go time.” The implementation combines your inner motivation with your proficient skills. If you’ve really put the time into the preparation, this should be the easiest of the three steps. Take a deep breath and jump.

True commitment takes more than wanting something really badly. It takes a commitment to hard work, a commitment to overcoming obstacles, and a commitment to achievement. So put on your snake-proof suit, swallow the specially designed pill that measures and broadcasts your vital signs, and get eaten. It may be scary, but the rewards are worth it.