-by Jaime Willis
“Pike had focused on a goal and would drive forward like a relentless machine. Back in Cole’s Ranger days, they had called this mission commitment, and Pike’s mission commitment was off the charts.”
First things first — I read. I read a lot. I’ve been a prototypical nerd pretty much since the pampers stage. What may surprise you, however, is that I read a lot of pop fiction. I’m ok with my ‘pop’ fiction addiction, and it was reading one of the latest from a favorite author, Robert Crais, that I was inspired to write this post.
Joe Pike is one of the main characters in Crais’ book series. His talents as a Marine, an L.A. Police Officer, and former mercenary aid him as he runs a gun shop in LA and co-owns a private investigation firm with his best friend Elvis Cole. Pike is literally a silent partner–he rarely talks and when he does, it’s as if he’s being charged by the letter. Pike is recognizable as the tall, well-built, brush-cut blond in aviator sunglasses, a sleeveless sweatshirt, and jeans driving a pristine Jeep Cherokee. And, if you didn’t notice before now, you’ll likely also remember him for the two bright red arrow tattoos on the outside of each arm that point forward. Forward is the only direction Joe Pike knows. (Since I can’t post a picture of a fictional character, here’s a pic of WWE superstar John Cena, also a former Marine. Imagine him with sunglasses and red tattoos, and without the WWE trashtalk and the “jazz hands” bit, and you’ve got Joe Pike.)
Even though he’s fictional, Joe Pike’s relentless pursuit of his goals is inspiring to me. When I read the quote I excerpted at the top of the page in Crais’s latest book, I actually stopped reading to digest that a bit.
“Pike’s mission commitment was off the charts.”
I thought to myself, I wonder where my mission commitment is on the charts? When I am pursuing a goal, am I doing so relentlessly or haphazardly and half-heartedly? Am I, like Joe Pike, constantly moving forward?
For those of you who would rather be inspired by a real life hero, look no further than Carl Brashear, the first African American master diver in the Navy, and the inspiration for the movie Men of Honor starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. When Brashear was injured on the job, his injury should have permanently derailed his goal of becoming a master diver. But Brashear’s mission commitment was so high, he chose to get his leg amputated and begin vigorously training to get reinstated to full active duty. In addition to being the first African American master diver, Brashear was the first amputee to return to full active duty as a Navy Diver.
Folks who are successful are frequently so at the cost of a lot of other things. Olympic gymnasts forgo ‘normal childhood’ activities to spend hours a day training in their sports. Bestselling authors got through hundreds of manuscript rejections before becoming an ‘overnight success.’ Actor Will Smith talks about his mission commitment when he says he is not afraid to “die on the treadmill.” Brashear chose his goal to become an Navy diver over keeping his leg–that’s mission commitment in the extreme!
The relentless pursuit of your goal in spite of any and every obstacle is mission commitment. Take a look at what you are trying to accomplish and ask yourself how committed you are to your mission. My guess is there is a one-to-one correlation between your level of commitment and your odds of success.