The Power of When Commitment and Confidence Overlap

This past weekend, I had the honor to speak and participate with my friend, Dave Albin, in two events. Dave is the founder and President of Firewalk Adventures. These events were unique where we brought together an inspirational message about how when you embrace uncertainty, you ignite opportunity with an opportunity to break boards and walk on fire to show how to embrace uncertainty.

The participants for these events were members of the Modesto Sunrise Rotary, ( who sponsored the event), military veterans, first responders, single mothers, and abused children.

If you have followed my journey, you would know that I have a passion for supporting our first responders and our military heroes. I’ve learned over the past several years that many in these groups have struggled and or fallen on hard times. They live in a world of uncertainty.

One thing you learn about our military vets, first responders, and single mothers, they have commitment. Whether it is to their country, communities, or families, they have shown through their actions that commitment.

But the more I have been around them, I have learned that many of them are going through uncertainty. When I was training for my first Hudson River Seal Swim, I learned from my military friends how many of their brethren were having hard times and the suicide rate that is public knowledge is not accurate, it is much higher. When I speak with first responders, they tell me about the challenges they are enduring, especially ones who have responded to extremely traumatic experiences such as 9/11.

So when Dave and I discussed how we could replicate my talk and Dave’s board break and firewalk event we did in New York City next to the Hudson River where US Airways 1549 went down, vets and first responders were an immediate thought, and Operation Do No Harm was born.

As I was doing my preparations for the event, I was going back through my experiences and the experiences of the top-level athletes to learn references for how I and others overcame their challenges. And there was something that kept coming up.

If you understand what the difference is between the best athletes and the best of the best, it is very slim. It’s what Tony Robbins calls the “1%,” the difference between being excellent and outstanding.

When I looked back through my life, whether in athletics or sales, it was the same, there were only one or two things that I did differently to be outstanding in that moment.

And when I looked at what happened during the time US Airways 1549 was hit and the time everybody was off the plane, something similar happened and tragedy turned into a miracle.

In all of these situations, the athletes, crew, and I were giving an excellent effort and committed. But when those situations such as Scottie Scheffler winning the Masters yesterday, or the crew executed on 1/15/09, or moments when I excelled, it was when commitment overlapped with confidence.

You may have seen this play out in the Super Bowl when someone I went to college with, missed a field goal at the end of the game and their team lost. He had commitment but didn’t have confidence in that moment.

Yesterday at the Masters, when Scheffler made the birdie on the 9th hole and Morikawa had a double bogey, Scheffler gained confidence and finished with four birdies and a green jacket.

So as I prepped for the event, I focused my remarks on sharing my story and the lessons I learned through my story, sharing how if you have the humility to prepare, you have the confidence to execute. When you have that commitment to prepare, you develop confidence and when they overlap, you get something that helps you grow:


My goal was to show when you face your fears, you get leverage on yourself and when you have leverage, you have the confidence to accomplish just about anything, such as walking on fire.

Walking on fire is just a physical metaphor for having courage, faith, and strength. Having the ability to stand up and face your fears on whatever challenges life sends your way.

This weekend was magical. I set the stage for Dave, telling and showing the audience of business people, military vets, first responders, and abused mothers and children about how to face their fears and Dave and his team followed up by showing them first, by writing their fears down on a board, breaking the board, then walking on fire and then giving them some cooled coals from the fire to remember and associate the experience not only in their mind but in their body.

Adding confidence to their commitment and giving them a reference so the next time they start thinking those thoughts that may lead them to a dark place, they can look at those cooled coals and remember that they had the courage, faith, and strength to do that, they have the commitment and confidence to do it in any aspect of their life, embracing that uncertainty and igniting opportunity.

The next time you are facing uncertainty, commit to facing it and change the meaning of that uncertainty because the meaning you attach to it determines your emotional state. That will help develop the confidence to face it and give you the leverage to overcome that fear.

And the next time you see someone who needs the confidence to overcome their uncertainty, you can step in and say

“Step aside, watch and I’ll show you how to handle it” and you will become their hero, just like our military vets, first responders, and mothers do every single moment of every single day.

Embrace your Uncertainty and you will Ignite Opportunity!

If you would like to learn more about how this experience may help your group, please contact me at or