Give it your ALL – whether that’s IN or OUT Leave a reply Some of my most satisfying and rewarding experiences in life have come from my can-do, make-it-happen, no-matter-what mentality – topped off with a heaping dose of refusal to quit. What some people like to refer to as “stubbornness” – but I’d prefer to call “tenacity” – has allowed me to finish marathons, ultra-marathons and triathlons. Compete in multi-day adventure races. Most recently, to become a finalist in a national body transformation challenge. Start my own advertising and communications company at the age of twenty-four. Start a new company (The Adventuresome Life) twenty years later. And to raise my son almost entirely on my own, as a single mother – having endured and survived the thirty-six hours of labor required to give birth to him in the first place. In all of these instances I was what I like to call ALL IN. What do I mean by ALL IN? Being ALL IN requires commitment. It involves a plan, prioritization and laser focus. It’s a deep need or want to do whatever it takes. It’s fueled by a passion burning inside of you. ALL IN can be about anything in life. It’s not just about physical accomplishments. It can apply to relationships, health, service, career, creativity, monetary gain, home, family, travel, entertainment. Whatever the category, I’ve found the most amount of fun, excitement, joy and satisfaction when I’m ALL IN. ALL IN is ALL GOOD – pretty much – if you know where and how you want to be ALL IN. But that’s where things can get wonky – where the tug-of-war battle gets ugly. When we want to have an ALL IN experience with everything in life. We want the perfect body. To be the perfect mom. To cook the perfect meals. On-time. To have the perfect family. Wear the perfect clothes. Have the perfect job. Make the perfect amount of money. Say all the right things. Do even better things. And we want it to be easy and to feel happy about it all – all of the time! When you’re constantly beating yourself up or feeling dissatisfied for not having this, accomplishing that, feeling good enough, spending enough time here when you need to be over there – it’s time to ask yourself when, where and with whom you can be ALL IN – really. To make it easier, it’s important to remember: Tip #1 – If you’re trying to be ALL IN – you’re probably not really ALL IN. If it doesn’t feel easy on some level – like a no-brainer – then accept whatever it is for exactly what it is. Something you make room for in your life but isn’t something that fuels you and therefore can’t have your ALL IN attention. When I’ve been truly ALL IN in life – there wasn’t much thought or effort required in deciding to be ALL IN. In other words, I didn’t need to be convinced. A good rule of thumb is a quote I attribute to Marie Forleo: “If it ain’t a HELL YEAH, then it’s a HELL NO!” Conversely, when I’ve been ALL IN and I’ve hit bumps in the road, or things got difficult, I may have wavered or needed to recharge – but I knew I would never quit. Tip #2 – Don’t expect ALL IN outcomes, when you’re only partially in. For example, I didn’t become a finalist in a national body transformation competition by eating whatever I wanted and working out every once in a while. It was a 90-day unwavering commitment. I cut sugar, alcohol, and most carbs COMPLETELY. I counted every calorie, gram of fat, protein, and carb that entered my mouth. And I worked out every day – without fail. Specific workouts designed to burn fat and build muscle – sometimes two to three times per day. And I invested in the expertise of a trainer and a nutritionist to guide my efforts. Now the challenge is over. And my health and fitness is still a huge priority for me. But my new ALL IN looks a little different now. I’m not nearly as regimented and restricted. But I do have a new plan and discipline that feels good to me, is feasible for me to implement now, and keeps me healthy and fit. Tip #3 – Being ALL IN in one area of your life REQUIRES being ALL OUT in other areas. Growing up, I was a multi-passionate kid. I remember telling my dad one day in high school that I was frustrated. I was in dance, played basketball, ran track and cross country and was a decent student. I felt like I was OK at most things, but I wasn’t the best at anything. At that time in my life I thought it was about competition or proving something. But looking back now I realize it was about passion. I wasn’t giving my ALL to any one thing. I was spread out all over the place – keeping a lot of balls in the air. There’s nothing wrong with multi-tasking and enjoying many different things. In fact, most of us – women in particular – take great pride in our ability to manage so many things at once. But for me, I generally feel better when I have something, at any given moment, that is my ALL IN focus. It’s just a matter of deciding what that is – and therefore not allowing everything else to interrupt or overshadow it. For instance, Michael Phelps didn’t become the decorated Olympic Champion swimmer that he is by spending a lot of time and energy playing golf. It’s not to say that he doesn’t have a unique talent, but I guarantee you he earned those gold medals with unprecedented commitment, focus, hard work and passion. Tip #4 – Recognize areas where you can be ALL OUT, so that you can be ALL IN when and where you choose. Here are some helpful hints: You’re choosing it out of fear rather than desire and passion. It doesn’t bring you joy. It doesn’t make being ALL IN easier for you. It interferes with what you really want to accomplish. It feels demanding and uncompromising. It distracts you and you use it as an excuse to procrastinate. It puts you down or reminds you that you can’t do what you really want. It presents constant challenges that don’t seem necessary, supportive or purposeful. It’s important to remember that being ALL IN doesn’t mean you need to have it all figured out. And being ALL OUT doesn’t mean you have to give other things up entirely. It just means you choose strategically and thoughtfully – the people, places, things and actions that bring you closer to what you really want. Do you have something you’ve been putting off? Denying yourself? Half-ass attempting to accomplish? Sort of getting around to? You ready to be ALL IN? Me too! For me, it’s building and growing The Adventuresome Life. My biggest dreams, desires and passions are in this company – and I’m currently only creating and sharing about ten percent of what I envision it to be. You ready to end this game of tug-of-war? Let’s get ALL OUT together, so we can be ALL IN exactly where we want to be. Where can you be ALL OUT? And where are you going to apply that new found energy, time and focus to be ALL IN? It feels sooooo good to declare it…and you just may help somebody else in the process.