Tag Archives: focus

Give it your ALL – whether that’s IN or OUT

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.

60 Days to Change!

I never could’ve imagined getting the physical results I did. That a body transformation challenge would so drastically help transform all areas of my life. I said “no” to a lot of excuses, habits, foods, distractions and other past priorities during the challenge. I discovered that what I got out of the challenge equally matched what I was willing to put into it. – Dana Shane


Physical Lessons I learned:

  • How to eat in order to fuel my body for optimal performance in fitness and day-to-day life, rather than exercising to counteract unhealthy nutrition choices – producing significant results in my physique as well as my psyche.
  • Strength training and lower zone heart rates burn fat more effectively and efficiently. Who doesn’t love that?!
  • Life-long health and fitness is a team sport – you will have more substantial permanent results when you seek the guidance of professionals and surround yourself with health conscious peers and community.
  • By the time you – or anyone else – starts noticing a difference in your physique, you will already have put in a lot of work and discipline. So it helps to be clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing and remember it every day – every moment if necessary. In other words – it all starts with your head!

But the physical improvements that came out of the challenge ended up being secondary to the transformational life lessons I learned.


Life Lessons I learned:

  • You will get out of any experience, exactly what you are willing to put into it. If you’re “thinking about it” or “sort of committed”, it will continue to be something you’re thinking about or you sort of make happen.
  • You can’t stay comfortable and expect to grow. Plain and simple. You have to be willing to try new things. To step into uncharted territory. To make attempts at things you don’t know you can do.
  • In order to make change you have to be willing to admit that what you’re doing already is not working (even if you think it should be). Be willing to learn and open yourself up to new information and possibilities. Accept support and guidance. “Wanting” something is not enough. Wanting it so much you’re willing to do exactly what it takes to make it happen is everything.
  • Achievement lies in the day to day DOING. The action. We all have things we would like to accomplish. But it takes daily commitment, focus and discipline to get there. Make a plan. Focus on the moment you’re in. Do what needs to be done each day. Then wake up and do it again the next. Tweak and improve your plan when you learn something new and beneficial that works for you.
  • Nothing is ever accomplished alone. So put yourself out there. Ask for support. Surround yourself with people who want what you want – for you. A lot of us hide our dreams and goals for fear we won’t actually accomplish them. Take that fear out of the equation and go for it!

If you’re inspired to participate in the Lifetime Athletic Club 60-day Body Transformation or Weight Loss Challenge, a new challenge just started this weekend, and you can still sign up. If you live in blood sugar levels the Des Moines area, and you’re looking for a trainer to get you started or guide you all the way through, get in touch with Payton Mass. He’s a miracle worker!

P.S. The photos have not been altered in any way, but there was tanning involved…obviously!

But really I hope this inspires you to go after anything you want in your life. Don’t forget to take the Weekly Challenge and write about it in your FREE TAL Weekly Adventure Journal.

Going after something you want is truly an Adventure! You will always learn something from the experience, and who knows you might just get exactly what you want – and then some!

To see more before and after photos from my body transformation challenge and to read more about what I did and why I did it go to:


Lifetime Athletic Club members can STILL VOTE now through August 22nd, 5 p.m. CST, one time per day. If you’re a member and you’re inspired and think I deserve to win, please vote!