Every now and then, ESPN will air the World Series of Poker. They play Texas Hold’Em for gobs of cash and bragging rights.
The most dramatic moments occur when one of the players at the table utters two words…
Most of the time, this means the player is putting all of his or her chips on the table. It’s typically an all or nothing move. Get the winning hand and you play on. Lose the hand and you’re done for the day.
You can feel the excitement and intensity rise in the room when those words are uttered. Sometimes a player will call “all in” because he is sure that his hand will win the round. Other times, a player knows this is a last ditch effort to remain in the game.
While I don’t know a lot about poker or all of the nuances to playing Texas Hold’em, I do know a little something about going “all in.”
You and I live in a society that struggles with the notion of going all in. We’re losing our ability to focus on the present moment. We are getting comfortable with going partly or mostly in.
How many times have you experienced the following?
- You’re at a table with friends and everyone has their phone out.
- You choose to sit in the back row instead of the front row.
- You don’t say yes to something because you might get a better offer.
- You commit to nothing in order to keep your options open.
- You are present physically but your mind and attention is somewhere else.
Everything on this list is a tendency I have to battle against in my own life. Each one stands in the way of my ability to go all in with the people and experiences in my life.
If this sounds like you as well, I think we need to challenge ourselves. I want you and I to live this day in such a way that we go all in with the people we are with and the projects we need to accomplish!
Going all in with the people and experiences in our life is similar to the Texas Hold’em table because it raises the intensity of the moment. We are willing to be fully present and fully engaged with those around us. We bring our absolute best to the projects and activities and work we do.
There are tremendous benefits to being the type of person who is willing to go all in.
1. It’s contagious.
When you raise the bar, it raises the bar for those around you. Your actions and attention actually draw others into the conversation and experience. When you are fully present, it’s more difficult for those around you to disengage. Your example may be the very thing that encourages the other members of your team to go all in.
2. It gives you a greater return.
It is more than a cliche’ – you get out of it what you put into it. If you sit on the back row of a concert, you’re going to miss all of the excitement and energy that occurs on the front row. You learn more on the front row of class than you do on the back row (here’s some research). When you give your best you will have a greater sense of satisfaction. You and I both know when we’ve put forth a half-hearted effort. At the end of the day, do you want to reflect on your day by saying, “I wish I would have…” or by saying, “I’m so glad I…”?
3. You grow.
You won’t grow by remaining in your comfort zone. You grow when you’re stretched beyond your ordinary contribution. The Law of the Rubber Band states that you are most useful when you are being stretched. Being stuck in life isn’t as much about your failure as it is about your focus. Going all in requires us to downsize and simplify. We can’t go all in on everything. When we say yes to something it also means no to other things. Going all in helps us to focus on giving our absolute best to what’s most important.
Maybe you feel like your life isn’t moving forward. You aren’t making much progress on your Plan A because you keep trying to juggle all of the details of your Plan B, C, D, and E. Maybe it’s time to focus all of your heart and soul on that one thing. I know it feels risky. I know it can be scary. I also know there’s a big difference between partly in and all in.
Take the challenge for today…live this day in such a way that you go all in with the people you are with and the projects we need to accomplish!