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When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.

Howard Schultz

A week-end update on Slack turned into a strategic discussion among our leadership team. The conversation culminated in a hashtag, today’s version of a bumper sticker, billboard, or headline.


I smiled as I read it. Yes, I appreciated the fashionably creative use of the hashtag as well as the clever emphasis applied through a more appropriate “f ” word. However, the spirit of the hashtag was reflected in similar responses among our leadership team: we’re all in.

The Slack exchange moved me to deeper consideration of what it means to be “all in.” In poker, to go all in is to bet everything on a hand. In a broader sense, going all in is to completely invest oneself in a particular direction. To be all in is to be committed.

Our team was talking about our organization and direction but where else might we go all in? Consider what it means to commit:

  • To a venture
  • To a cause
  • To a relationship 
  • To a full life 
  • To reaching your potential

Are you all in on the things that matter to you? What does it really mean to be all in? Mentally – do you put your attention, attitude, and thought toward your priorities? Physically – do the most important things get enough of your physical attention and effort? Spiritually – do you bring your heart and soul to bear on the things you pursue?

What does it really mean to be all in? To be all in is:

  • bringing your best effort
  • being hopeful 
  • focusing and being present for the most important things
  • pushing back when you disagree
  • evangelizing and promoting your product, organization, mission, and purpose because you believe in it
  • creating
  • being unreasonable in your expectations of yourself and others
  • doing more than what is expected
  • not measured by a time clock
  • improving every day
  • moving things forward every day
  • preparing 
  • anticipating 
  • managing up
  • forgiving 
  • about more than a paycheck
  • putting your time, energy, heart, and soul into what matters most
  • choosing to show up every day and strive toward the best version of yourself
  • pursuing success and understanding what that means to you and those around you
  • taking smart risks because you took the time to consider them thoughtfully

Some might argue that going all in is risky. They are right. When you commit yourself, your energy, your heart, and your soul to something, you run the risk of disappointment, heartbreak, and loss. Going all in does not mean you will win. There are no guarantees.

However, if you are brave. If you choose to be bold. If you muster the courage to go all in, there are great possibilities. All great possibilities lie on the other side of that commitment. Not safety. Possibility. What might you find on the other side of going all in?

  • Success
  • Wealth
  • Satisfaction
  • Purpose
  • Change
  • Acknowledgement
  • Joy 
  • Co-conspirators
  • Friendship
  • Unity
  • Membership
  • New possibilities

Not all risks are financial. Not all rewards find their way to your bank account. Choosing to go all in elevates you and those around you. When you draw that line in the sand, you tell the world: “This means enough to me to take a chance and expose myself to disappointment. I believe.”

Make the choice to go all in. Go all in on yourself. Go all in on your life. Go all in on your marriage, your children, your charity, your friendships, your job, and any thing else you choose to pursue. Your time, heart, soul, effort, and energy are far too precious to do any less.

Finally, there will come a time when going all in leads to something less than what you hoped. That’s ok. You will find that even in disappointment or loss, you will learn, evolve, and grow. You will still arrive at a new place because you became something more along the way. There are no promises, only what we might become. Go all in anyway.


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