What If You Were All In?

In case you missed it (e.g. you were in a coma), the Cleveland Cavaliers recently changed the course of history (and perhaps a region and a generation) when they improbably won the NBA Championship. It’s an amazing story and experience, but there’s a lesson buried within this historic event that you may have missed. Let’s start with a basic question.

What is LeBron James’ job? In fact, it’s the same job for every member of the Cavaliers. Answer: Basketball. Basketball is his and their job. What is your job? No matter what you do, you have a job or a career. If you own a business, that is your job or your profession. So LeBron and the Cavaliers have a job, and you and I have a job. Simple—we all have this is common. Now let’s look at a couple of differences.

One key difference comes down to a commitment. When LeBron James returned to play for the Cavaliers, he made a promise or a commitment – to win a championship for the team and the city. Interesting commitment, and a bit of a set-up since he couldn’t literally control that outcome, but he clearly had made a commitment within himself and then publicly proclaimed it. Now THAT is a difference between LeBron James (and the Cavaliers) and most of us. Most of us have not made any commitments regarding our jobs or our businesses. We set goals, but that’s not the same as making a commitment – especially a public commitment – and THAT is a big difference between being normal and being a champion in whatever that means to you. And there’s one other key difference.

Throughout the season and the playoffs, the Cavaliers’ slogan was “All In.” In fact, the fans embraced this mantra and wore shirts of it, chanted it and likely even prayed about it – ALL IN! Prior to game seven of the NBA finals, I posted the following on social media: “My hope is that at the end of the game none of the Cavaliers have anything left.” In other words, that they had literally given everything that they had to and into the game. After that, the result would be what it would be. I didn’t hope they would do their best (which is impossible to determine), but that they would have nothing left.

At the end of game seven – when it was all over – we will always remember the sight of LeBron James on his knees on the floor in tears and (I would say) with nothing left to give. LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers gave it all they had – they WERE ALL IN – and that, I believe, was the difference.

Now let’s get back to you and I. If we have jobs or careers just like LeBron and the Cavaliers have jobs, why aren’t we all in? When have you ever given your job, your goals or your dreams absolutely everything you have (even for a day) so you can say that you had nothing left? I’m not talking about working a long day – we’ve all done that. I’m talking about giving everything we have (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and courageously) such that we literally have nothing left to give. Thanks to LeBron and the Cavaliers, I’m now seeing this gap in my own efforts, commitments and intentions.

To me there is no difference. I can commit. I can give more. I can be ALL IN in ways I’ve never imagined. The question is not whether I can, but whether I’m willing to. Even more, the question is not whether I’m willing to, but whether I will. What if you were ALL IN with your job, your goals, your relationships and your dreams? What IF? If you’d like a hint of what it might be like, go back and watch the finish of the Cavaliers’ amazing win and celebration, and then imagine the same thing in your life.

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