Where Are You All In?

During the 2015-2016 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a slogan – All In – that was the foundation for their season. It was printed in marketing materials, plastered on billboards, shone on scoreboards, emblazoned on hats and t-shirts, and used as a rallying cry during the Cavaliers’ national championship run during the playoffs. We (Cavaliers fans) embraced it, shouted it and expected it of the Cavaliers—that they would be all in. So I wonder, if we want and expect our sports teams to be all in, are we all in?

All in can mean different things, and it may be imperfect. After all, can you truly be all in for anything 100% of the time? I wonder, but whether you’re perfectly or imperfectly all in, are you all in with any part of your life – personally or professionally, with your family, your friends or your community? More specifically, is it your intention to be all in with any parts of your life?

A friend recently asked me if I thought she was “all in” in any part of her life, and I honestly answered no. I told her that I thought she was closest to all in with her family, but that she was struggling so much in other areas of her life that I felt it kept her from being fully present even with her family.

That’s the thing about all in – it may be difficult to define, but one thing it implies for me is being fully present to, with and for whatever we’re committed to being all in for. And commitment is another key, because being all in implies a high level of commitment. All in also implies an element of sacrifice and alignment – alignment between what I say is important (where I’m all in) and the choices I make with my time, energy, attention and resources.

Scan your life and your choices. Where do you want to be all in? Where are you actually all in? And here’s a big question: in the areas of your life where you desire to be all in, what is keeping you from it?

Being all in is a commitment, and there are many reasons that we resist making and honoring our commitments. After all, if commitment was easy everyone would do it. Being all in is often uncomfortable and takes us out of our day-to-day comfort zones. Being all in is also risky, whether it’s time risk, emotional risk, relational risk, financial risk, psychological risk, or any combination of these and other possible risks. With risk comes fear, so what are you afraid of that’s keeping you from being all in?

As you scan your life and explore where you’re all in or not all in, are you okay with where you are? Are you okay being partially in, sort of in, or not in at all? Are you consciously choosing your levels of “in,” or are they merely default modes for you?

I invite you to be more intentional and conscious about your “all ins.” Be clear – whether all in, somewhat in or not in – and communicate your “all in” status with clarity to the people that are impacted by it. If you’ve communicated that you’re all in but you’re not, that’s a matter of integrity. If someone else expects you to be all in (and you know of that expectation), but you choose not to be all in, what does your integrity require you to do in terms of clarifying or modifying those expectations?

If you’re feeling uncomfortable about this entire discussion, then good – you’re paying attention. We all know that when we’re uncomfortable that usually means we’re exploring or considering something that’s important. Discomfort also usually signals a desire, if not a need, for a change in our lives. Being uncomfortable is also often the catalyst for change in our lives. Welcome the discomfort and the questions about your all-inness.

It’s not up to me or anyone else to decide whether and where you’ll be all in, but it’s an important question to ask yourself. It’s also important to ask yourself whether not being all in, or especially claiming to be all in and not being all in, is serving you. If not, then you have a decision to make.

If it’s serving you and your life, then stay where you are – it’s working for you. But if it’s NOT working for you, then find your all in, commit to your all in, and watch the ways that your all in changes things throughout your business, your career, your life and your relationships. And if it’s helpful, get yourself a t-shirt that proclaims it loud and clear: I’m All In!

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