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Going “All-In”

In poker the concept of going “all-in” means you put everything you have into one bet. Its high risk because you might lose it all.. …but maybe you win!

Thinking about “life” and personal effectiveness, I’ve recently got it into my head that I should start going all in… What does this mean?


We’ve only got one life, right? Everyday we do what we do, hoping it will make us happy. But many of us don’t do what we REALLY WANT TO DO. We don’t do what brings us flow or what is truly in-line with our most awesome vision of who we are and what we want out of life. At the end of the day, week, month, holiday, year (life, whatever) we find ourselves saying “Oh, I wish I’d done that” or “I should have spent more time doing that”.


To counter this problem, you can do 3 very specific things that I do to help me go “all-in” :


Write your own personal vision/mission statement

My own mission statement is called “my most awesome vision of who I am, what I believe and what I want”. I tend to revise it most when I’m not happy, but always take a moment each summer (during holidays) to think it through again. I’m not going to share it here, its personal. What I can say is that when I read it I get a sensation of “Yes I can”, filled with the joy of wanting more out of life and motivated, ready to get to action.

To be successful with your own vision/mission statement, include the following elements:

  • What you think is a good life
  • What you believe is most important in order to be happy
  • How you want to be spending your time, in terms of the different roles you have
  • One or 2 wildly important life goals


Create a dream-list *

“Begin with the end in mind”, “You get more of what you concentrate on”, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”, “SMART objectives” etc… We’ve all heard it before time and time again .. and its true: You have to set objectives in personal life, just as you do at work.

Today, my dreamlist has 47 items on it, ranging from spending 3 months in India with my wife (not kids) to skydiving and creating a Beatles rock band. It doesn’t matter what’s on your list as long as it inspires you and doesn’t go again your personal vision/mission statement.

To create a good dream-list:

  • Start by noting anything you want to do, have or be
  • Add to it any time you get an idea of something you want to do, have or be
  • Don’t “filter” your dreams or say “this is silly” – just add it

…then take action. Any action! For example, I want to do a motorcycle road-trip in the mountains with my father. I’ve no idea when, how, how long etc but I don’t worry about that. I just focus on taking the next concrete action (something I learnt from David Allen and blogged about here ) and move forward. So we set a date. When I’m ready for the next concrete action, I’ll do that… eventually I will have done it. Don’t forget: Even a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step 🙂

* Thank you again @tferriss for this inspiration, via the book “Four Hour Work Week



..or as Justin Bieber might say “Never say never” 🙂

If you are going to be happy, live your dreams and go “all-in” you have to believe that things are possible. Sometimes this is difficult. We think of something we want to be, have or do and then all the doubt comes flooding in: What if it all goes wrong? Do I really want this? Will it work?

I like to remember a simple phrase from Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” (which is all about going “all-in”):

“When there was doubt I ate it up and spat it out”.



Good luck!

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