I was at a meeting last week where a man I respect used the term “all in”. He used it in a relevant, powerful and eloquent way. In doing so, he caught my attention. And he compelled me to myself two questions.
This first question was, what does it really mean to be “all in”?
“All in” is a poker term that means you have bet everything you have on your hand. It means, all your chips are in play. Winning is the only option or you’re out of the game.
Outside of poker it’s come to mean being committed to something. In the same way a gambler risks all his chips, a person who declares himself (or herself) to be “all in” is saying they’re playing for keeps. They’re giving it everything they have and they intend to win. And, if they lose, at least they do so knowing they gave it their best shot.
I like this. It shows dedication. It shows commitment. As with poker, a person who is all in, can’t be bluffed out or easily swayed. They’ve committed everything they have so they’re serious. They’re sticking with it until the fat lady sings. Win, lose or draw, a person who is all in is someone you can count on. They’re confident and determined. Winning or going down with all guns blazing are the only options for them.
That’s why I like the term. It’s short, punchy and powerful. It’s an effective way to tell someone, “you can depend on me because I’m in this for keeps.”
The second question was, “am I all in?”
This is a useful question. And, the more I think about it, the more I like it. It forces me to consider how committed I am to something.
For example, my wife and I are participating in sessions at our church that are designed to help us strengthen our marriage. One of the first things we learned in these sessions is that the most important factor in a marriage succeeding is commitment. Not trust, not love, not faith, not hard work. Commitment.
So if you want your marriage to be a great marriage, you need to be all in.
And, in my business, the same is true. How can I expect people to pay me for my time, advice and services if I’m not all in? Anything less than all in means I’m taking a shortcut. It means I’m not willing to do everything I need to serve my clients they way they want to be served. It means I’m not sure this is the right thing for me. It means I’m unsure of the road I’ve chosen. If I’m unwilling to be all in, then it means I’m unwilling to be the best.
Who would you rather do business with? Do you want to work with people who will go to the mat for you every single time? Or do you want to do business with people who are just here until something better comes along?
My conclusion is easy. With my marriage, I’m all in. With my friends and family, I’m all in. With my business and clients, I’m all in. The next step is to make sure I’m doing everything I can every day to show that I really am all in. That’s not always easy but it’s a lot easier to do knowing I’m committed.
How about you? Are you all in? And if you are, are you doing the things that show it every day?