When I get riled up like this, I need to get my cow on – regurgitate and chew it again. 2016 is almost over. It has been a year of believing and shaking out the wrinkles of idealism and expectations for responsibility and authenticity. Idealism had come with its share of busyness, and left me feeling accomplished but askew (see last post on the crazy). I abandoned my to-do lists in search of realness and ended up here:
“The only way to win is to go all in.”
The rhyming corniness of this quote doesn’t negate its truth. My post-college job search during one 2010 job recession was not a secret. The hustle was real, and my grind was apparent. I did everything in the books from informational interviews to forming a job search committee for my peers. Whatever would get me the corner office in a high-rise. When I quit my job in 2014, all I had was a prayer and a vision (ok, and my savings). That’s when I started hearing questions, “Are you sure you’re making the right decision? What about 401k, health insurance?” I eventually went back to work but I needed that time to walk in faith. The point: completing checklists and risking it all are two different concepts. With the latter, we’re vulnerable with everything to lose but we’re ready to sacrifice it anyway in pursuit of the prize.
Listen, ok, because I want you to get this. I want us to get this. I wasn’t even planning on sharing what I’m about to write. I remember vividly when I decided to love. As in, I didn’t fall in love, but I purposely leapt into it. Beforehand, I was caught up in how I could do better than this and what the gurus said good relationships took. I was all mixed up, and I spoke to a friend who gave me the most valuable advice. “Make a decision. Any decision. If you wanna love him, then love him fully but if you don’t, walk away and let it fully go.” I remember when I made the decision to go for it – ego and justifications aside. I didn’t care if I looked dumb; I put myself out there. It didn’t work out but let me tell you. That was easily one of the top learning lessons in my life. I would’ve gotten NOWHERE on the fence. I was tired of straddling doubts and regret, while still determined to be right. In the strength of making a concrete decision, the truth emerged. With that said, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Don’t toss yourself in the garbage along with your inhibitions. Self-respect and dignity should be our constant companions. There’s only so much we can or should give any effort before realizing it’s time to move on. Otherwise, we’ve got a recipe to lose it all.
Fast forward to now and we’re knocking at 2017. I reflect on some of these old lessons learned in different ways (because, of course, mistakes only count after you’ve made it a few times over). Of how relationships become autopsies because self-protection kills. Of how dreams and visions are under-nourished, and fear dabs on goals because it knows we won’t step forward without guaranteed outcomes. Or of when we are pleasantly overwhelmed by the bounty while we were begging for pennies.
“Believe in the integrity and value of the jagged path. We don’t always do the right thing on the way to rightness.”*
My 2017 goal: GO ALL IN. Even one exploit to the hilt, one lesson fully ingested, one dare executed, will make it the best year yet. For better or worse – because indecision is always the wrong decision.
Share with me: What decision in 2016 became easier once you decided to go risk it all? What will you decide to do, regardless of the outcome, in 2017?