I used to talk about the idea of “work hard, play hard.” Kind of a life mantra, though I also really like the one I started using during my MBA program, “make work fun.” Yet both of these don’t truly capture it or me. I have something better, which I just realized today on my drive up to the farm – Life All In.
Work hard, play hard is great, but it also is hard. Why does it have to be hard? If you have a passion for something, anything, even work, then it isn’t really hard – it’s your passion. The idea of fun really doesn’t capture it all either. Fun is great, but it doesn’t quite capture that level of satisfaction that comes with doing or creating something of significance in your personal or professional life.
On my drive, I thought about how I like to do things, all things. What I really do when I’m getting the most out of each moment, each task, each mission. No matter what I’m doing, I’m always all in. Not everyone understands this, and there are a lot of folks that don’t live their life this way, and that’s great too.
I choose to live my life all in.
Being all in means that you are giving life everything you’ve got. You enjoy and savor it all. We’ve heard the adage of “what you put into something is what you get out of it.” More accurately for me, it is the idea that the more you put into something the more you’ll get out of it. I’ve had that as a belief since I was a teenager.
It’s the same with life – the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
I live life up to the edge, full out, no matter what I do, with a passion and an intensity of focus. Gig? Bring it. Create something new? Bring it. Take up a new passion? Bring it. I’m all in.
There is no namby pamby about it. There is no hemming and hawing. There is no thought of “let me just stick my toes in and see if the water is warm enough.” I just know. Yes, I do my homework and my due diligence. I decide. And I do it. If it works and if I like it, I keep doing it. And I give it everything I’ve got.
I do things, and I do them with a passion and with an intensity for life. The few times I haven’t, to me it results in complacency. When you’re complacent, you’re not growing, you’re not experiencing all life has to offer in each moment. You’re stagnant. You’re not living your passion. You’re holding part of yourself back from the world, but more importantly, you’re holding it back from yourself. You dull your shine.
No matter what you do, do it all in. Let your light shine. Bring it. See how that shifts your life to this amazing brilliance and vibrancy. Even the little things all around you shift, and you see them with new eyes.
When I was young, that intensity for life perhaps burned a little too bright sometimes. Balance in life is always a great thing. Not all work, not all play, some rest too.
Now? That intensity is still there, but it’s focused into a fabulously hot, smoldering coal. It’s a fire that consistently burns and fuels whatever it is I want to do in my life. It is flame tempered with awareness of myself. Awareness of who I am, what I want, what makes me happy. It is awareness of what I can do, what I can’t do and what I choose to do.
If it makes me happy, I do more of that. Now. Tomorrow. The next day. But I don’t do it half-assed, I’m all in. This intensity of focus has made me a great lobbyist. A great friend. A great team player and leader. A great beloved. A great life coach and healer.
I don’t let limiting beliefs stop me. I don’t let fear stop me. I grab fear’s hand, partner with it and I go for it anyway. If it is something I want to do, I do it anyway, all in.
A lobbyist I worked with, whom I greatly respect, once said to someone about me as we were talking, “this one? This one here will go up to anyone and ask them for their yes, she’s not afraid to make the ask.” He was comparing me to others who he felt were afraid to make the ask. That was one of the coolest compliments I have ever received.
Got fear? Do it anyway. Anything else would not be all in.
Taking what I love and mixing in this intensity of focus allows me to accomplish so many things in life. I feel like I pack so much in, into every day, every moment, with so many different things and different people. There is this amazing tapestry that has been woven, with all of these gorgeous threads, creating this strong yet soft, textured, vibrant fabric. Sure, there have been holes in the fabric, who doesn’t have their challenges in life? But the darning of those holes has made the fabric even more robust, stronger.
It can take people, even my friends, a long time to discover and know all the threads of who I am and of what makes this fabric of my life, because it is such a rich tapestry, robust and full. I can be somewhat of a mystery, though it’s not intentional, there is just so much there to be discovered in the package of who I am. It’s like a present that just keeps giving with new surprises each day adding zest to each moment.
I find this intensity for life sometimes can be intimidating to other people, and I spent a lot of my life trying to tamp down the shine, especially in my personal life. I don’t do that anymore. Life is too short. I don’t apologize for who I am or for being happy. I’m happy and there is too much to do, too much to enjoy! I just keep shining.
I surround myself with confident, passionate people who encourage me to shine, just as I encourage them to shine, with whatever they want to do, whatever their hopes and dreams. You’ll find that my friends are strong people, who live their dreams, who know themselves, who do what makes them happy, who love what they do and who live life on their own terms.
Just as I live my life all in. I wouldn’t have it any other way.