You don’t have to be ‘all in’

It’s all or nothing.
That’s what those of us who are Type A tend to believe, isn’t it? We heard our parents, teachers, and coaches preach to us that anything worth doing is worth doing right. That we had to give everything our best. That 110% is the only way.
From careers and families to diets and friendships, many of my clients have held strong to the belief that they have to be “all in” in order for something to be successful.
But that attitude is, in many ways, crippling us. Because we can’t be all in on everything; it’s impossible. So if we’re all in on our career, we feel guilty that we’re putting our families second. If we’re all in on family, we feel our careers, or our friendships, or our personal pleasures, are suffering because of it.
I have one client considering a career change. She’ll soon be an empty nester, and she felt herself holding the belief that she had to decide on something now and then give it her everything. If she didn’t, she believed she’d be unsuccessful, wasting precious time.
That pressure was debilitating. She felt anxious, uninspired, and stuck.
Here’s what happens when we give in to black-and-white thinking: We miss opportunities to find joy in the gray. 
The truth is that success doesn’t mean giving everything at all times. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to be still, be present, and be open. It’s not all, but it’s far from nothing. It’s a pause for curiosity and self-compassion that we rarely allow ourselves.
In that space, life can be experienced more fully.
After we talked it through, my client realized that her all-in approach was holding her back from exploring. She was stifling her curiosity—and the prospect of a new, fulfilling career—with an either/or mindset. She decided to let it go and enjoy the journey.
I actually love the gray. And if that’s where you are, I hope you can find a way to love it, too.

Rooting for you,


P.S. If you’re a woman in leadership and you’re looking for more strategies like this, I encourage you to explore my Leadership Circle. It’s a yearlong program for female executives who want to invest in coaching, development, and community. Our 2024 cohort starts this fall, and the women who have already said yes are people you’ll love to have in your network.

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