Jeremy Côté


All In

Have you ever asked yourself if you were all in? If you committed yourself fully to an endeavour, playing the long game and working to achieve big goals?

I’m sure that I am not alone in guiltily shaking my head at that one.

As much as I admire those who seem to go all in with what they love to do, I’ve always been too scared to do the same myself. If you’re anything like me, you worry a lot. Putting all your eggs in one basket is not what you do. Instead, you try and build fail-safes and backups, ensuring that failure isn’t too harsh.

This has manifested in my life through taking my passions only semi-seriously. I don’t commit fully. Instead, I dip my toes in on a bunch of things that interest me. This has the advantage of making my activities frequently appear novel, since I’m always switching from one to the other. On the downside though, I never am able to make the breakthrough that I want.

To get past the current plateau, this is an issue that needs to be resolved. For myself, that means picking a goal in running for 2017 and sticking to it. It means signing up for a race, and not “waiting until the race approaches to see if I am ready”. The point isn’t necessarily to be ready, but to compete on the given day and give what I can. Too often, I find myself getting psyched out because I’m thinking about what I want to do too much, to the point of detriment. What I need to do is decide, commit, and do. I need to think less and focus on the process. Long term goals are seldom accomplished by accident. They require a commitment to the process of improvement, and being only semi-serious means you are sabotaging your own goals.

Unfortunately, going all-in isn’t as simple as this. The difficulty is that fully committing makes you vulnerable. It’s saying, “I care enough about this goal that I am going to put myself out there and attempt it, even though I fully know I might not achieve it.” Even at this stage, my writing isn’t getting circulated at all. I write, but no one is reading. This is because I haven’t fully committed. I’m serious about writing, but not to the point that I’ve gone all-in. It’s a future want for me, but at the moment I’m working on other goals.

Committing isn’t easy, and it is extremely easy to talk yourself out of it by thinking too much. If I thought about how I run 130 kilometres every week, I don’t think I could commit. However, I can easily think about committing every day, so that’s what I do. The end result is 130 kilometres a week, but I’m not thinking about all the work that is left to do.

If you want to further your passions and become better at whatever you do, going all-in is the best way to improve. It’s not easy, and you will be making yourself vulnerable, but you’re also giving yourself a chance to improve. The key is to not overthink it. Jump right in, and focus on the process instead of the long commitment.