Are You All In?

| | General Leadership
Are You All In?

“Are you all in?” is a pivotal question to ask yourself if you want to achieve anything remarkable.

Of course, “yes” is the answer that will put you on the road to success.  However, the difference between saying “yes, I am all in” and being “all in” will be the deciding factor in whether you actually arrive in a future that matches the picture you envisioned.

So by all means, start by saying “yes, I am all in” — because it’s only then that you will really get to work.

The bad news is that soon after you begin, you will hit roadblocks. In fact, the bigger the aspiration, the bigger the roadblocks will be.  It is in those moments that your choice to be “all in” will be tested.

The great news, however, is that in those moments you will have the opportunity to take the biggest leap forward.

Why?  Because setbacks and obstacles will inevitably bring you face-to-face with the beliefs that have been limiting you.

You see, being “all in” isn’t just about being willing to work hard and do whatever it takes.

Ultimately, being “all in” requires that you change not who you are, but how you think. tweet this

As Einstein reminded us:

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” –Albert Einstein

It can take incredible courage to change the way you think.  Your confidence and sense of certainty about the future, after all, is likely sourced to a great extent by your knowledge and experience to date.  Changing the way you think requires that you let go of what you know and those things that have been tried and true in exchange for faith in something beyond your knowledge and experience.  This is what makes the choice to be “all in” an act of courage.

Being “all in” is a choice to risk who you have been, what you know, and most importantly how you think for the sake of the future you want.

So when it comes to the remarkable future you want ask yourself now: “Are you ALL IN”?


Image credit: ian.chow


Enter A Comment

John Thurlbeck   |   29 July 2015   |   Reply

Hi Susan

I fully support your perspective here and have faced those situations myself in the past, most notably when I decided to become an independent consultant. It was either all in or nothing … and proved to be the best business decision in my life!

A little more tongue-in-cheek, abusing your question terribly, ‘I’m all done in’ and really looking forward to my holiday on Monday! So thanks for all your help recently with our EYL book and Belgium!

Take care and have a brilliant week!

Kind regards


Susan Mazza   |   30 July 2015   |   Reply

Thanks John! I can relate to both the choice to go off on your own and the “all done in” as I too am very ready for a vacation. Being “all in” takes a lot of energy, although I can’t imagine any other way!

James Lawther   |   04 August 2015   |   Reply


I recently read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

One of the ideas he proposes is that being a “professional” and not an “amateur”

A professional has to turn up, he can’t pull a sick day, if the work needs to be done it needs to be done.

An amateur however can come and go as he pleases, after all it is just a hobby.

It struck me as a nice twist on being “all in”

Thanks for the post

Susan Mazza   |   06 August 2015   |   Reply

That’s a terrific distinction James! And I love the book The War of Art. Appreciate you making the connection between the idea of “all in” and this book.

Anthony Saffer   |   14 August 2015   |   Reply

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” – Steve Jobs

It takes untold amounts of courage to keep going “all in” – especially day in, day out. And a healthy appreciation for risk (and how to manage it) too.

Watch any Texas Hold Em player during a poker tournament. I had a ring side seat for years, as a professional croupier. Interestingly enough, the best players (i.e. the game changers) play the “man” and not the “hand.”

In an environment of constant change, disruption and uncertainty, the successful separate themselves from the pack with their ability to maintain perspective.

One that rapidly adapts to the environment around them. Challenges the status quo. Their perspective. And any bias.

Often those that are best equipped to change their thinking are individuals that have experienced significant trauma, pain or adversity. Whilst unfortunate, it often takes a jarring force of life to make the mental paradigm shift required.

When you face death, you question your life. It’s the ultimate self “check.” You either cash in your chips or start playing for the world series (there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground).

I can empathise with Steve Jobs following his diagnosis with cancer, and the subsequent daily “questioning” in the mirror. Finding a way to face your mortality can be an effective tool to make the most of each day.

I relive my own trauma (momentarily) every morning. And start off by asking 4 different questions:

– What is something new that I can learn?
– How can I fail faster?
– Who can I help (that helps others)?
– What can I improve on yesterday?

My thoughts on critical thinking/creative problem solving?

Theory: The answer to any (and every) question lies in knowing which question to ask.

Key question: What problem are we solving for?

Issue to consider: How do you solve a problem with infinite solutions and an unknown number of variables?

Methodology: Consider any circumstances where the proposed solution/s can be proven right, wrong, right and wrong, and all at the same time.

Alternate/remove/replace variables to help identify a minimum statement which cannot be disproved in any potential solution iteration.

Start with the assumption that you are wrong (until proven otherwise).


– assume nothing
– challenge everything.
– context is critical.
– take the customers perspective.
– minimise downside risk.

When you learn to embrace change, revel in uncertainty, run towards risk, and write your own eulogy there is an amazing transformation that occurs.

Changing the way you think changes your reality. And if you question everything, anything is possible.

Why do our greatest leaders invest in building other leaders? Because those who can, do. And those who can’t, teach.

A true leader empowers others to deliver a result, and inspires all to make a difference. That journey starts within – and begins when we question ourselves (and our thinking).

If you want to change the world, learn how to solve problems. Question everything. Be fearless. And always add value.

The amount you help others will determine your success.

Thanks for asking the question, Susan. I’ve learnt more as a result of the interaction.

Your student.

Anthony Saffer
CEO and Founder

Lisa Dill   |   17 August 2015   |   Reply

I really love Anthony’s input. This has really inspired me as a leader. I have always looked at my questioning of everything mainly my own self as a quirk, however Anthony is right. If we don’t question everything we will stop looking therefore we stop evolving. Great stuff Anthony!