In 2010 I wrote an eBook all about Goal Setting, using the analogy of “going all in” in the “poker game” of life. Ever since I have used this phrase over and over again in my trainings. The basis was simple – the game is played part strategy, part faith, part instinct… and a whole lot of courage. It takes a lot of courage to “go all in” and believe that the cards that you are holding in your hand are strong enough to beat everyone else sitting at your table. One wrong “shove” and you are out of the game. However, you MUST “go all in” in order to WIN… otherwise, if you always play it safe, you will literally play in a circle, no one winning and no one losing.
Mike is an avid poker player, traveling all over the country for different tournaments – either to play or simply watch and learn. For the last 3 years I have also watched …. him. See, when we met he was at the top of his game. He played several nights a week, and was known as the poker guy. In fact when we went to his high school reunion, all anyone talked to him about was poker… never mind all of his other accomplishments in life. *ahem*
Then he hit a slump. He went months without winning anything. We began arguing about how much he played. I saw how it was upsetting him and stressing him out, so I would say things like “I dont know why you even bother” and “I dont understand the mindset of gambling – I would rather go to the spa if I am going to just give the Casino my money.” It’s a good thing he loved me so much before I became so crass.
But he kept playing, knowing his luck would turn around, and knowing that slumps happen, and that’s just life. He talked to other “poker guys,” ranted a bit about some of the “bad beats” … and continued to play. Like a lot. He continued to “go all in” even when he was losing over and over again. Yet he continued to play… to my amazement and somewhat disgust. I could not understand how or why he would continue to play a “losing game”…
About 3 months ago something “shifted” for me. I realized no amount of my whining was going to change that he was going to play. I realized that when I thought I was “helping” by giving him a “way out” that I was actually making things worse. It was not what he wanted to hear. (how many time have we heard “I dont know why you do that pyramid thing anyway!”)
I began supporting his playing poker – as much as he wanted. I began listening to the stories, trying to understand, and stopped saying all of those “helpful” things about how I feel about gambling. I quieted my growling when he played late into the evening, and even let him eat dinner at the computer a time or two when a big online tournament was going on.
Guess what happened?
He started winning again. Mike has won three big tournaments in the last three months, and “cashed” on a handful more. Now, I am not telling you that *I* have had anything to do with that, but I am telling you that I have learned a couple pretty huge lessons with this entire experience.
- Mike’s love of poker is very much like our love of the Party Plan Industry. The game is simple, but it is not easy. Sometimes you make money, sometimes you lose money, sometimes you barely break even. There are highs and lows – moments of extreme joy and extreme frustration.
- Not everyone understands it – some even have very strong opposing feelings about it. It is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t understand, and even harder to someone who has had a bad experience. Those who do not understand may even give you heat about why you do – making snide comments about your choice to “play the game.”
- You HAVE to “go all in” in order to win. You can dabble and play it safe for a while, but eventually someone playing more aggressively will take all of your chips. You have to be “committed to the hand” and ready to play it out no matter what happens.
- And, most importantly, even when you are in a “slump” you have to have the faith in the game to keep playing. Thousands of poker players are winning money every single day. Just like the thousands of Party Plan Consultants who are having parties, making sales, and signing new team members. But the only ones who are winning, are the ones who are being willing to “Go All In” and close the deal.
If you are in a slump – keep playing. If you are hearing from your friends and family “I dont know why you do that stuff” – keep playing. If you have had some flakey hostesses, annoying team members, demanding customers (hey, it happens!!) – keep playing. Remember the ONLY way to win, is to keep playing the game.
Are you ready to Go All In?