In the coming hot months, you may visit your local swimming pool and if you watch the different ways people enter the water, you can learn a lot.
Some of us sit by the side dangling legs in the water but keep ourselves mostly dry and away from the splashing and activity. Others slowly approach, stick in a toe and then gradually walk into the water– bit by bit.
And then there are those of us who don’t care how warm, cool or busy the pool is. Look left and right to check for an open spot in the water and then dive right in.
Your habit may be indicative of how you go through your life– and particularly how you approach a potential change or your aspirations and dreams.
There are those of us who stand back and mostly watch, others who take it slow and gradual and a whole other group who go all in all at once. Each of these approaches is valuable. There’s not one “right” or even “best” way to move forward. They’re all valid and potentially beneficial choices to make, depending on the situation.
What’s unhelpful is when we don’t make a conscious choice or when the choice we’re making is driven by fear or obligation.
Because I tend to be one who tests the “water” and gets in little by little, the choice I’m going to go a little deeper with here is the last of the three– going all in.
When you go all in, you direct your focus. You aim toward a particular goal or immerse yourself in a certain identification. You don’t hedge or vacillate. You put your energy, attention and resources firmly toward it.
You are fully a vegan. You call yourself an artist. You label yourself, “in a relationship.” The way that you walk, talk and are with others shows, without a doubt, that you are committed to this choice.
Why is it important to go all in?
Because so many of us don’t.
We resolve to eat healthier and exercise more, earn a higher degree or certification, be more involved in a group or community and we do…for awhile and to a limited degree. But we also hold back. We like to keep options open and don’t let ourselves get too involved.
We’re afraid of becoming stuck in something that ends up not fulfilling our needs. We worry that we’ll fail. We are resistant to give up how we’ve always been which is comfortable and known even if it no longer serves in some way.
We don’t know how cold the water will be or what “monsters” lurk unseen and so we don’t dive in and, for the most part, fear is the reason why. We remain unhappy, dissatisfied and stuck with our dreams just beyond reach.
And this is mostly because we’re holding back.
Isn’t it time to challenge fearful thoughts and beliefs that trap us far more than if we’d just allow the pull from within?
If you’re like me, so many “what if’s” crowd in and even paralyze. I hold back because I just don’t know what will happen– there are no guarantees and that can be terrifying. In the process, I remain mostly where I am or move at a glacial speed which is sometimes forward and other times backward.
“What if this isn’t the right path for me?”
“What if I’m not suited for this after all?”
“What if they don‘t like me?”
“What if I‘m no good at this?”
“What if this is a huge mistake?”
Doubts and fears skew perception and make everything seem like a major and irreparable risk. The resulting reaction is to hold back and only participate in a limited way.
It’s no surprise really when I don’t have the experiences I’m yearning for and am not reaching the goals that spark my interest and feed my soul (not to mention other aspects of my life too).
Yes, there can be real hazards to impulsively racing through life. This reaction can be just as driven by fear or “should’s” and can end up just as dissatisfying and painful as holding back can be. But remember, there’s a big difference between recklessly rushing or pushing ahead and making a full commitment to follow an inner call.
Any of us can mindfully choose a pace that is unhindered while also fitting the situation wisely. Timing is important. So too is being willing to make a choice and then give yourself over to it.
Strip off all of the “what if’s” and worries and leap into welcoming water.