Growing up in Ontario, my summers were spent at camp - first as a camper, then as a camp counselor. Big on our activity list was canoeing - and we loved our epic 3-5 day trips from lake to lake. The term "lily-dipper" was used jokingly to describe someone that barely put their paddle in the water deeper than the lily pads that floated on the surface and therefore, required the person in the rear of the canoe to do all of the heavy paddling work to move the canoe forward.
As I thought about how that canoeing concept could pertain to life I confess that I began remembering the times in my life that I have been a "lily-dipper." Sometimes with jobs I held, sometimes in relationships. Times when I was in the boat, but not paddling fully. How many of you are "lily-dipping" in some part of your life? How much further could you go, and what greater results could you have if you committed to plunging your paddle in deeper - if you were "all in"?
There are lots of benefits of being "all in". Like the paddling analogy, you move forward more quickly and have more powerful results if you are fully committed. The experience becomes more meaningful, you have deeper feelings of connection and you experience a deeper level of satisfaction. As a spin-off , being "all in" is incredibly infectious and energetically helps others have a deeper experience as well. In short, being "all in" means you are really present, really living.
The downside of committing fully is, of course, the risk factor. With any risk you take there is the potential of being hurt and the potential of failure. But what do you miss by never totally "going for it"? I maintain that slight discomfort is a good trade-off for being free to really live big. Neale Donald Walsch said "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone". If you never truly are "all-in" how will you ever know what you are capable of? What is possible? What your life could be like?
Think of the various parts of your life - Work, relationships, parenting, fitness, or any other area. And on a scale of 1 - 10 are you "All-in" (10) or are you "Lily-dipping" (0) ? Or somewhere in between? (this is an awareness piece, just taking stock of where you are now, with no judgement attached)
Ask yourself this question: "What would have to shift for me to commit to being "all-in"?
5 Easy Ways to help you Be "ALL IN"
1/ Get intentional
This is an easy and effective technique to incorporate for immediate results. Considering and then adding an intention to an action creates a different level of consciousness and consequent energy around the action. By creating an intention for your life, your day, or an activity, you strengthen the commitment and energetic forces and that has a powerful deepening effect.
Experiment with this: Create a Daily Intention. As you lie in bed in the morning, spend 1 minute thinking about what your day will BE. Not your To Do list, instead, what will the day be about? Joy? Ease? Laughter? Passion? Create your Daily intention, breathe into it for 30 seconds and write it on a piece of paper, stick it in your pocket and revisit it throughout the day. Without doing anything differently, your day will positively shift if you hold an intention for it.
2/ Stay Present
The point of power is in the present moment. Our goal is to be present, fully engaged in each and every moment. Right here, right now. So how do we do that?
The easiest way to remain present is to quit multitasking. Yeah, I know you know this. And for many of us, we believe that multitasking is the only way we could possibly survive. However, if you are doing more than one thing at the same time, you are not truly "all-in" to either activity. (and that includes mental multitasking). Having a single mental and physical focus will automatically deepen each experience.
Experiment with this:
Take an activity where you normally would multitask (whether physically or mentally). Experiment with keeping your focus solely on that activity. eg/ Preparing Dinner: As you are chopping the carrots focus solely on that. Observe the carrots - are they hard or soft, easy to cut or not, is your knife sharp or dull, are you cutting them in identical pieces or random. How is the experience of cutting carrots different when you are "all-in"? Now go to something a bit bigger - how about a conversation with your partner? Or a chorus rehearsal? See what happens when you consciously focus on being present in each moment.
3/ Stay Curious
When you put yourself in the space of curiosity you immediately get present and stay fully engaged. Imagine if you liberated yourself from being constrained by the "knowing" muscle, and instead exercised the "curiosity muscle". How might that shift your conversations? Your interactions with the world?
Experiment with this: Have a conversation with a friend about something that is a current challenge for them and be "all-in" for them. Make your entire focus on really hearing what the other person is saying. Don't interrupt. Seek to understand by staying curious. Ask questions to clarify your understanding. Notice when your inner voice comes in and begins to take you away of the experience of actively listening. Notice when you start thinking of solutions or start putting your advice hat on and taking yourself away from being "all-in". Debrief with your partner. What felt different for them to be "all-in" listened to? What felt different for you?
4/ Adopt a Gratitude Attitude
You can help yourself stay present and focused on the here and now by developing a "gratitude attitude" - a practice of consciously thinking of what is good in your life and in this world. By appreciating the simple things-like the taste of that fresh plump raspberry that you quickly popped in your mouth-and remembering and being grateful for each moment of your day, you begin to live "all-in".
Experiment with this: Develop the practice of a nitely "gratitude sign-off." Make your final action of the day one of writing in your journal about what you are grateful for that you saw or experienced that day. Did you have a great conversation with a friend? Did your son give you a super hug and say "I love you Mom"? Did you notice the amazing sunset? By noticing, acknowledging, appreciating and writing about the things you value each night, you will go to sleep with positive, affirming gratitude thoughts in your head and those thoughts will amplify during the night. The nitely Gratitude sign-off frames the day, and adds energy and importance to each of our living moments.
5/ Get clear on your Big Vision
What is your big life picture? How would you like to contribute to this world? Establishing your personal vision is a critical piece to ensuring your days are purposeful and "all in". If you have no compass, or north star, it is easy to get lost and spend your days drifting from thing to thing, as a life "lily-dipper", without ever being fully engaged in anything.
Experiment with this: Get a piece of paper and pen, sit in your comfiest chair with a cup of tea or glass of wine and allow yourself to dream. Look 5 years down the road. What does your life look like? Feel like? If anything were possible, what would be? How do you feel? How are you contributing? What is really most important in your life? Write down your stream of consciousness thoughts without editing them. Leave your paper for a few days and then revisit it. What jumps out at you as thematic in what you have written? What surprised you? Are you spending your energy in the areas in which you want? Once you have your Big Picture Vision, you can put some energy into creating the actual road map for how you will live into that Vision. When you are living "on purpose", you are passionate about being "All-In".
What'll it be for your next canoe ride? "Lily-Dipping" or "All-in"?