When I was working with my mentor, Kathy Ollerton Krafchow, she taught me a process called “drop-outs, cop-outs, and all-outs.” That process stamped deep into my psyche the importance of finishing. I spent time looking at the times when I started out with enthusiasm and gusto only to drop-out, quite literally. Have I ever told you about the $15,000 I spent to not get my graduate degree? Expensive lesson. The cop-outs where I’d done something halfway, blamed others for my lack of follow-through, or simply stopped showing up. I have to admit there were far too many of those. But most importantly, I learned that an all-out is not someone who does everything at a 110% or perfectly, it’s someone who keeps showing up. It’s someone who finishes what they start. It’s someone who keeps going despite adversity, distraction, and other things “coming up”. They persevere and that makes all the difference in their life. There are countless examples of this but I really like this quote from J.K. Rowling because I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.
What would have happened if she dropped-out or copped-out? We would have missed out on some of the greatest children’s books of all time and her best life would have gone un-lived. You can decide to be an all-out at anytime. Your past mistakes or failures are not indicative of your future potential. Lastly, deciding to be an all-out makes you picky. You don’t just start anything. You decide to work on the most important things to you.
I’ve found this to be true in my own life. It doesn’t mean that I finish every single thing, there are books I’m halfway through and may never finish, there are sewing projects that I have given up on, but on the big things, the important things, I’m shooting for all-out. Are you?