All -In is a choice that only you can make. When you choose to go All-In, your life will improve because you will begin to make decisions and take actions that advance you towards your goals. Going All-In is simple, but it’s by no means easy. We designed All-In as a tool to give you, the student-athlete, dozens of shortcuts and ideas so that you can program yourself to achieve whatever is important to you.
If you’ve dreamed about success in athletics and about becoming the best you can be in life, All-In is for you. Study the chapters of this book and you will hear messages from top performers from many different fields and historical periods. A common theme is that you alone are responsible for yourself, and it’s your belief system and thinking that will determine your success. Some readers may be offended by the blunt truths of these messages that can sound harsh and allow no excuses. That’s good. When this happens, internalize the message immediately, as it will shorten your path to success.
The All-In messages and lessons are organized around “5 Pillars” and a simple approach to live your life: Commit with Honor to be Smart, Strong, and Respectful. The 5 Pillars (Smart, Strong, Respectful, Commitment, and Honor) are broad principles that can be adapted to whatever you value most, which literally are your individual values. Principles are connected to your values through your actions and your actions are largely determined by your belief system and thinking. The 5 Pillars and the related principles need to reflect values that you really believe in, so you must figure out how to make them work for you, which will be a very personal and individual process.
Smart pertains to the decisions you make every day. Great players are consistent and are often recognized as “students of the game”. When talent is equal the competitor that is better prepared mentally has a winning advantage. Being Smart often requires only a little extra time and effort, but the results can be dramatic.
Strong pertains to your physical body and mental capacity. Toughness is a category of strength and as Alex Karras said, “Toughness is in the soul and spirit…not in muscles.” A laser focus on developing physical and mental strength provides a foundation to develop skills and techniques for maximum results in athletics and life.
Respectful pertains to respect for yourself, others, and your specific sport or occupation. When addressing their team, many coaches will reference Respect within their first ten words. Respect exposes your character by the way you conduct yourself in victory and defeat. Respect will also determine your standards of behavior and how you interact with your teammates, coaches, and other people in your life.
Commitment is best summed up by Pat Riley when he said, “There are only two options regarding Commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” Once you’ve made an All-In commitment to a team or cause, any scores, records, or individual honors will always feel like a hollow second place.
Honor is the ultimate referee in measuring your success and it encompasses all of the other four Pillars. Honor implies being true to your personal values and ideals and being a person of integrity who can overcome fear and take action.
All-In will upgrade your belief system and thinking to help you develop the best version of yourself where you will never stop competing. By studying messages from some of the world’s thought leaders and champion athletes, you will be able to accelerate your pace of learning by copying the success of others. Consistently connect the 5 Pillars (principles) to your values and your life will expand. You may never become a professional athlete, but by going All-In you will become the very best you can be.
The good news is that All-In thinking is highly transferable to all areas of your life. We believe that success in just about anything quires hard work, discipline, and perseverance