Monthly Archives: July 2015


I’m starting to work with a fitness trainer.  This morning I did a comprehensive fitness assessment with my trainer and I gave it my ALL. I left nothing in me. Zero. Zilch. Nada.  I poured it all onto the mat, the treadmill, the weights.  At the end, I was exhausted and wobbly. And it felt terrific.

I was furnished with an 11 page report that shows that, indeed, I performed to the very best of my ability. The pages confirm what I feel in my body: exhaustion and pride in a job well done.

Here are five reasons to give it your all, but only sometimes.

  1. You show yourself (and others) what you are capable of. Giving it your all is a proving ground. Whether it is a performance, a workout, a sales record, a project well managed or something else, you will show what you’re made of when you put it all on the line.
  1. You can do more than you thought you could. You will surprise yourself. I certainly didn’t know I had 15 consecutive, well-paced push-ups (with excellent form, no less!) in me. I scored above average for women of my age on that section. Who knew! I surprised myself and you will too.
  1. In a word: Accomplishment. You will feel proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Success breeds success. There is nothing like laying it all out on the pavement and feeling satisfied with a job well done to make you feel like getting up and doing it all over again – at some point in the future.
  1. Knowing that you used all of your gifts and talents. You will feel gratified knowing that you’ve put your gifts and talents to your best use. As Wayne Dyer says, “Don’t die with your music still in you.” When you give it your all, you know with complete certainty that you will not die with your music still in you. You are making the best music you possibly can.
  1. Create a solid foundation for the next time. Some call it a benchmark, others a milestone. Whatever you call it, it marks where you’ve been and what you could do when you were there. Down the road a stretch, when you’ve learned more and built more muscle (figurative or literal), you can give it your all again – and your all will be even more/bigger/faster than it is today. Without giving it your all today, you won’t be able to accurately measure your progress tomorrow.

So go out there and give it your all. But only sometimes.

Why only sometimes?

In a word: burnout. It is not sustainable to work at that pace, that intensity, that level of performance for very long. Your body and mind need to recharge and refuel.  Whether I’m on the mat in the gym or on the stage speaking at a conference, I want to give it my ALL in that moment, to create something special, to raise the bar as high as it will go for an hour. It’s not sustainable to perform at that level all the time. Nor would any moments feel special.

I want to give it my all and use all of my gifts and talents on the stage so I feel just as spent after presenting to an audience as I do after a hard core fitness assessment. Nothing left in me.

And then?  A tall drink of water and a nap.

When you do give it your all?

Leave your response in the comments below.

  • 0


    “I didn’t speak up. I didn’t say anything. I thought maybe I was wrong.”

    Women in business often tell me this, disgruntled and frustrated. What they say next usually follows along these lines: “I was right all along but I didn’t have the courage to speak up.” Or “My voice never gets heard. I have great ideas but I just can’t get them on the table.” In short, they didn’t take the situation head on and speak up.


    The Spiral of Silence Theory may explain why. Coined by German public opinion researcher Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, the Spiral of Silence Theory suggests that people who believe they have a minority opinion will hold back and constrain themselves. And those who believe they are in the majority will be more encouraged to speak up.

    Noelle-Neumann’s theory originally pertained to public opinion. We can look at the prevailing public opinion inside corporations and apply the theory to work life: A parallel Spiral of Silence exists within corporate culture. People feel less inclined to speak out and offer their opposition when they do not have the support of the majority. And that can make for poor decisions, costly mistakes and wasted time and resources.

    Without the support of divergent viewpoints, organizations cannot make the very best decisions – not for their customers or for their bottom line.

    What is at the root of not speaking up, of this Spiral of Silence?

    The theory contends, and I agree, that those in the majority have the confidence to speak out. Those who hold a minority opinion have a fear about being alone in their opinions. They are usually cautious and silent on the topic. In the face of others’ confidence, their lack of assertiveness grows.

    So how does one push beyond the soul-sucking Spiral of Silence? Here are three ideas to boost your confidence in expressing a minority opinion.

    1.  Take the long view.

    Pull yourself up to the view from 10,000 feet and speak from there. Getting out of the weeds of the current situation and speaking on a macro level may give you the confidence to dissent. After all, then you’re not talking about the specific issue, you’re talking about a general issue. Once you’ve been heard and understood (even if they don’t agree with you yet), you can bring it back down to the situation at hand and sway opinion.

    2.  Play with personas.

    For a moment, allow yourself to take on the role or character of someone who was confident at speaking out against the prevailing opinion. Think of it as playing Devil’s Advocate. You might ask yourself this: “If I was the kind of person who enjoyed speaking up with a counter-idea, what would I say?”

    3. Practice with a coworker who agrees with you.

    People tend to share their opinions more freely with those who have a similar approach. Practice your pitch for an alternate viewpoint with a supporter. If your practice partner can be in the room when you speak up with your minority opinion for the real deal, all the better!

    Whatever you do, do NOT sit idly by, holding back perfectly good opinions just because they are not what the majority is thinking. It’s not good for you and it’s not good for business.

    Go forth, break the Spiral of Silence and speak up.


    Have you seen someone caught in the Spiral of Silence in action? Share your example in the comments below.

    Like this? Share this post with a friend today.


  • 0