All or Nothing

All or nothing.  It’s not just a statement; it’s a mentality. And it’s one of the biggest roadblocks on my path to success.  Maybe you can relate.

When I set out to accomplish something, I immediately focus on the end destination – the All.  And then I look over the vast gap between where I am and where I want to be and immediately start drowning in overwhelming reality. Suddenly, All seems impossible. Which then only leaves Nothing on the table. All OR Nothing…that’s the choice this mentality affords me.

Imagine with me for a minute…

We’ve just come upon a massive mountain that we feel absolutely compelled to climb. Standing at the very bottom, we look up.

Holy. Moly.

This mountain is big.  And we are little…and standing at the very bottom. For me, this is where All or Nothing starts kicking in.

I want to get to the top of that mountain right now. But how could I ever get there from here? I don’t even know how to climb. And I don’t have any of the necessary gear. That mountain is really high and I’ll probably spend more time falling than climbing.  Good grief, I’m probably going to end up killing myself trying to get up there. What an unrealistic goal. I can’t do it. I’ll just go home and spend the day surfing the internet instead. I’m really good at that.


Up until very recently, I never realized I looked at life this way. I just figured I was really good at giving up and failing. But then a couple years ago, I stumbled on something Oprah had written (did you just roll your eyes?!!) that described exactly my All or Nothing mindset. And a light bulb went on for me.

She said the key to overcoming that mindset is to focus only on the first step you need to take to get moving.  Not the whole journey or even the first mile. Only that very first step.

In the case of our imaginary mountain climbing expedition, what would I need to do to get moving? Learn how to climb, right? So, my very first step would be to find some rock climbing lessons. Ok, that’s not too hard. And I even get to use my stellar internet surfing skills! After I finish that step, I would focus on the very next step.  And keep going until I‘m finally on top of that mountain.

It seems so logical and easy, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It just sometimes takes someone turning on the light bulb.

In the real world, here’s how I‘m applying this concept. As you probably already know, my goal is to find a way to break my addiction to the Corporate American grind and find a way to support myself in a creative, soul-fulfilling way.  Holy. Moly. That mountain is big. But, this time, I’m taking each step as comes. First step – to live a creative life, you have to do creative things. Check! Next step – if you want Opportunity to find you, you have to put yourself out there. Check!

And the next step? Earning money! Stay tuned for a “Check!” on that one. The picture with today’s post might have something to do with that. (Or it might not. This one is still a work in progress.)

Ok, now it’s your turn. What’s your mountain? And what is the very first step you need to take to start climbing it? If you’re not sure, I can help you brainstorm!

  12 comments for “All or Nothing

  1. Jeans Y
    January 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I totally get this 🙂 Late bloomers – unite!

    • admin
      January 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Yes!! =)

  2. Rob
    January 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Well said! I think I struggle with that all or nothing mentality constantly. In my mind I always know exactly what I want to get done but as the days unfold and I find myself not making much progress or realizing how much there is left to do, I tend to get discouraged and wind up putting it off. I need to get much better at breaking things up into manageable tasks that will periodically give me some sense of accomplishment, which I’m thinking is much better than reaching too far and feeling like a failure.

    I’m so glad you’re taking steps to reach your goal. You deserve to be happy doing what you love to do!

    Thanks again for another awesome post!

    P.S. Sorry I rolled my eyes at the Oprah comment. 😉

    • admin
      January 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      LOL! That’s ok. I fully expected eye-rolling over that one. ;P It’s so easy to get caught up in the big picture & overwhelmed by it. I can’t tell you what a difference taking it step by step makes.

      Thanks Rob!! You’re the best! xoxoxox

  3. Jill
    January 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    WELL SAID!!!! Keep climbing that mountain my friend keep climbing!

    • admin
      January 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks sista!! I’m gettin’ there!! =)

  4. Angel
    January 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    A-freakin-men! Who doesn’t know that feeling/mind-set? I wish I didn’t. Good for you for going for your goal one step at a time! Happy for you and can’t wait to hear more about this journey! Well said! Another great written post. Keep em coming! 🙂

    • admin
      January 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Ahhh, thanks girlie!!! Love ya!! xoxoxox

  5. Paul
    January 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I sooooooo need to brainstorm with you. Another brilliant post!

    • admin
      January 21, 2012 at 12:04 am

      Thanks Paul!!! =) Anytime you want to brainstorm, just let me know. xoxoxox

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