A picture of the Colosseum in Rome from the outside. In this case, the picture is symbolic of committing to something 100%: of being the "man in the arena."

The Top 10 Reasons to Commit 100% to Your Goals

Dave Personal Growth, Scale, Start

Are you 100% committed to your goals?

A common topic that comes up for entrepreneurs during coaching is whether or not they’re committing 100% to their company and goals. From the outside this is counterintuitive. It seems that entrepreneurs commit 100%, just by nature of being entrepreneurs!

In reality, though, commitment level fluctuates up and down over time. At times they’re more or less committed to their business based on what’s going on in their personal lives. And by nature, some projects are easier to commit 100% to than others, even when it’s your business!

The only person who can commit 100% is you

Entrepreneurs are responsible for every facet of their business, so they inevitably need to handle some projects and tasks they don’t enjoy. It’s these difficult, uncomfortable, or unpalatable projects that tend to end up with lower commitment levels. In some ways, being an entrepreneur is a two-way sword. Since you don’t have a boss to whom to be accountable, you’re relying solely on your own willpower. When it fluctuates… so do your results.

Why you should commit 100%

An absolutely critical skillset for entrepreneurial success is developing the ability to commit 100% to the goal, project, or task in front of you. But why is it so important? What’s different about being 100% committed instead of say, 99%? Read on for the top 10 reasons why you should commit 100% to your goals.

1) Once you commit 100%, it’s done

One of the biggest reasons people fail to commit 100% to anything is because they’re afraid of being trapped. What if you commit and something goes wrong? You’re stuck. What if you’re getting your ass kicked? You can’t retreat. Here’s the thing: once you commit 100% to what you’re working on, you’re freer than you were when you weren’t committed! As Jack Canfield states in his book The Success Principles, “99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze.”

Being all in doesn’t trap you. It frees you. Ask any married person. They were scared of commitment until they were actually married. The day after though, they woke up with a feeling of peace, safety, and relief they probably hadn’t anticipated. Once your decision is made, all the anxiety and fear around making the decision disappears.

2) Fear gets replaced with focus

When you commit 100% to a goal then accomplishing the goal becomes your sole focus. This means you can bring all of your mental and emotional energy to bear in order to accomplish your goal because you only have one available course of action.

Alternatively, when you’re not committed 100%, fear can suck away a lot of your energy. Rather than focusing on your goal, a lot of energy goes into evaluating your other options. What if things don’t go well? Do you have a parachute? What happens if you pull the ripcord? What options do you have? There are a million possibilities to distract you because there are unlimited courses of action other than following through. Ruminating on ripcord possibilities is fear-driven behavior. When you commit 100% these options disappear, and so does the fear.

3) You’re looking ahead to a positive result

When you’re all in and only focusing on accomplishing your goal then you’re living in a positive state of possibility. The more you zero in on your vision, the more you mobilize your intention to create a successful outcome. Your brainstorming and execution will work far better in a positive state.

Emotionally, it’s a far more fun and productive ride because you’re always focusing on a positive result. When you’re not committed 100% then you end up thinking a lot more about failure. Letting negative thinking creep in will only increase your chances of abandoning your goal before you succeed and that’s a great definition of failure.

4) You fight harder when you burn the boats

Take a lesson from Spanish Conquistador, Hernán Cortés. In 1519, when attempting to conquer the Aztec empire, he burned his ships after landing in Mexico. He knew his men would fight harder if he removed all possibility of retreat. When you truly commit 100%, you’re burning the boats, too. See your project through to completion. Meet your goal. Let that be the only choice.

If you prefer, take the lesson from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. “Do or do not. There is no try.”

5) Accomplishments help your confidence

Naturally, once you commit 100% to your goal you’ll start having small successes along the way. Each success you have will fuel your confidence and make you even more formidable as you continue down the path. Alternatively, if you spend your time waffling and failing to take action, you can end up trusting yourself less over time, and for good reason.

6) You’ll build trust with others

As your own confidence and trust in yourself grows, other people will begin to trust you more, too. They’ll see the results you’re creating and believe in your ability to get things done. They’ll also pick up subconsciously on your belief in yourself and be more willing to believe in you. Trust is the foundation of great relationships. Regardless of if you’re working with your team, customers, or vendors, being able to commit fully engenders trust.

7) There’s honor in committing 100%

Other people who know how to commit 100% will recognize you as a kindred spirit. People who struggle with commitment will respect and look up to your ability to do so. And there’s an inherent honor in going all in. Teddy Roosevelt said it best, in his quote about being the “man in the arena”:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

8) Regret becomes a thing of the past

The only time regret rears its head is when you know you could have done more. That’s when the “what ifs” set in. What if I had worked harder? Could I have made different decisions? What if I hadn’t been so afraid to commit?

When you commit 100% and give something your all there’s nothing to regret if you fail. If you ultimately fall short, you’ll fall short knowing you did everything you could. Without regret you can chalk it up to a learning experience and move forward, more experienced and wiser.

9) There’s more room for growth

When you commit 100% to something it normally means pushing past your fears and frequently venturing out of your comfort zone. Growth only happens when you’re out of your comfort zone. Personal growth and expansion become side effects of the journey you travel when you go all in to accomplish your goals. If you’re struggling with commitment, it’s probably because the fear of being out of your comfort zone is holding you back.

10) The last 1% separates the champions from the also-rans

When I watch the Olympics I’m always amazed at how close the competition is at the top. Hundredths of seconds dictate which athletes come home with gold and which miss the podium entirely. 99% doesn’t get it done in the Olympics. When you’re talking about hundredths of seconds, 99.9% doesn’t get it done. The gold medalists are the ones who have learned to pour ever single shred of themselves into their performance: a true 100% commitment. This lesson applies to your business and life, too. Holding anything back can make a huge difference in whether or not you hit your target.

Where else can you commit 100%?

Can you think of any goals or projects you have on your plate that you aren’t really all-in on? If so, why not? It’s probably fear: Fear of failure, fear of sacrifice, fear of being trapped. Fear will keep you in a box! Realize, though, that not committing won’t get you good results; it will just keep you from realizing your full potential. You can always choose to re-commit to the goals and projects that are most important, even if your commitment level has been slipping for some time.

If a goal or project sprang to mind for you, take a moment to make a choice: Go ahead and burn the boats. Be the man in the arena. Commit 100%! Once you take the plunge you’ll feel the weight of fear lift immediately, replaced with a surprising sense of freedom. Not only is it a great feeling, but it will also set you up to power through the finish line of your goal with positivity, confidence, and excitement.

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