Living Your Life All In

Ellevate Network
6 min readApr 3, 2023

By: Tosca DiMatteo

I’ve always been the kind of person that goes all in, all the time. And this year I’m taking it to a whole new level.

But not in the toxic “all in” way that we’ve been conditioned to believe it has to look like. In other words — not in the grind, force, and claw my way up at-all-costs kind of way. Not in that patriarchal forgo all self-care, maniacally focused, forget everyone else to achieve my dreams kind of way. I’m not even talking about new year’s resolutions, goals and, checklists.

I’m talking about an ethos and a healthy relationship with commitment.

[Related: My Time Off Saved Me From Career Exhaustion]

What does it look like to live ALL IN?

Pushing past self doubt.

When I decided to get my MBA, I had no guidance about the process, at all. I decided to attend a few MBA fairs and I didn’t have time to do all the preparing I wanted before leaving for the trip and so I put my printer in the car along with everything else and I booked a hotel via HOTWIRE.

I ended up at Le Parker Meridian in midtown without a clue about it means to be New York chic. I unloaded my printer in a banana box and lord know what else and I just remember the bellman looking at me like I was crazy. I sure didn’t know what I was doing, but I was definitely crazy ALL IN.

But the story doesn’t end there. I felt so insecure when speaking with one of the women at the event in Boston about my dream to get an MBA. In fact, I got so emotional — to the point of tears — and she didn’t seem to have an empathetic bone in her body. But I knew at that point I WAS ALL IN. I was GOING TO GET MY MBA and I pushed forward.

Despite the uncertainty, despite the lack of confidence, despite not knowing how I was even going to pay for it on a salary of a whopping $33,000 at the time. And you know what? I freaking did it. I got my MBA from Michigan State University (go green!).

Being a damn good friend.

I’m not being cocky here — I’m just being honest and owning one of my greatest superpowers. Frankly, I think this superpower is also how I’m also able to be a damn good coach.

I’m not the kind of friend that says “What do you need?” — I’m the kind of friend that jumps into the river with you ’cause I’m not afraid to get wet. When my friends need to have surgery, I sit at their bedside in the hospital — and I fight to stay overnight when I think that’s what’s needed. I’m the kind of friend that gets on a plane the next weekend when I find out that my friend’s boyfriend cheated on her after ten years of being together. I’m the kind of friend that doesn’t shy away from sending condolences after a loss or having a conversation at the risk of saying the wrong thing. I also jump on the plane when it’s time to celebrate the good times and take time off from work to honor what I feel really matters in life.

For me, being a friend who’s all into the relationship means I’m not a friend sometimes, or when it’s convenient. It’s about being consistent and present, especially when it’s needed the most.

[Related: Dreaming Big and Investing Wisely Can Change Your Life and Career] Getting back up again.

In my career, I was out on a Performance Development Plan two different times. If you know anything about how corporate works, you know about forced rankings, favoritism, and every other “ism” that keeps talented people down. I don’t care how confident you are, those are painful experiences. Including realizing (eventually) what role you have in those situations repeating.

Fast forward, and the true full-on effort to build my own business came in the thick of a pandemic. Momentum was hard to feel and financial wins were few and far between.

Being all in is being willing to feel all the damn things that come with learning forward, including doubt, fear, disappointment, and everything in between and STILL GETTING UP carrying the tiny seed of hope you have, the morsel of belief you have in yourself to keep going.

So, when I say that this year I’m going ALL IN like I never have before — you know that it’s getting real. Which is why I’m sharing what ALL IN means to me this year.

Let me put it to you this way, my 2023 mantra is “Love me or get the @#$% out of the way.”

Now I know this doesn’t sound very “coachy” — but I’m not your average coach either. I’m not waiting to be liked, accepted, invited, or even supported. This is the year I own every ounce of my superpowers and I’m not afraid to tell my potential clients or even collaborators — this work will change your life. I’m not disheartened when I hear the word “no” — but rather I’m energized to find the next YES. I’m not questioning if the universe has my back — I know in every cell of my body that it does.

My ALL IN means I’m claiming all of my space in this world. I’m owning that I belong here, exactly where I am in this moment, and I’m not giving up. My ALL IN looks like sunshine and sunsets. It looks like dancing in the rain and feels like a fire in my belly.

This conviction that I have about not leaving anything on the table means that it’s hard to watch when folks want to splash in the shallow end and shy away from the thrill of the free fall of the dive! There’s no better song that expresses this than “Cheers to the Fall!”

Forget dipping your toe — GO ALL THE WAY!

Let me tell you what pains my soul — when folks come to me knowing they need a change, knowing they want something different for themselves — and yet they refuse to give themselves a chance to write a new story. People usually come to me when they are experiencing massive discomfort. Perhaps they have been in slight pain for many years, but finally things are aching all over and they realize it’s time to finally make a change.

In these conversations, I tell them the real real — I say look, transformation is looking in the mirror and diving deep into your heart to see what’s there. I tell them it’s not about looking externally for the answers, but asking themselves — perhaps for the first time ever — “What do I want?” I let them know I don’t have the answers, but I know how to help find their own inner guidance. Most of the time the heads nod and they say things like “Yes, I want that” and “Makes sense.” Many of those folks become my clients — and it’s incredible.

But I can’t help but be in agony over those who slowly back up from the proverbial pool of water that I have taken them to. There is a myriad of reasons why these seekers end up choosing a different route, and I honor that. I don’t push or judge, and I never say you “should.” What I do think to myself is “Ughhhh, if they went ALL IN, right now — in this moment — things could be so different.”

To me,

ALL IN is truly living.

ALL IN is courageous, scary, and also exhilarating.

ALL IN is liberating and expansive.

ALL IN is honoring who we lost and who’s coming behind us.

So I hope that by this point you are asking yourself:

Do I go ALL IN to my dreams and future vision of myself?

[Related: The Career Move of a Decade is Waiting For You…and Time is Running Out.]

Tosca DiMatteo supports businesses to create people-centric cultures and individuals to experience transformational change to live their truth unapologetically. For details, email her at breakthrough@toscadimatteo.com to get started or schedule an exploratory call here.

Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com on April 12, 2023.

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