What Have You Got At Stake? (If it’s nothing, give up now)


I talk a lot about taking action on your goals here on THDC. I think most of you reading it know that it makes sense – you aren’t going to get very far by consuming, thinking or dreaming. Even as a huge fan of planning, I know plans without action are a pointless waste of time.

But while taking action can be simple, it isn’t always easy. You can break it down into logical steps. You can make it easy to get started. You can envisage what’s going to happen when you meet your goals. You can use whatever productivity method you like,

But you know what?

None of it matters if you have nothing at stake.

Ask yourself:

If you don’t act on your plan – what happens?

If your answer is nothing, and you’ll just slip back to your comfortable, but unsatisfying day to day life, then I’d lay a big bet you’re not going to take the action you need to.

There has to be something at stake. It can be anything, but it has to MATTER to YOU.

We’ve all heard the stories of entrepreneurs who had hit rock bottom and that was the catalyst to go on and made millions.

A serious event, like getting laid off from work with no savings would force you to make your business work in a hurry right?

It needn’t be so drastic though. I found the motivation to start because something unusual was at stake.

If you don’t know the background to THDC, I explain most of it in the video here – but in one sentence: I was (one of 1,000 people) given $100 at the end of the WDS2012 conference, and felt compelled to pay it forward.

As I was leaving the theatre with a crisp $100 bill in my pocket, I felt electric. I assumed that it was the feeling of awe from watching someone give away $100,000, but then I realised it was something different. That $100 had changed everything for me.

I didn’t need $100 cash – the conference had cost me 20 times that to attend. But the responsibility I felt to do something great with that money was incredible.

I HAD to create a great story – I felt completely compelled to do it.

The thought of telling someone that I wasted that opportunity just wasn’t an option. I felt like my reputation was at stake if I didn’t follow through with this. [ My reputation for what and with whom I’m not entirely sure. But basically I didn’t want to think of myself as the type of person who let this slide. ]

Over the next year, whenever I felt like not pushing on, I looked back on that moment, and knew I had to do it. I had to create the story. And I had to make it good enough to go back and tell it the following year.

That $100 didn’t have the same impact on everyone in the audience. And not everyone reading this is going to get given a hundred bucks. That’s not the point.

The point is to find something that makes you completely invested in your journey.

Something that gives you “skin in the game”.

The best stakes also have an upside – mine was that if I created a good enough story, I’d have a shot at speaking on stage the next year.

So maybe your stake is a financial investment in your business. You don’t want to lose it, and if you make things work, then you’ll get a return.

Or maybe you publicly announce that you’re going to do something big, and you can’t bear to lose face and admit defeat. If you do it, then you’ve got the upside of achieving your goal.

It could be a bet with an accountability buddy – the simplest of stakes – lose and pay up, win and take their money…

Whatever works for you, you need to have something at stake

If you’re just going to “give it a try and see” – don’t bother, you’ll probably give up.

I’ve tried lots of things on my journey away from traditional work, and I’ve seen hundreds of people on different paths in The Hundred Dollar Club. There’s an underlying pattern.

Those who’ve got something at stake succeed more often

It’s just too easy to give up when there are no consequences.