What’s at Stake If You Don’t Succeed?

In 1986 I started my own publishing company with Robert Wolgemuth. We had worked together at Word, Inc. and then at Thomas Nelson. Like a lot of young entrepreneurs, we had a big dream, a business plan, but few resources.

Orel hershiser Pitching

We raised enough money from investors to launch the company, but we were still strapped for cash. Regardless, we soldiered on, believing that God would bless our creativity, hard work, and commitment to excellence.

Our first big break came in 1988 when the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series. After the final game, Robert and I miraculously got an appointment with Orel Hershiser, the Dodgers’ pitcher. We met with him in Washington, D.C. just after he met with President Reagan.

Our meeting went well. He hadn’t considered writing a book, but we were able to talk him into it. He seemed genuinely excited.

After our meeting, we visited the Washington Redskins practice field together, where we met Coach Joe Gibbs and watched the Redskins practice. Orel was a major celebrity and everyone on the team wanted to shake his hand.

We then flew with Orel and his agent to New York by private jet where we had dinner together. It was heady stuff for a couple of young businessmen from Nashville.

We were really excited about the idea of publishing Orel’s book, but we knew we would be in competition with the biggest publishers on the planet. They would surely drive up the royalty advance for the book, but we hoped against hope that we could make a favorable enough impression that he would publish with us in spite of the money.

A few days later, Orel’s agent called us. He said, “I have great news. Orel would like to publish his book with you, provided you are willing to pay a royalty advance of $150,000.”

Without a moments hesitation, we both said, “Absolutely. We’re in!” We then promised to get him a contract the next day. We were pumped!

We hung up the phone and high-fived one another. After a few seconds, I said, “Only one problem … where are we going to come up $150,000?”

Robert laughed, “Oh, yea, that!

We didn’t know if we should celebrate or puke. It was one of those times in business where the line between success and disaster is razor thin.

Robert finally suggested that we call Jack, one of our investors, who also sat on our board. He said, “I’m sure Jack will lend us the money. This is a no-brainer.”

A few minutes later, we had Jack on the phone. We shared with him our story of meeting Orel, and his agent’s decision to give us the book. Jack was enthusiastic. “Way to go guys. I am proud of you!”

Robert then said, “Yea, only one problem, Jack. We need $150,000 for the royalty advance. We’re confident this book will be a bestseller, so we just need a short-term loan. Can you help us out?”

We held our breath.

To our surprise, Jack said, “You bet, guys. This is going to be huge.”

Robert and I pumped our fists and quietly mouthed the word, “Yes!”

“Just one thing I need you to do,” Jack continued. “As part of the loan agreement, I need you to pledge your homes to me as collateral. If you are willing to do that, we can make this happen quickly.”

Uh-oh. We didn’t see that coming.

What Jack understood, and we eventually learned, is that having skin in the game makes it easier for everyone to win. I’ve seen it again and again—in life and in business.

When you have something significant at stake:

  1. Your attention is focused. Winning or losing matters.
  2. You work harder, because you have a stake in the outcome. If the book didn’t work, we would lose our homes.
  3. You won’t walk away as easily. You have to fight until the bitter end. This is good for everyone involved.

As it turns out, we did agree to Jack’s terms. He loaned us the money, and we published Orel’s book, Out of the Blue. It landed on the New York Times list at #4 where it remained for several weeks. The whole process took less than ninety days from the first phone call to hitting the list.

Thankfully, we were able to repay Jack the money we owed him. Our wives were happy too, since we didn’t need to move out and turn our property over to Jack. This was one of those times when everything just worked.

The moral of the story is this: if you want to accomplish big goals, you need to have skin in the game. You don’t have to pledge your house, but you need to have something significant at stake. The more concrete you can make it, the better.

Questions: Think of your biggest goal right now. What is at stake if you achieve it? What is at stake if you don’t achieve it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

Get my FREE video series now!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Great question.  We often don’t create BIG goals, because the stakes are too high – or we think the stakes are too high.

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve gone through some things that rocked the foundation of my goal oriented mentality.  As the recovery process has progressed, I’m more prepared to make big goals again.  This post is a good reminder to make those BIG goals and be prepared for the stakes involved with the goals.  Thanks!

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      I have a similar story over the past few years. Glad to hear you’re bouncing back from the setbacks!

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Way to go in getting back into things Jon. 

    • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

       Glad to know you’re bouncing back too!

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Highly motivational story! Yes, achievement goes to a higher level when we put ourselves wholly into it. I believe this what Jesus meant when He talked about what is at stake for being His disciple – “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple” (Luke 14:33 MSG). The higher the stakes, the greater the results!

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      That’s a very good observation. I’ve been thinking about my reputation recently as a Musician in the Music Industry in Sydney. I am fearful of losing my reputation but also hungry to stand up for Christ in a tarnished industry. Skin in the game matters.

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        Daren, your hunger is genuine! Stand up for Jesus and He will stand up for you!

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Nothing motivates like the threat of having to move out of one’s house :)

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        Very true.  Not sure what my wife would say about losing our home with three kids!

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        True! :)

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Completely agree with last line.  Higher stakes, greater results. 

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        Yes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1244640469 Tracy Hoots Hoexter

    I love this! Thanks for sharing!

    I have a question that could perhaps be a topic for you to blog on. My husband is trying to get  his Facebook ‘fan page’ started (he’s a musician). He currently has about 1,500 friends on his personal page, but only 200 on the fan page. How do you get friends to switch to fans, or does it matter (marketing-wise)?

    Thanks for always being so open!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a tough one. I got Facebook support to to switch them for me, but no one else I know was able to do that. I think I would just notify them what you are doing and then make sure the fan page was providing lots of value. You may have to notify them several times.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1244640469 Tracy Hoots Hoexter

        Thank you VERY much for your reply. We’ll get to work on it. Hey, in return, if you like jazz, let me know and I’ll send you his latest cd, Fromage.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        That’s a very tough one since most of your valuable information is already on your personal Facebook page. I’m still scratching my head on that one.

        • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

          See my note to Tracy above. Seriously, FB has made it easier to juggle the two (personal and business). Even with a purpose very similar between the two, it is possible with FB’s recent admin changes.

      • Anonymous

        Great question from Tracy.  I am in the midst of getting my new consulting and coaching business up an running.  I have an FB page but have not officially begun to get support there.  My website is 3/4 complete.  After one more meeting with my designer, I should be ready to announce it to the world.

        Any suggestions on getting the word out?  I have been dripping it into my tweets which are linked to FB.  I have now also mentioned my new business to Michael Hyatt on his blog!  Any thoughts on a strategy beyond this to start well?

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      I had the same conflict about two years ago when my wife, Wendy, and I started taking our fan page seriously. I decided to have both a friend’s Facebook and a fan Facebook (and my wife does the same). It was pretty clunky at first, but Facebook recently changed its back-end to make it pretty seamless. We’re both able to switch between the two (one more laid back and personal, one more business-focused) fairly easily now.

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        Sounds like a lot of people are having that same experience. 

    • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

      Tracy, I question the value of a facebook page.  I have one for me personally and one for my music.  I have noticed my friends will ‘like’ my music page.  But what is the difference?  I’m not sure I see and advantage, financially or platform wise, to having a ton of ‘likes’ on a fan page opposed to the regular page.  That’s just my thoughts lately, they may change as I learn more.  

    • Rob Sorbo

      Another thing to consider is that some of the people on his friends page might be actual friends, while others may just be fans. If FB allows you to switch everyone over, will he be left with no friends or will he manually have to unfriend all the people that he doesn’t actually know?

      I know this seems like a daunting task, but I think the most efficient way to do this will be to max out his friends capability (I think its at 5000). This will give him a good case to FB that he needs to be switched over.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Personally, I wouldn’t count on that. Everyone I know who has tried this has not been able to get help from FB. I would switch now, take my lumps, and build a fan page.

    • http://twitter.com/asparagusguy Neal Ely

      I run into the same challenge with my facebook page.  I have 1300 friends on facebook, and only 200 (of the total 500) of them are fans of my business.  You never want to be too in there face about “liking” your buisness, just as you don’t want to always be promoting and selling to your facebook followers.  I actually don’t even talk about my business much on my personal page-because I dont’ want my friends to get tired of hearing about my business.  One example of how I can gain more followers without directly asking about is as follows:  I go to farmers markets each summer.  A gal who blogs about food stops by, takes pictures of me at my booth, and then sends me the pictures.  I upload the pictures to my Ely Farms page, and tag myself in the pictures.  This then comes across my personal timeline, and my friends see me working with my business, and see that the photos were posted by my business, and if they do like my business, they have the oportunity to “like” it.  This is just a small example.  I have also began using facebook as my business, following other businesses or events, and connecting with them (writing on their walls, taking part in their survey’s, ect.)  Since I have been doing this, I seem to have more people following me.  Hope this helps!  Best wishes!

      • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

         I like that tactic.  Good idea.

    • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

       Tracy – good question.  Here’s what I suggest, your husband should just make his current page with his friends, aware he has a separate page and ask them to like it.  If they don’t, no biggie, just make that account focused on his music stuff.  Then open a separate account for his real friends.  The way the timeline and all of that has changed, many of us are now using the first page we did on Facebook as more of a business and marketing page.  I have three separate Facebook accounts and love it because all of my acquaintances are in one and the other one I have set up for church friends and then my real friends.  Church friends, I don’t consider real friends since most of the people are acquaintances.  Plus you can also change how you use the Facebook setting and he can start posting as his page, so then more people will get a clue.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I love hearing your back-story Michael. It is always interesting to see the things you have done and where you have come from.

     

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I thought the same thing! It helps to see the years and experience that are behind Michael’s success today. Reminds me that it takes time and ongoing determined effort to make your goals a reality.

      • http://changingtheworld.me/ Vadim Mialik

        Right there with you on that Joe and Michele. Following Michael for a while now, it is interesting to see that his life includes a multitude of key events, and early life experiences, with great risk involved.  Yes Michael we need a full blog and not just few books to see your life story and how it turns out. 

  • http://www.hansschiefelbein.com Hans Schiefelbein

    Great story. So applicable because on a smaller (or different) scale we need to do the same – have skin in the game. It’s not my home as collateral, but for me it is spending valuable time with new clients (for FREE) and earning their business.

    Thanks Michael (and Gail;)

    • Jim Martin

      Hans, it struck me as I read the last line of your comment (“…spending valuable time with new clients (for FREE) and earning their business.”), how many of us would prefer instead to live life at a distance.  We would like to see the results we want without the time consuming work you describe.

      • http://www.hansschiefelbein.com Hans Schiefelbein

        So true Jim. It’s a community of hard workers with like-minded goals that is the difference between comfort and challenging three status quo.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Hans. Totally agree.  Have you read The Go Giver?  Great book on giving.  

      • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

         I have never heard of that book, but will definitely look it up now.  Thanks!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Giving away something for free is a great way to build a loyal base of customers/followers. And it’s just nice. :)

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    Big goals often require big risks.  The key I’ve found is to make sure you plan as best you can, and have others look at the plans to make sure you haven’t missed something.

    Inevitably you will miss some things along the jourrney, but if you have an overall solid plan, and measures in place to reduce/prevent failure, the process is more enjoyable.

    Glad you didn’t lose your homes, too :-)

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      Planning. It takes so long yet is so important for success. Thanks for the reminder.

      • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

        Thanks Daren!  Yes, planning takes a long time, but I tend to think of planning as being similar to making a movie.  A 90 minute movie probably takes years to develop, write, casting, locations, directing and producing, all for 90 minutes of entertainment.

    • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

      Good observation.  There is a difference between ‘skin in the game’ and a gamble.  Planning, input and information may be the difference.  

      • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

        Thanks for your comment Sutton!  The more you do up front, the more likely you’ll be successful, or at least reduce the impact of a failure

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    I want to do some Music Worship projects with our young adults ministry. I am in the game but I haven’t got anything invested into it financially. Perhaps we need people to financially back a great idea so that we all have skin in the game. That could be a starter.

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      I just realised I do have skin in the game. Spending valuable time with Key team leaders right at the beginning of my leadership in young adults worship and earning respect and their hearts.

    • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

      Perhaps a site like Kickstarter could help with the music project. 

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        Definitely. I’ve already considered it. Before I go through with it though, I need to believe in the project enough myself. I won’t be taking it to that level until I believe in the Heart of the Project and the songs themselves. It could be a while, but its worth the wait!

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    Definitely a great post – if you have a stake on the bet somewhat you get committed. You will, your inner core will give you the extra push to drive forward.

    • Jim Martin

      Juan, you are right.  Whatever we might have at stake really does impact the level of our commitment.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Juan, absolutely having skin in the games gives you that extra motivation!

  • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

    I was just thinking, that is a great point for self publishing too. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to mortgage my house to see this thing through?” If you believe in the book enough to say “YES!” enthusiastically, then go for it. If not, then maybe it isn’t worth putting out there. As you say, putting skin in the game changes the equation for everyone. It does make it easier to win because you have to win! There is no more option to lose.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great point about self-publishing. I hadn’t thought about that. Thanks.

    • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

      Burl, perhaps you don’t have to mortgage your house to self-publish.  My first book cost less than $1,000.  It may end up a little more than that due to the number I am giving away.  Starting small allows me to view feedback, gain confidence and not take unnecessary risk.  Boot strapping has it’s advantages.  Just a thought, I love your spirit!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Very good point.  Even beyond publishing.  Would I risk my house to start a business?  Would I risk my house to start a church?  Principle goes across the board. 

      • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

         And on a deeper level would you risk your reputation to share the gospel with others, especially if you’re not being paid for it.

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    PS That’s an amazing story Michael. Thank you so much for sharing it. It has encouraged me to put skin in ‘MY Game’.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Daren.  I am with you.  Very inspiring story.  Makes it a bit easier for me to take risks. 

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Wow.  What a story.  If you don’t have much to lose, or if you are only risking other people’s money, it’s easy to shirk the responsibility that should be a part of doing business.  

    At present, I feel like I am risk averse.  Call it life stage, or call it whatever.  Mostly it is just not having a similar opportunity.

    There is a friend, however, with whom I would love to work one day in our own leadership training business.  Both of us have dreamed of this for a long time. At this point, I am not sure what it would take to see it happen, but it is a dream.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Have you ever been in the position of spending someone else’s money? It just isn’t the same. Great perspective, Thad.

  • http://amylynnandrews.com/ Amy Lynn Andrews

    So true. Being invested is everything. Great post.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Thanks for commenting Amy. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Amy! So great to see you on the site here. I’ve been reading your material off-and-on for the past few years. Really great stuff!

  • Anonymous

    This was an excellent story and presents a side of my current challenge I had not fully considered, (or perhaps have been avoiding?) I’m currently wrestling out my very first book proposal, I fight the constant battle of insecurity, because I am new in this game, but the feeling persists that I am ‘supposed’ to do this, regardless of weather or not my book ever sees the light of day… All this rambling is to say that I am not sure I have any real skin in this game… I have no investors, I have only the small cheering crowd of a couple of close friends and family. What is at stake for me here- I have no idea actually, but your words have given me pause to consider something that I otherwise had not. This is my long-winded “thank you”.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. By putting your book “out there” (perhaps as a serious of blog posts), you can get skin in the game. It takes courage, but you can see ow the public responds. You can still publish it as a book later. Thanks.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks so much. I am mulling over the best option for me and nailing down that proposal. I’m trusting God to lead me through this process and appreciate the wealth of insight I glean from you and others in the field. God bless you!

    • http://www.suttonparks.com/ Sutton Parks

      The great thing today is that you don’t have to rely on publishers anymore.  Either way, with a publisher or by self-publishing, you still have skin in the game because you are expected to promote it.  And a dream held close to the heart along with action to achieve it is ‘skin in the game’.  I wish you all the success in the world with your book.  Let me know when it’s out.  

  • Jack Lynady

    Wow this was a great read. U packed a lot of drama into this post. Thx for the morning rush Michael. ;)

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      I was captivated as well. What a sense of adventure Michael has!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Jack –
      Completely agree.  It was like a cup of inspiration filled coffee. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Wow, Michael, what a timely post. I was just thinking through a lot of big decisions this morning. The school district where I work is offering early retirement. It’s a great opportunity, but it’s not the ideal time. To take it means a lot of things time wise and financially. One of them is to make my “Platform” profitable. I’ve been a blogger for almost seven years. In that time I’ve seen my traffic grow each year, and I make a few hundred dollars a month from advertising and affiliate sales. But I’ve never had to count on it.

    Now I’m looking at the opportunity that an additional 11 hours a day will afford me. Can I take this time and create products and services that people will want to buy? Can I actually make money as a speaker, a writer, and a technology person?

    This new economy has opened so many opportunities, yet very few of them are secure and stable sources of income. The business arena is constantly changing. To come from a stable but unfulfilling job into the marketplace of ideas is scary but incredibly exciting at the same time.

    Having skin in the game will certainly help. Your guidance over the past few years has been incredibly useful. You have helped me in so many ways with your blog posts and  eBooks. And now that you are working from home, it’s great to see how your extra time has paid off for you. As I count down the days until June, I am having to plan out my future. Your life plan has been very helpful to ask the right questions and work through the answers.

    Thanks for the encouragement to build a platform. I can’t wait for your book to come out in May and put its precepts to work.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. You are on the edge of a great opportunity, I think. By the way, if you haven’t read The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard, you must. It is about creating information products. It’s incredible! Also, take a look at The Total Product Blueprint..

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Thanks for the kind words. You are off to a great start already.

    • Jim Martin

      John, you are making some very big decisions right now.  I wish you the very best in this as you anticipate your future.  

      As you reflected on the ways that Michael’s writing has helped you, I could echo several of your statements.   Thanks.

  • Edward Mulondo

    The Post ” WHAT’S AT STAKE IF YOU DON’T SUCCEED?” is so very right and inspiring for me and hopefully for others. I now kow that I have to increase my risk taking in order to win.

    Thks Michael 

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Edward … Glad you found this post motivating! My question to you is, what’s one way you can take a risk today to put some “skin in the game”?

  • http://elevationlife.com Bryan Thompson

    Michael, I needed this today. It’s tempting to look for pie in the sky for our goals, but it rarely causes us to put everything we have into what we’re doing. Fear of losing your homes is strong motivation to succeed. 

    For anyone on the fence about their idea, this post should serve as a wake up that it’s time to go all the way!

    Count me in! I’m in!

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      I’m in, too. This was a great reminder to me that opportunities don’t find you. You have to find them, yeah?

    • Rob Sorbo

      Hey Bryan, didn’t expect to see you here. I just finished reading your ebook and I liked it. Finding my passion has always been a struggle of mine–I’m going to work through my passions list soon.

      I think being at a church like NPC causes us to miss this message pretty easily. The church has a lot of resources, so planting these new campuses doesn’t feel as risky to the average attendee. What can we do to create the buy-in and stake that is necessary to see Tommy’s huge visions happen?

  • Anonymous

    I have recently gone “all in” by leaving a corporate leadership job of 20+ years.  I had become comfortable.  When I realized that, I also realized I don’t do comfortable well.

    A lot of people are watching how my business goes:  Anderson Leadership Solutions.  I am in a financial situation where my skin in the game will not be financial unless I fail for many years without making a “Necessary Endings”.  (Great book by Henry Cloud)

    My skin is one of pride and reputation.  Here is my question…Is that the wrong way to look at this?  Pride is sinful.  Where can I focus my attention?  It has to be in pleasing God in how I approach my work and those He puts in front of me to have impact on doesn’t it?

    I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on that…

    • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

      I wonder if it is the amount of pride that is sinful.  I’m sure God wants me to take pride in my work.  However there are times when I have gone overboard with pride and forgot humility and that God’s grace makes it possible to do what I do.  What do you think?

      • Anonymous

        Sutton you are on to something there!  God does make it all possible.  He is sovereign.  If I am sure to bring glory to Him, no matter the outcomes, I believe I will be following His will for me.

        Pride in what the Lord accomplishes…not what Dave does!

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    This is such an interesting concept to me!  Fear is what keeps me from trying. As Seth Godin said the other day, “Fear is the dream killer, the silent voice that pushes us to lose our passion in a vain attempt to seek safety.”  However, if my fear were the thing pushing me to success, instead of keeping me from trying…wow.

    I’ve always worked to have “nothing to lose” if I fail. Maybe I’ve had the wrong stragedy?

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      It is indeed counter-intuitive. Like any good rule, there are obviously some exceptions. Having skin in the game creates a lot of pressure. There are extremely talented and creative people out there who are stifled by having too much at stake. Fear paralyzes them.

      That said, if you are going to be asking someone for $150k to build your dream, you better be willing to go all in.

      I think it is natural Kelly to try to minimize our own risk. This is wise. If we risk everything each time, we’ll have nothing left for when it really counts.

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        I think you are right Jason. It is a balance. Having something at stake is a great motivater, but Las Vegas was built by people who were willing to go all in…and lost. I’m not a risk taker at all, so I think it would benefit me to take small chances…in wisdom, and with prayer. 

        • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

          Kelly —

          I was listening to Seth Godin over the weekend (Tribes) and was struck when he said that we are not afraid of failure but of blame/criticism. 

          Having recently realized that I pour an inordinate amount of time and effort into being “above reproach” — meaning that my prized end result has been NOTHING — this really hit home.

          He then went on to point out that criticism is short-term and wears off; the remarkable thing we did is long-term and lasts. This has me asking, “What long-term community contribution and personal satisfaction am I be missing out on because I’m trying so hard to avoid short-term criticism?”

          A friend sent me this quote in early January: “To avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” (Elbert Hubbard)

          For me, 2012 is the year in which I quit revering “NOTHING” and risk being re-markable.

          • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

            I don’t want to be “nothing” either Cheri!  Wise words. From you and from Seth.

        • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

          Amen.

    • Jim Martin

      Kelly, 
      Your second sentence says so much.  “Fear is what keeps me from trying.”  As I read that I thought about times when I avoided a particular challenge due to fear.  I suspect that many people can relate to this.  Far too often, I have waited for the perfect circumstances to emerge instead of stepping into the fear and moving ahead.

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        I need to work on stepping into the fear, when my fear is holding me back.  At the same time, sometimes wisdom is what is calling out “stop.”  Figuring out when to go for it, and when to pull out is the thing.  At different times, each of those actions will be called the wise one.

        • Jim Martin

          Very true, Kelly.  One of the challenges I have faced is discerning what is wisdom and fear.  This is where I have been helped by getting input and the discernment of others.  In the end, I still have to make a decision but at least I feel like it is more informed.  

    • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

      Kelly, that’s what this post has brought to my attention.  Just because I don’t have a house to lose doesn’t mean I have nothing to lose.  I can lose the chance to live a life of my dreams.  I learned that I do have something to lose.   I love how you pointed that out in your post.

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Thanks Sutton. I guess I really do have something to lose…something big…if I don’t try. Thanks for your perspective!

  • Michael Mulligan

    Few are willing to put in the skin.  At the end of the day, or your life, are you going to wish you put in the skin or regret you resisted your shot at living your dreams?  I don’t have any skin left because I went “all in.”  Glad I did it.  It taught me the lessons I need to achieve my dreams.  Houses are just brick and mortar.  Dreams are bigger than that, they’re worth risking the skin.  Once you lose your skin, everyone can see what’s left, your heart.  Mine still beats.  Nice post, Michael.  Way to hit the home run when you were up against one of the greatest pitchers of all times.  Great inspiration.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Well said Michael. “Go big, or go home.”

    • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

      Right on Michael.  You said you went all in and it taught you the lessons you needed to achieve your dreams.  That is a great lesson for me to hear right now.  Thank you.

      • Michael Mulligan

        You’re welcome, Sutton.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Very true Michael.  You only have one life.  

  • Anonymous

    Love this post. Thanks, Michael. 

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Glad you liked the post, Bruce. 

  • Myhealthytools

    As someone who is self employed, calling my own shots, this is a fantastic reminder that I need to figure out what does “skin in the game” mean to me today! I think that has changed over the years. Excellent post, as always! Thank You!

    Kelly A. Madison

  • http://www.dompfeiffer.com/ Dominique Pfeiffer

    Thank you Michael for sharing this story. As we are in the process of launching our first product within the next weeks, your story was very encouraging to me. For me a lot is at stake, so I am very motivated to fight to the end! God willing, it will all work out for His good.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Congrats. I hope the launch goes well!

    • Rob Sorbo

      Very cool. What type of product are you launching?

      • http://www.dompfeiffer.com/ Dominique Pfeiffer

        Thanks for asking. We are going to offer individual designed websites for a low monthly fee. We are targeting small businesses, professional individuals, as well as public associations.

      • nike

        You made some good points there. I did a search on
        the topic and found most people will agree with your topic.
         

        cheap
        beats by dre: http://www.beatsdrepro.com/

      • sophia lin

        This really is for the reason that you could now obtain these fashionable [url=http://newralphlaurenpolos.com/womens-shortsleeved-tennis-polo-in-dark-blue-white-red-p-325.html] Women’s Short-Sleeved Tennis Polo [/url] over the internet at rates you never ever imagined possible.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    “We didn’t know if we should celebrate or puke. It was one of those times
    in business where the line between success and disaster is razor thin.”

    Been there. This line is a gem. Isn’t it interesting that we strive to reduce the risk in all our business ventures, but that is usually where the greatest returns on investment lie? Where the path is razor thin?

  • Anthony DiMaio

    Wow… If I said anything more, it would be too much.  Great advice, not only for business but also for ministry… Just thinking about the ‘business model’ – – definitely this follows what Jesus did.  He did have “skin in the game”… He put it all in. Thanks Michael for making us all re-think everything that we do… AGAIN.

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      I love your analogy Anthony! Jesus put it all on the line…to death.  He calls us to do the same in ministry. Thanks for your perspective.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I agree with you about Jesus being “all-in.” We have to ask ourselves if we are doing the same.

  • Chris Arend

    Great story of success.  It sounds like you did this before you met Dave Ramsey.  I wonder what he would be saying about this story?  Would he agree that this was worth the risk?  I wonder sometimes where the line is on trusting God and trusting in ourselves.  When is is okay to be the slave to debt and when we have to make the decision to walk away because we don’t have the money.  I am glad your story worked out, but I can’t help but think of the other stories that didn’t.  I guess if God calls you to this, you have to trust Him to do it.  Is that what happened with you on this?  Is it that simple?

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      I think these are great questions Chris. Sometimes the risk is worth it, and sometimes it isn’t. Going forward in prayer is the answer.

      • Chris Arend

        That sounds like a good and Godly advice.  Thank you for the comment. 

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I think Michael is talking more about motivation and having something personal at stake than he is the financial validity of his risk. There are things we want to see happen, but don’t put that much effort in it simply because it doesn’t affect us. It’s like a good story. When the safety of the world is on the line, the hero is more motivated to push through the difficulty.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks for clarifying, Jeremy. That is exactly my point. I am definitely not recommending the particulars of this for anyone. The point is having something meaningful at stake.

  • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

    Thank you for sharing your story.  I didn’t know this and it is motivating.  It reminds me of some of Steve Jobs story.  He said there are times when you have to bet the company on an idea.
    My biggest goal is to become a public speaker using my music and my book to share my message of gratitude.  If I achieve it I will be able to pay off my debts, travel more, have a vacation, help other motivated people, own a car with built in this millenium, have some weekends off, be fulfilled in my work and own a home.  

    If I don’t achieve it I will continue to clean toilets in my janitorial business, struggle with customers paying late, be burnt out and sore after cleaning all weekend and be unfulfilled in my work.  

    I may not have anything of significance to stake financially however just listing these things really clarifies what’s at stake.  Great post and call to action Michael!

    • Jim Martin

      Sutton, your comment is a good reminder to me of the value of reflecting on what will stay the same if I choose to not go forward with an idea or a dream.  You are right.  Listing these clarifies what is at stake.

  • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

    The first thing I invest in every project is my heart. This may seem cliche, but I really do get wrapped up in the romance and potential. Success or failure becomes personal for me every time. When a project fails, well, you can imagine how I feel.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Yeah, but when you succeed you have done it for all the right reasons! Heart goes a long way my friend, a long way!

  • http://www.alittlebookabout.com/ Lois Hughes

    Wow. Your post really hit home this morning. I’m 55 years old and a first-time author. As co-author of an ebook that just went public on the web, I can really relate to the feeling of wanting to throw up! Putting oneself out there in the world has been exhilarating and scary all at the same time.

    My stakes feel very emotionally-based.  Yes, I want to make money from my work but I really want it to touch the lives of others. I want to have something I’ve created in midlife mean something to other people. And I want to proudly say that I’m an author and a good one – to let that become a real part of who I am.

    Am very glad I found your blog.

  • Tim Miller

    I have been involved in Children’s Ministry for 20 years, and I have noticed the same to be true.  Those who are “helping out” take minor positive steps.  Those with skin in the game, those sold out to the ministry, even for a few hours a week, see life change right before their eyes.

    • Rob Sorbo

      Who are the ones who are sold out? Parents of the kids? Future ministers?

      Have you found any ways to push/encourage the sold-out attitude to those who just help out?

  • http://newlife919blog.blogs.com/ Gary Morland

    The scarier the better, too, eh?

    George Washington and the other FF’s knew they’d be hung if they lost (“1776″). There’s some motivation.

    I think I need more skin in the game.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      The FF’s also believed in their cause. They felt they had no choice but to continue, even if it meant heading to the gallows.

      • http://newlife919blog.blogs.com/ Gary Morland

        ‘No choice’ is good. But scary.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Yes, scary!

          • http://newlife919blog.blogs.com/ Gary Morland

            Barry, I appreciated  your social media infographic, and your significance/solitary life post. 

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            Gary, thanks a lot! I really appreciate you taking the time to visit! Time is a valuable thing, and I appreciate your investment on Michael’s blog and visiting my site as well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the example of the founding fathers!

  • http://twitter.com/tammywerthem tammy werthem

    Thanks for the dose or inspiration.  WE are launching a coaching business and offering an amazing promotional package.  Our business is http://www.everydaylifeline.com.  We are three dreamers, believing God for BIG things in the lives of those we love and encounter.  Perseverance is key and we are focused on HIS eternal ability as we yield our lives and hearts to Him.   

  • http://comealiveministries-jenn.blogspot.com/ Jenn Hand

    Wow.. Stopped my coffee date with Jesus when I was studying Joshua’s courage and came to the computer to turn the music back on.. saw this blog post in my e-mail.  It was God’s perfect timinig! Thank you.  This week I took  a HUGE step to my dream.  I am currently starting the non-profit ministry God has had on my heart for a few years– coming alive ministries–and I realized I need to brand this ministry.  I am poor no money in the bank account grad school student.. but felt the Lord impress on me to sow into my own calling and dream. So this week I paid a marketing specialist a huge sum of money (for me at least) to begin the prcoess of ministry “branding”. I have struggled since with AM I CRAZY .. was this the right move.  Wow.. Your post was such an encouragement from the Lord!

  • http://www.facebook.com/debra.l.butterfield Debra L. Butterfield

    A marvelous article. I’ve been plugging away at an online magazine for three years now, but I don’t have anything tough at stake to drive me. No wonder it hasn’t gone very far. I’ll get some skin in the game and see where it takes me. Thanks, Michael. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Kemnitz/1395514240 Sue Kemnitz

    This really makes me think. I have big dreams, but I don’t see any “stake” in it, other than not achieving them (ie failing). This clearly makes me go back to my drawing board and think again. What am I willing to pour in…

  • http://www.messyquest.com/ Stephen Martin

    Very well put. Have recently seen the “skin-in-the game” dynamic at work in my house. My wife turned down a promotion and quit her full-time job to start her own freelance writing business, so she could spend more time with our kids and get greater control of her schedule. She’d been on the verge of burnout, but almost overnight her attitude about work changed dramatically. She was suddenly very invested in and intrigued by it, and that made total sense — her success was now totally up to her, there wasn’t a paycheck coming on a conveyer belt every two weeks. That’s about as concrete as it gets! 

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    I agree with this.  For example, if I want to run a marathon and pay my entry fee now, I am going to train so I don’t lose my $50, or whatever.  Or if I want to sell a book, I may self-publish.  Nothing will motivate me to sell it like having a few thousand dollars worth of books sitting around.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I agree. I am always more motivated after I register than before. I have never not run a race once I entered.

  • http://twitter.com/CurtisOFletcher Curtis O. Fletcher

    Hmmm…Would it be fair to say that the amount of skin you put in the game is inversely proportional to the level of risk? You guys knew the industry, had some back up resources you could go to for help, and had a relatively safe bet in Orel: somewhat low to mid level risk. (Although I know there are no sure things in publishing) I doubt you would have put your houses on the line for an author with no platform no matter how great the idea.

    I think the stopping point for me is unknown, or at least fear of the, level of risk. High risk=less willingness to burn the boats. If your level of success certainty was an 80, right or wrong, mine rarely breaks 50. So I’d be willing to put up, say, the trampoline and perhaps my car…nah, I like my car.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Curtis,
      I am with you— I think there is an educated breaking point.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yea, it definitely depends on the risk and your expertise.

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    Pondering your first question helps me understand why I’ve been stuck for several years, not quite finishing my MA and moving into a PhD program. 

    A number of relationships are at stake: relationships in which the common (but unspoken) agreements are status quo, cynicism, and entitlement. I’m likely to hear, “So, someone thinks she’s ‘all that’ now!” “Gettin’ pretty big for them britches, aren’t we?” and inevitably, a wisecrack about blondes vs. brains.

    However, if I don’t get skin in the game, my next 45 years are likely to be un-remark-able, which I’m starting to fear more than criticism. 

    So I guess it’s not the actual personal relationships that are at stake but my own relationship to the status quo, cynicism, and entitlement. I can care about the people but refuse to adopt their negative offspring!
     

  • Rob Sorbo

    Well, I have a new goal (brand new as of only a few days ago) to work in 501(c)3 for ten years. I’m about 2.5 years in, so I will need to stick it out here for 7-8 more years or find another one to work at.

    My reason (and stake) for this is loan forgiveness. I learned that my student loans will be forgiven after 10 years in a non-profit or in public service. This is definitely a selfish goal, but my wife and I want to serve in missions some day so the benefit of not having debt will be enormous.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Rob,
      If by selfish you mean smart? Then, yeah your selfish alright! There is nothing wrong with serving in a non-profit and one of the benefits being loan forgiveness! Your certainly not going to make it in salary, right? It’s a good perk—not selfish!

      • Rob Sorbo

        Yeah, it is. I worded it that way, because I was a little nervous what response I’d get on here. Typically people respond in one of two ways. Far right Repubs tell me that I shouldn’t accept any kind of government student loan benefit and Dave Ramsey fanatics tell me that I should sell my organs and pay it off today. 

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          “…and Dave Ramsey fanatics tell me that I should sell my organs and pay it off today.”

          This made coffee come out my nose!

  • MaryAnn Diorio

    For my biggest goal, the salvation of souls is at stake.  There’s no turning back for me.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I have seen this principle work with my old roommate. He is now a fairly successful businessman in a very niche business, but to get to where he is now he nearly lost his marriage, he nearly went bankrupt a few times, he had to move his store three times, and he had to redefine his purpose and market several times. He has a “if I can do it, then anyone can do it” attitude, so he is trying to encourage new entrepreneurs to step up.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    What is at stake if we don’t achieve it? The fact that we may not have overcome the fear to fight through the hard stuff. We may still fail, but at least we failed well. 

  • Kathryn

    My big goal right now is recover from a herniated disk in my lower back.  If I acheive this, it means being able to have an active life and to do the things I need to do for my family.  If I don’t achieve it, it means I will be in pain and unable to do the things in life that I and my family enjoy.  Right now, I can’t even carry a bag of groceries, or bend over to get the laundry out of the dryer.  I am in physical therapy and you can bet that I do my exercises diligently everyday!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Kathryn,
      I pray for a speedy recovery!

  • http://tdbok-leadershipcentral.blogspot.com/ Tdbok

    Love this article. I have found this principle to be true in leadership especially. If you are expecting others to sell out to help achieve your vision, you’d better be the first in line. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Rachel Lance

      Great point – it’s so important for leaders to be all in. 

  • http://www.UnwillingToSettle.com Greg L. Gilbert

    Great article on “having skin in the game”. This year I have begun looking at all aspects of my life and the regrets of the game of life if I don’t consider having “skin in the game” in my health, finance, marriage etc. We are all in charge of when, or if, “I wish I would have” appears in your life script and how often. The “skin” is not seeing my grandkids grow up, not having the money to enjoy life and help others, not having a happy marriage or good relationships with my family or friends, not being able to keep a job and/or not having a fulfilled spiritual life. Too many NOTS.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      I’m glad you are reviewing this against your own life, Greg.  It’s never too late to pursue aggressively that which is important.  

      Best wishes as you make the appropriate adjustments!

  • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com/ Enrique Fiallo

    This reminds me of the story of the Ham and Eggs breakfast. The Chicken is involved, the Pig committed. Michael, your story is SO good! Having skin in the game,  being totally invested in the outcome, is so important, as you so aptly say, to focus us on what needs to be done, to hold ourselves accountable for the effort and the outcome, and for “stickiness” (staying with it, even through the tough times). Thanks for sharing that story. Really drives home those 3 points! 
    Enrique Fiallo

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      I love the ham and eggs story. I think I am a chicken.  In both senses of the word!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the story of the chicken and the egg. I have told it many times. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/JohnHarris3 John Harris

    Actually will  have to disagree with this post to some extent. What happens when we have too much of a stake in the game is that are perceptions and judgments can be hindered. We want it to work so bad because we have so much to lose that we cut corners, give up too much, etc. We compromise and reduce expectation – so long as we don’t fail! See the book “Start with No” for excellent advice – start with no in your negotiations. http://goo.gl/2aUNI

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      John,
      I see what you are saying, but to assume that all or most people, as matter of character, will start to compromise principles and beliefs because there is a lot at stake is a faulty assumption. Each person has their own decisions and responsibilities in life, and each person should be aware of their own limitations and boundaries. Don’t you think?  I know people who have had WAY more invested (not just dollars—but lives) than Michael’s example and are unbelievable men and women of character.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great point, John!  You bring up the counter-tension that’s created when you put skin in the wrong game.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/danfuoco Dan Fuoco

    This is an amazing story. From meeting Orel to publishing his book to “raising” $150,000. I’ve learned so much from this short post that would have taken me years to gain.  This post spells “success”.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    This post gave me goosebumps. When I asked myself why, I realized that it’s because that while I have “skin in the game,” it’s just my big toe. Think I need to jump in the deep end and start swimming.

    • Rachel Lance

      That’s great, Kari – jump in! Just keep your vision clear as well as the answer to that important question, “what’s at stake?”so you know you’re taking the right risks. 

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Thanks Rachel! My husband is a great accountability partner and helps me focus on the vision, but oddly he can’t swim. He helps me to see what’s at stake though. An interesting analogy. Anyway, I’m encouraged.

  • Anonymous

    That razor thin edge between success and disaster is so real and daunting a lot of the time when making decisions. As a recent college grad what I have to lay on the line to chase after big goals has come more in the form of choices to pursue my passions or money. Over the past couple years I’ve had to give up potential higher paying jobs, relationships and the relative comforts that are standard for most post graduates to pursue troubled youth and the homeless (I’m mainly trying to reach “the least of these” with all I have).

    Some times are more stressful than others and I feel like I’m falling off the razor thin edge to the side of failure but I can stay I’m still here because God’s still providing. Giving up all that I have (money, jobs, relationships) to pursue these people has been my way of “putting skin in the game”. These sacrifices are my daily reminder to try hard because if I don’t achieve my goals I will have given up a couple years of making money, having relationships and those who say I’m crazy for living how I have, those who told me to live safer, would have been right.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Travis.
      Man! Really good comments! I agree with you 100% that it feels like a razor thin edge between trusting in God and trusting myself(or the opinion of others)! As a Youth Pastor for 15+ years (and a former Young Life guy) I have heavily invested in passion over the purse. And, in my opinion, the risk is worth it!

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

         “… passion over purse …” Simple and simply memorable. Those are wise words to guide a person in making sound decisions in life. It’s not saying “ignore purse,” but put purse in proper perspective (ah, the alliteration just flows tonight).

      • http://iampart.wordpress.com/ Travis Rieth

        Thanks guys. Really enjoyed looking through your blogs… I’m young and all new to this so I really appreciate the encouragement and advice. If you want to check out more/give me more advice into what I’m doing that would be awesome.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hxOfSc8wlU&feature=player_embedded

        http://iampart.wordpress.com/wp-admin/

        Thanks again

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Love your video, Travis. It sounds like you have a lot to share. Do it!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Wow, Travis!  You definitely have skin in the game!

      Maybe those who told you to live safer will be proven right, in their eyes.  But it sounds like you have already experienced blessings that they’ll never have because you were willing to make the sacrifice to serve the needy.

      You remind me of  Prov 30:8-9 (NIV) …Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread… 

      Keep up the great work!!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Travis, you express an idea that I’ve experienced as well–that, as God continues to provide, I continue to serve. Well done.

  • Colleen Hargis

    Great blog…but I am NOT a risk taker by nature…this is my biggest obstacle.  I have the work ethic, degrees, experience, skills and have been a successful leader in a traditional workplace in the past, but boy…I just freeze at risk.

    • Rachel Lance

      Sounds like you’ve really spent time mulling over this aspect of yourself. Have you found ways to help you grow in this area? Perhaps putting up your house as collateral is too big of a risk (it is for me!) but are there other, smaller yet incrementally more challenging risks you can use to increase your risk tolerance?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-J-Williams/1520637381 Matthew J Williams

    At the risk of sounding snarky,

    While I understand the principle and how it works I guess I have questions around this.  Are we suggesting here that unless there is some direct or indirect benefit to me then I am going to perform at a less then optimal level?  That certainly is human nature but as new creatures in Christ it seems we have a higher calling then that.

    In scripture we are told that no matter what we do we should do it as if we were doing it for the Lord.  I do not recall the specific reference for that but I know its in the Bible.

    Maybe this mentality, that people need to have skin in the game before they can fully engage, is one reason why churches can’t get help in nurseries or for kids ministries. I don’t know but it strikes me as being sad that we are motivated more by whats good “for me” then whats good for those around me.

    What about serving one another?  I guess my question overall is how does the idea presented here by Michael line up with scriptures?

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Matthew,
      You ask some great questions here. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I am not trying to answer your questions—but to give my take on it.

      First, the reference you were looking for is Colosians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

      Michael did not say directly, or imply, that he was investing in this project at the sake “of those around him.” Simply stated—he is saying that when we have more invested in our work/projects/passions we are more likely to really be attentive and engaged in our work. This is especially true when others (like our families/employees) are counting on us.

      As you know—making money is not wrong, but worshiping money can certainly lead to a bunch of problems.

      Thanks, Matthew

       

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Barry. You said it better than I did.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Matthew, you make a good point.  Scripture certainly calls us to do (all of ) our work “as unto the Lord.”  You nailed the problem, though.  It’s human nature.  And it is sad … kind of.   I think eliminating “self-love” would mess up the design of “free will” to do as we choose, including making the choice to love God.  

      “Skin in the game” is an indicator of commitment.  Jesus demanded commitment from his followers (i.e. “leave your nets and I’ll make you fishers of men”, “let the dead bury their own dead”, “carry your cross and follow me”, etc.).  If they put skin in the game, Jesus knew they were committed and He was willing to work with them.   I view Jack’s request above to put liens on their homes, the same way.  It’s obviously for a much less significant cause than Jesus’ cause, but I think it does line up with scripture.  

      Great question Matthew!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it lines up quite well. For the first three centuries, being a Christian meant putting your life on the life. You had to risk everything to follow Jesus. (It still means that in many parts of the world today.) David said he would not offer to the Lord that which cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). Jesus exhorted his disciples to count the cost.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

         The David comment came to my mind as well. True worship involves sacrifice.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       I think this principle of having something on the line can be seen in a number of arenas. I’m listening to an audio book, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business,” written and read by Dick Van Dyke. The X-ray visual of spots on his lungs, the word “emphysema,” and the history of a father who succumbed to the disease proved incentive enough for Dick to finally quite smoking. It took his health and the threat of a premature death to move him to action. The higher the stakes the more likely we’ll take action. Scripture, as Mike alluded to, confirms this principle. In fact, God often motivated change in the lives of His people through their circumstances and the possibility of loss. How often did He send prophets warning of the loss of their homes and their nation if they didn’t humble themselves and turn to Him.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Our biggest goal as a family is to move to Hawaii next year: excitingfamilyjourney.com this goal has been something we have dreaming about for years but have let fear and a bunch of other excuses stop us, NOT ANYMORE. This move also inspired my second book “The Difference Between Living and Existing: A Nine Month Plan to Radically Change Your Life” and what’s at stake is us not moving and continuing to live a life a medocrity, a life we’re not truly happy with. We also have a ministry opportunity in Hawaii that uses some gifts the Lord has given us, it would be a shame to not fulfill our calling! Sorry for rambling on.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Love it! Kimanzi—Way to inspire.

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        Thanks alot Barry, really enjoying this blog!

  • Kelly

    Love this story – and SO TRUE!!!  I can think of several of my own stories where this principal applied to me too. Thanks!  I am passing it on to our team of “doers”.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    When you have a family—you have “skin in the game” no matter what your calling is!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robin-Harkey-Dixon/1559891795 Robin Harkey Dixon

    My BIG goal for my life right now is to finish and publish my first book. But not only that, this book needs to sell well enough to get me back on my feet. What’s at stake? My freedom, my independence, my life. This is my second “start again” except now I’m living back home in my parents’ house with my two kids, the oldest just turned a teenager. And while I love my parents dearly, I’ve got to get back out on my own before our relationship becomes strained beyond repair. So what’s at stake – everything.

  • http://frugalportland.com/ kathleen

    This could have gone a different direction — losing your house is no small risk. Sure, hindsight is 20-20, but did you succeed  because you had skin in the game? Would you be giving the same advice if you’d failed?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The point I was making is that because we had skin in the game, we worked harder, were more focused, and stuck with it until we did succeed. (It was no small feat, as we only had 90 days to get the book written and into the market—something unheard of in publishing circles at the time.)
      I have certainly had much invested and failed. But all things being equal, I perform better when I am vested. I also would never invest in a company where the principals weren’t “all in” either.

  • http://www.thementoringleader.com/ Aaron Drake

    Absolutely right Michael.  We have recently been overhauling our compensation plans for sales by lowering salary and increasing commission.  It’s amazing how production goes up when starving is an option.

    Stepping out and taking risk is easier when you have a healthy perspective on material things.  While losing your house certainly wouldn’t seem wise in retrospect, it’s not the end of the world.  We literally lost everything but 16 boxes of clothes and personal effects, with 4 kids, and we have managed to get it all back over the last 4 years.  It’s just stuff.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       “It’s amazing how production goes up when starving is an option.” After reading that line, for some reason, the picture of a galloping gazelle with a lion in pursuit pops in my mind.

      • http://www.thementoringleader.com/ Aaron Drake

        Too funny!  while picturing that I thought, “What’s the lesson for the gazelle?”.  I think it’s that when motivated by fear, we are always running from something and never to anything.

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

           I pictured myself as the gazelle in said analogy, but I suppose, sticking with your “starving” statement I’m the lion. Just never feel much like it (except for the hungry part).

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       My workplace is considering the same compensation plans for the sales team. In fact, we just moved one salesman to commission only. He wasn’t too happy about it but I think it will be a great move.

  • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

    Great post and  I totally remember that book and Oral because he was very famous here in California.  To answer your question, for my husband and me what is at stake is our financial livelihood.  My husband quit his career of 25 years to join me at Active Christian Media full time, so that we could take this company to the next level.  We’re also putting our home on the market, here in CA and getting ready to head east to TN….just about the largest decision we’ve made in our 20 years of marriage.  We’re leaving the only state we’ve ever known, to pursue a calling we not only believe in wholeheartedly, but we’ve laid our finances on the line, our home on the line and frankly, our lives on the line.  What’s at stake… nothing really, because I have never failed at anything I’ve ever tried.  I’ve never been afraid of success and I’ve never been afraid of failure…probably because I’ve never failed at anything I’ve tried.  When the core of your conviction is the foundation in Christ, that we have in the Word of God, there’s no room for fear…but instead just faith and adventure.  So, if we were to “lose everything” no biggie, because it’s not mine anyway.  But we won’t, because we don’t fail, that’s not our focus.  We’re successful and we’ll remain that way.  Which may sound arrogant to some, but that would be their issue, not mine.  :)

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Love the attitude and the perspective.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You’ll love Tennessee, Stacy! Welcome.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    My biggest goal currently is to sell a novel. I don’t mean sell it in order to get it published. I mean sell it after it comes out. For me, I’ve not only invested the time to write the book, rewrite it, and rewrite again (at this point, it seems ad infinitum ad nauseam), I’ve invested the finances into the venture. Like you wrote, Mike, “the line between success and disaster is razor thin.” I’m all in on this venture. Will we lose our house if I fail? No. But I better get used to the taste of ramon noodle soup. ;-)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       I doubt you’ll be living on ramon noodle soup. You’ve got something to say and I believe an audience that is willing to listen.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

         Joe, those are magnificent words. I am deeply encouraged and grateful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1033661898 Kendra Elliott Tillman

    My biggest goal is attending this year’s She Speaks conference that Proverbs 31 ministries host to learn, be mentored and pitch my book proposal during a 10 minute agent appointment. What’s at stake, if I don’t achieve it? Living life with regrets and what ifs & lowering my credibility in the eyes of my family and friends that I’ve shared the goal with. I have really big dreams and big goals. Thank you for this post! Now, excuse me. I need to get to writing…

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      That’s a great goal, Kendra. And, having been that person putting myself out there at a speaking/writing/agent conference, I know how risky it feels. But go big and give it everything you’ve got, so you can come home knowing you didn’t hold a thing back!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1033661898 Kendra Elliott Tillman

         Hi Michele
        Yes, it feels very risky. I really want God’s will and not my own. I’m going and trusting that He will order my steps along the way. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    • http://lilyscloset.com/ Monica Smith

      Kendra;  I attended the She Speaks Conference in 2010 and can tell you it was worth the cost.  You will walk away with more info than you will know what to do with.  You will also leave full spiritually as well as amazed at how many women God has called to write, speak and minister for His glory.
      Take a deep breath and enjoy the process as everyone who is there whether attendee or conference leader is genuinely nice and willing to guide you with your calling. 

      Enjoy,
      Monica

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1033661898 Kendra Elliott Tillman

         Monica
        Thank you for taking the time to reply to this. I attended the conference a few year back. I didn’t realize at the time I chose that track because it felt safe to me. I truly believe God has called me to write. I’m really excited to be in the company of other women who want to obey God’s call.

        I saw your other post regarding what it will cost you. I will be praying for you. I pray God will give you wisdom and insight into the natural and spiritual course of things, that He will bless the work of your hands and that He will be a voice behind you saying “this is my way walk in it.” All God’s richest blessings to you!

  • http://twitter.com/gentlechirodc Maya Pande

    My coach suggested something similar for me this week.  She called it a negative consequence.  I want to see a certain number of patients a week in my practice by August 2012. If I don’t, I will give $500 to a charity i don’t believe in.  It’s not as big as  staking your mortgage, but it does not appeal to me in the slightest to do this. I’ve had this same goal for a long time but I know this time I’m going to reach it, partly because of what I’ll have to do if I don’t!  Funny how I came across this article today! :) Thanks!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Gotta love good timing. ;) I’m intrigued by this negative consequence … would love to hear the status come August.

      • http://twitter.com/gentlechirodc Maya Pande

         Thanks Michele!  I told my staff about what I’m putting at stake and they were all horrified!  It will keep me on track, that’s for sure!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          No turning back now. ;)

  • Anonymous

    The best analogy are these parents that buy their 16 year old a $30,000+ car.   As a father of 3 boys you watch how much a teen will take care of a car in which they had a stake in (paid for part of it).  You give a teen a $30,000 car a most of the time, they will beat it, abuse it and often crash it with a worry.  Teach teens to have a stake in their life decisions and it will be a valuable lesson to them!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       Spot on Douglas.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Exactly, Douglas. The same could be said of a college education as well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a great example. Wish I’d thought of it!

  • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

    Michael,
    Wow, wow, wow. That was a crazy story. I LOVED it!!!!!!!!!!! Edgy and proactive. You took a risk and it paid off! Thank you for sharing.

    My husband just quit his job and is starting a business. Yup, we are in the same boat as you were. What a crazy, awesome, scary, exhilarating ride it is!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Several years ago my husband quit his job of nearly 20 years to start his own business. It was exhilarating … until the first few Fridays without a paycheck. Then it was terrifying! It’s now been 7+ years and we don’t regret it at all. One of the best decisions we’ve ever made!

      • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

        Michele,
        Wow, awesome story. We need to hear more of these :) 
        What business did he start?

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          A residential/commercial construction and property inspection business. He does a lot of custom work (i.e. Kitchen/bath remodels, basement finishing, etc.), including our house. Lucky me. :)

          • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

            Wow Michele,
            That sounds pretty sweet!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      As the old Apple commercial says, “Here’s to the crazy ones …” Good for you.

      • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

        Hahaa – exactly! :)

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    Just started working for the school district in the 10th poorest county in the nation. Trying to help get things turned around, by getting parents and community members back involved with the schools.

    There is a lot at stake for this community, but honestly not much for us. We really won’t even know how well we are doing for years to come.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      A worthy investment, Joey. And you’re right — it will probably take years to see any fruit of your blood, sweat and tears. But the lack of quick results doesn’t change the depth of need.

  • Kapil Sopory

    At this late stage (am 71+), my highest goal is to totally live in the present, allow, as far as possible, the past not to overshadow my thought processes; also that to let future arrive without any mental botherations. If I raise positive thoughts only and make the best of each day, future too could be good. Even if there are any hiccups, not to grumble but take it as His will by aligning this goal with what He should have planned for me. In nutshell, to make all-out efforts to do well in all my endeavours withot expectation of rewards…whatever comes, be accepted with gratitude.
    I am going through the literature containg words of wisdom to attain total happiness and am aiming to follow what seems to suit me.

  • http://twitter.com/chrischancey Chris Chancey

    It can be fun to declare BHAGs…but to pursue them requires “skin in the game.” Thanks Michael for this insight. It seems we are quick to think of what is at stake if we fail, but making that clear and concrete is imperative to your success. Great post! This really gives me something to chew on.

  • Meg Davis ~ MegDance.org

    “Homes on the Line” Sharp breath of air! “Book at #4.” Sigh of Relief! I love a good business gamble and there’s nothing so classic as the house (and the wife’s good opinion of you) on the line.

  • http://ellansstudio.wordpress.com/ Lexie N.

    I think this is one of many young writers problems.  They have nothing at stake if they write or don’t – so it really doesn’t matter if they never finish “that book they started”.  Unfortunately, I am in the very same boat :(  Writers really need someone to be accountable to, and/or have something at stake to keep them motivated.
    Thanks for the awesome post, Michael.  I can always count on getting good advice on your blog.
    God bless.
    Lexie N.

  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    Love this story. I think this is oh-so-very important.

    When I went to college, my parents made me pay for half of it. They covered room and board and the tuition was my responsibility. I drained my life savings to pay for my first year and took out student loans for the remaining three years. 

    I hated my parents for it at the time, but it really helped me value my education more. And, unlike so many of my friends who were on the “five year plan”, I had extra motivation to finish on time because I was footing the bill. 

    Having skin in the game definitely makes you more responsible and helps you better appreciate success AND failure. 

    I just became a full-time entrepreneur ONE WEEK ago and I definitely feel this more now than ever. I’m glad I learned the importance of this lesson years ago. ;)

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Agreed Mike! I have read that in securities market, people who do   day trading  for making their living tend to make profit rather people who do trading for hobby.

    Similarly, when everything is at stake,  our human nature tends to focus and concentrate over that particular issue.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony J. Alicea

    A friend of mine likes to say “no risk-it no biscuit”. Loved the story!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great quote!

  • http://lilyscloset.com/ Monica Smith

    I have to say that this post has messed me up!  I have been sitting at my desk at a job I know I need to leave, asking myself what is at stake if I fully pursue God’s call on my life?  I know I am to teach, speak and write about godly image and beauty and true value and self worth can be found in Christ for women and young girls.  I have been working on this for years and know that it is time to go forward with the messages God has laid on my heart.
    So what is at stake for me when I rent, have a car loan and owe over $100k in seminary school loans?  Having stepped out in faith three other times and not earning any or very little money leading to going through the eviction process several times, what would be at stake for me?  I have been at the place where I could have lost my home.  I’ve been without money and food.  I’ve been scared to death and worried about what I looked like to other people.  And, I have suffered the condemnation from family.  Yet, I am still scared to death about pursuing this mighty dream.  I would do it for free, but I still have to eat and pay my bills.  Matthew 6:33 always comes to mind when I freeze and I have to say that I am grateful for God.  I guess I just want to know that I will be okay and can just pursue His call like the Apostle Paul, desiring to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
    Monica

  • http://www.charlesspecht.com/ Charles Specht

    True.  People can have the best of intentions but even a well-intended, “hired” shepherd runs when the savage wolves approach.  A shepherd with “skin in the game” who owns the sheep will fight to the death to save his investment.

    Lots of wisdom in your post.  Thank you, Michael.

  • http://josemcane.com.ar/ José

    This is great advice, and I think the title hits in the nail: we all believe we can win, but how much are we willing to get in the bet? That’s the tough question.

  • Ron Tank

    Hi Michael,

    You are spot on with the “skin in the game” strategy! I’m wrestling with a new business. I have a current profession and am having a had time crowding another one into the same space. The “skin” is in my current profession, and since it is, the new adventure is in slow motion and not getting far. It is difficult because the new one is where my heart is heading. If I could just get my “skin” to go along! Appreciate any ideas you have! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!!!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Great story!

    There is a lot at stake in my life right now.  We are facing a few decisions that could change our lives pretty significantly.  My prayer is that God guides me to make the right choices and that following my dreams is the same as following his.

  • Pingback: ‘Honesty is a choice’ Quotes and Links of the Week [Saturday 7] « Ben There Do That()

  • Pingback: Saturday Evening Post(s)()

  • Pingback: Monday Blog Roundup .:. Nate Fietzer .:. Leading the Future()

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ cheap bras

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • daphne

    HYLP160287N6Thank you for publishing more information
    to this topic for us.If you were a celebrityMichael
    Kors Store
    hounded by TMZ on a regular basis, you can bet everyone
    would be talking about your chic, hot pink bag and wondering who made it. Michael
    Kors Kingsbury
    Answer: Michael Kors, Mr. Classic himself. That’s what
    makes the Gia Ostrich Embossed Tote ever so slightly unexpected. It’s a welcome
    change of pace, though, that finds Kor
    Michael Kors Messenger Bags
    utilizing genuine ostrich leather in a
    vibrant hue that just begs to beogled.Mi

    chael Kors New ArrivalsThe one
    drawback is the open top – it doesn’t take away from the bag’s overall charm,
    but it may prove a design flaw for some women.

    http://www.michaelkoroutletstores.com
     

  • Sol Babijes

    Hi.  Count me among your big fan base.  I am going through the same experience now and find your article a real heaven sent.  I hope to share a similar story like yours in the near future.  God bless!

  • abdul krishna

    Imagine
    being able to  alter your world in the areas of Love, Money, Career,
    Sexual Intimacy, Bad Karma, and Will Power! Imagine being able to bring
    back lost lovers, make someone sexually attracted to you, bring bad luck
    to others, lose weight, stop smoking, get a promotion or raise, or
    simply come into  big money.  All is possible with the astounding power
    of High prophet of goddess and his outstanding spellcasting abilities.
    You have the power to change the future,  change your destiny, and get
    the things out of life you need to bring success, luck, and happiness.
    Email me today on prophetofgoddess@yahoo.com or view
    http://www.prophetofgoddess.com

     

  • Pingback: Skin in the Game | Sam Davidson()

  • http://www.michaelkorsoutleton.com/ Mialisa89

    I would like to watch your article in my entire life. this article conceives outline novel, the topic has the mental strategy only, the paragraph is clear, details , fall the rise and fall, the main line is clear, fascinating, mild the extraordinary literature from bottom inside, is witty it may be said, a classic, is a model that my generation should the study. super2012rjy03 
     

  • http://www.michaelkorsoutleton.com/ Mialisa89

    I would like to watch your article in my entire life. this article conceives outline novel, the topic has the mental strategy only, the paragraph is clear, details , fall the rise and fall, the main line is clear, fascinating, mild the extraordinary literature from bottom inside, is witty it may be said, a classic, is a model that my generation should the study. super2012rjy03 

  • shuqian2012

    The new era wholesale
    snapback hats are made from the glossy and shining material. The
    designs of the cheap wholesale snapback hats
    are found in attractive colors. It can tune up with the style of living in
    reasonable rates. Every person has the unique style of there own and that style
    depends largely upon the fashionable dresses. New era hatswholesale ensures
    the100% pure quality material and long lasting surety satisfaction. It has the
    motto of satisfying the buyers on every occasion.

  • t-shirts for men

    You are smart to buy latest style t-shirts for men here on sales, mens t shirts has become a famous brand all over the world, now the designer t shirts offer you kinds of clothes for people, belive yourself welcome to buy cheap t shirts.

  • snapbacks hats

    Why our snapback hats for sale are popular all over the world? All of them are new designs! And the absolutely cheap price!Welcome to buy our wholesale snapbacks online, and it is cheap snapbacks store!

  • sophia lin

    You may well be in time to delight in special discounts in anticipation of your occasion.
    Prior to ordering on the net, ensure that you’ve got got all of the selections ideal [url=http://newralphlaurenpolos.com/mens-ralph-lauren-t-shirt-in-dark-blue-white-green-p-103.html] Men’s Ralph Lauren Short Sleeve[/url].