Full Commitment

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 | 6 Comments

Lake Placid Ski JumpWe went to satisfy nostalgic curiosity.  Having grown up in the 80’s, even though we were raised on opposite ends of the country, my husband and I share memories of big hair, Van Halen, and the Lake Placid Olympics.  So when a three-day-weekend presented itself, we seized the opportunity to explore.  I will never look at the ski jump the same way again.

We started at the bottom, looking up.  Lake Placid has two ski jumps, the taller of the two pictured on the right loomed 120 meters high.  To be honest, it didn’t look real.  Without snow, without the crowds, and without seeing it from the safety of my television, I had no frame of reference for the behemoth I was seeing.  I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around the reality that there are some human beings in the world who would make their way to the top of this thing, willingly point themselves downhill, and go…

And that was before I took the elevator up the 22 stories to the top.

Now I’m not sure what would possess someone to take on this sport.   No amount of breathing or wiggling my toes could release me from the anxiety I was feeling as I peered down from the top of the clouds.  What became absolutely clear as I absorbed my surroundings, is that once you went for it, there was no turning back.   You were committed.

And then I understood, in a microscopic way, why someone might find that appealing.

Because we don’t commit like that in life.  We give ourselves a way out.

We hold back our best, until we know it’s safe.  We don’t force ourselves to have the tough conversations – to say what’s real.  We say we’ll do anything and work with anyone, without having the courage to declare what we do best and with whom we wish to work.  We go through employees like Kleenex in a box – if one doesn’t work out, we just go on to the next.  We don’t fully commit.  Not to our businesses.  Not to our colleagues, or employees.  And maybe most importantly, not to ourselves.

In the theatre, one of the most dangerous things you can do as an actor, is to not fully commit.  If you’re not 100% committed, quite honestly, you stink.  Your performance is phony or boring, which means you’re often unemployed.   But to fully commit, is scary.  You have to be vulnerable, to play full-out, to be completely present in the moment.  If you stand outside yourself, worried about looking foolish, or making a mistake – if you’re focusing on what others think, on their judgements – you’ve lost.  The magic is gone.

In the ski jump, it seems to me the stakes are higher.  If you’re jumping and you don’t commit, unemployment is likely the least of your worries…

And what if we were to fully commit ourselves like that?  Like there is no out.  Like our life depended on it?

If we’re really committing to being our best, what would that look like?  Who would we spend our time with?  What would we be doing?  What messages would we send ourselves?

If we’re committing to providing the best service, what would that look like?  Who would our partners be?  What kind environment makes it possible for people to bring their best?  What kind of clients find value in the best we bring?

If we’re committing to building a world-class organization, what would that look like?  How would we hire?  How would we show up in meetings?  How would we develop our people?  How would we treat one another, if we were to treat everyone in the organization as if they were world-class?

Because maybe we live under a false sense of security.  Maybe the stakes really are that high.  For if we do life with one foot out, should we be surprised to find our results in a heap at the base of our mountainous effort?

Perhaps the uncomfortable truth is that we cannot soar if we don’t fully commit.



©OnStage Leadership, 2013

Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share.  It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.




  1. Vidya
    November 12, 2013

    I love this blog post! And you are absolutely right about commitment. With one foot out, it is always easy to judge! With both feet in, there is nothing but to grow! 🙂

  2. Kimberly
    November 13, 2013

    Thanks so much, Vidya! I look forward to checking out your blog!

  3. OnStage Leadership » Blog Archive Combating Your Gravity Monster » OnStage Leadership
    March 26, 2014

    […] and switch it on, or stand back, dancing with the gravity-monster as we analyze all that we know?  To decide is a commitment.   A choice.  It’s a no-turning-back moment.  A clear decision is the only thing that will […]

  4. OnStage Leadership » Blog Archive The Madness of Compliance » OnStage Leadership
    April 1, 2014

    […] Because they can.  It’s sheer bedlam in the workforce.  If only we could make people commit, to do their very best, to go all-in because we said so!  If only they’d […]

  5. OnStage Leadership » Blog Archive The Responsibility of Leadership » OnStage Leadership
    April 8, 2014

    […] you feel walking in the door?  How much of yourself would you happily contribute each day?  How committed would you […]

  6. OnStage Leadership » Blog Archive Who Do You Want To Be? » OnStage Leadership
    June 3, 2014

    […] with our own fragility – to see it and own it and appreciate it – and to simultaneously jump full force into life – to taste it, to savor it, to devour every […]

Leave a Reply