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Sam Davidson's blog

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Skin in the Game

If you want to get someone connected to your cause, mission, or company, let them put skin in the game. When everyone thinks like owners, better work gets done. Michael Hyatt tells a very exciting story about putting up his home as collateral for a loan that could make or break his young company. While the bet was big, it was the only option. Had the stakes not been so high, his energy, action, and follow through would not have been so focused and passionate. When you have skin in the game, it gets serious.

Employees work harder if you can give them a stake in what you're doing. Maybe it's equity, maybe it's a solid vision, maybe it's a benefits plan. Give them something more than a job.

Investors and board members care about strategic decisions being made. Their time and investment is at stake. That's serious.

This is why you have insurance on your home or life. Things are serious and life is real. This stuff matters.

You need to start looking at your career and dreams the same way. The "What happens if this doesn't work out?" question needs to have an answer that puts you all in. Push your chips to the middle of the table and call your passion to see what kind of cards it's holding.

If the answer to that question is:

  • I'll just go back to doing what I do now.
  • I'll find something else to do.
  • I guess it means that it wasn't meant for me.
  • I'll find work that I don't care about or can slog through each day to get a paycheck.

...then you may not work hard enough to turn your dream into reality.

But if the answer is:

  • I couldn't go on. I want to do this or I want to do nothing.

...then you may have the inner passion to see this thing through.

Raise the stakes. Keep betting and calling yourself until there is no other option but to lay all your cards on the table and see what you win.

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