Going All In

June 17, 2011
Brandon Sutton Gulf of Mexico

Going all in is a concept that continues to come up as I move through my journey. I’ve been hearing it over and over again by very inspiring people that I greatly admire.

Most recently, I attended a talk by Pete Bethune last night, where he talked about leadership, risk, and doing things that make a big impact in the world.  Pete is the man that decided he wanted to break the world record for circumnavigating the globe in a powerboat.  But not just any powerboat, one that was fueled 100% by biodiesel.  My kind of guy!

Pete’s story is a remarkable example of an individual that embarked on a quest and learned so much along the way that it has altered the trajectory of not only his life, but the lives of countless people and animals the world over.  Pete BethuneHe discovered what a problem illegal fishing is in many areas of the world and decided to make it his mission to go all in to educate the world on the importance of marine conservation. He’s gearing up to do a TV series that will shine a light on this critical issue so that governments will put a stop to illegal fishing.  Not exactly small thinking.

But this post isn’t about Pete.  And it’s not about marine conservation.

This post is about going for it when you believe in something strongly.

When I look back at my life and reflect on the pivotal moments of decision making, I can say with confidence that I’ve been the type of person to go for it all the way when I believe in something.

And the thing is, it’s messy.

It’s not fairy-tale like where everything comes together the way I expect it to happen. It’s scary and uncomfortable, and sometimes I don’t know how I’m going to stay on course.

But things always come together to propel me further along the path.

Last night as he spoke, Pete discussed some of the challenges that popped up along the way during his Earthrace initiative.  As he put it, you don’t set world records and travel immense distances across the ocean without problems.  It’s the way you handle those problems when they come up that determines if you succeed or not.  He also talked about financial concerns and the fact that sometimes you have to take a leap and have faith that the money will be there.

I must have been in another world when I read the invitation to the talk, because I thought I was going to get to hear from a well-known environmentalist and conservationist about his story.  I had no idea that he was going to be giving a kick ass lesson in leadership, entrepreneurship, and following your calling in life despite all odds.

Go all in.  All the way.

This was echoing through my head all night and when I woke up this morning.

Brandon Sutton Gulf of Mexico

I’ve written about this before, but there is a direction that I feel called to follow, which is something I’ve never done before in my life.  I believe I’m here to share my story of personal growth and transformation into an environmental and social justice advocate with others around the world who have the same potential within them to become advocates in their communities.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Looking back on how I’ve changed and grown as a citizen and an advocate for change, I’m sort of blown away by just how far I’ve come.  When I think back to my reaction to the oil spill last summer and the unyielding desire to make a difference somehow, I can smile with the knowing that I made a difference. In short, I was in – all the way.  I pushed myself and got into situations that were completely foreign to me.  I learned. But most importantly, I didn’t retreat from any of it.

‘The Wright Brothers didn’t have a pilot’s license.’

My good friend Jeff Duvall told me this last Fall when I was planning the public exhibition for Spirit of the Gulf Coast at Georgia Tech.  This was his way of giving me props for just doing it.  I didn’t ask permission to go down to the Gulf and interview local people in communities that had been devastated by the spill.  I didn’t have a degree in film making, sociology, environmental science, or saving the world.

What I did have is a passion to make a difference in this world.

So, I went for it.  And I continue to go for it – all in.

I learn so much from people I interact with every day.  I have a page of notes from Pete’s talk last night, and there are pages and pages of notes and inspiring thoughts from the World Domination summit 2 weeks ago.  There is so much to learn every day if we are willing to listen.

In the end, the biggest lesson through all of this is to go for it, all the way. Half measures won’t cut it.  It’s all or nothing. I’ve bet my future on having a positive impact on humanity and the earth that we inhabit.  The way this manifests is fluid and evolving.

But this is me.  This is Who I Really Am.

I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to connect with other incredible change makers in the world that are out there making things happen and showing the world that there is a future ahead that can be brighter for all of us if we pay attention to what’s happening and work together.

I’m here to learn, grow, and connect with others who are on this journey of making positive contributions to humanity and the planet. It’s an incredible experience, and it feels absolutely amazing!

What does this bring up for you?  Are you going for your dreams all in?

Top photo: Earthrace Conservation

Bottom photo: Terrell Clark


  • Reply Judi June 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hey Brandon, I was inspired and awed recently by the story to the four older men, one actually 85, who just completed a 65 day raft trip crossing the Atlantic. Now that is my definition of going all the way in! OMG. You are really putting your ass on the line at that point out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But we all have our own “transatlantic crossings” to make and they all take jumping off and doing it and then putting in the hard work to keep it going till you see it through. Read about these guys here:

    • Reply Brandon Sutton June 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      Wow – this is an amazing story, Judi! Thanks so much for sharing it here. There are stories like this that seem to continue to pop up with increased frequency lately. Honestly, people and stories like this give me hope that we’re going to make it through the chaotic circumstances that we find ourselves in at this pivotal moment in history.  Oh, and I loved how you put that “we all have our own ‘transatlantic crossings’ to make” – very well said.  I’m glad you’re here to support me in mine. 🙂

  • Reply Alison June 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    GREAT post Brandon.   Yep Pete ‘Kicks Serious Ass’   😉    I love that when he talks people listen,  he’s a great mate and fellow Kiwi.   So glad you got to meet him,  he truly is an inspiration!!


    • Reply Brandon Sutton June 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks Alison! Yeah, he was amazing to hear.  Not many people in the world go to the lengths he has for social and environmental justice issues. I’m so glad I got to meet him when he was here.

      Let’s stay in touch for sure. I bet there are some good synergies between us. 🙂

  • Reply Simone Lipscomb June 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Right on…or should I say ‘write on?’

    It’s easy to coast along and not take the path of our heart, the one our soul calls us to. When we make the leap…and the many leaps along the way of this path of heart, we find happiness because we’re on course.

    I firmly believe that when we put our path first, everything else will follow. As we light our path with commitment, courage and faith, the light grows and begins to light the way for others.

    So really it is….LIGHT ON!

    • Reply Brandon Sutton June 21, 2011 at 12:35 am

      Thanks Simone – Write On, Light On, All of the above!  🙂

      So glad to be with you on this journey. 

  • Reply Lori Finnigan June 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Brandon, I got a few goosebumps while reading this post.  You’re so engaged in life and in touch with your thoughts and passions, I suppose I’m a little jealous 🙂  I get the impression sometimes that you weren’t this “in it”, that this “all in” is still something relatively new for you.  I didn’t meet you until last year so I have to believe what you say but it’s hard.  Can’t imagine you NOT having passion for life.  

    I look forward to your future writings Brandon.  Keep ’em coming.

    • Reply Brandon Sutton June 21, 2011 at 12:39 am

      Hey Lori – thanks for the comment, and for sharing your goosebumps.  🙂  It’s not that I didn’t have passion for life before, but I let a lot of other shit get in the way of truly expressing it.  It’s actually amusing to me to look back through the archives on my blog.  I have posts dating back to 2006 when it was purely marketing focused.  Believe me, I’ve come a long way, haha.  Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Reply Ibosarge June 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Brandon, your strong will to better the earth is powerful! Your strength is in your words and how you follow through in hopes to make this a better place for us to live. Taking care of yourself gives you the ability to help others. You are very much appreciated. Looking forward to your next adventure!

    • Reply Brandon Sutton June 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you, Lori.  I really needed to hear this: “Taking care of yourself gives you the ability to help others.”  I mean, I REALLY needed to hear it.  Thank you for that reminder.  It’s very timely for me.  Ironically, I won’t be able to be at the Hands Across The Sand event on Dauphin Island this weekend because of this very thing.  But we’re doing a small version in Atlanta.  🙂

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