Isn’t it Time You Dare Yourself to Up Your Game?

by Alli Polin on March 7, 2016

dare yourself

This weekend, I decided I’m in a rut.

When I go to my favorite restaurants, I order the same thing every time.

We spent our weekend at home doing… not much.

Business is moving along but not inspiring.

A rut.

Frankly, I’m tired of being in a rut. As I was thinking about what I could change, heck, have to change, I decided to give myself a dare.

Early on in my blogging, I posted twice a week. That may not seem like much to those of you who do not blog regularly, but it took a lot of effort. Eventually, I moved to once a week convinced that beyond that, I didn’t have much to offer of substance.

It was impossible for me to do more than once a week. Impossible. (Funny how self-imposed barriers are often the strongest.)

With my, oh-my-gosh-how-could-I-ever-do-more blogging schedule, some weeks I have an idea, and the words flow.

Other weeks, my rut and I struggle for a topic, and I sit, fingers on keys, looking at my screen and waiting. No, not for Godot, for inspiration.

Ruts suck.

It was time to up my game, get uncomfortable. My brilliant idea of the evening was: “Dare Yourself.”

My kids play truth or dare and love the dares.

When was the last time I dared myself go to beyond my limits? Yeah, can’t remember.

Last night, since it’s impossible for me to blog more than once a week, I decided to write for 365 days in a row.

Okay, that seemed a bit intimidating.

Then I decided to write for 30 days in a row. I could do almost anything for 30 days.

That’s when I decided to start on the first of the month. The perfect date to measure 30 days.

Silly, right? The waiting. The excuse that it’s easier to count to 30 when the calendar does it for me.

I’m starting today.

For 30 days, I’m going to write. A bunch of it will likely show up here, on my blog and bits and pieces other places like LinkedIn or Medium. Other daily finger tappings will yield something that may inspire me to take a deeper dive weeks or months from now. (Thank goodness for Evernote).

The last time I wrote for 30 days in a row, it was NaNoWriMo. Now, less than two years later, I have a novel I’m finally ready to submit to agents.

Who knows what the next 30 days will bring but I’m excited to find out.

Over to You. Come on, Dare Yourself.

What one thing can you do to shake up your routine and stretch yourself?

Here are the ground rules:

  • Think about that idea that just popped into your head and turn up the volume
  • Don’t freak yourself out with a massive goal (like something you MUST do for 365)
  • Tell someone (hey – post it here in the comments below!) Accountability, ya know?
  • Start now
  • Reflect – if you did it or didn’t do it… either way… what did you learn?

Easy peasy. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Today is day one. I dare you to join me.


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia Bazin March 7, 2016 at 7:39 am

You really ROCK Alli! Awesome post! Let’s get everyone fired up to get out of a rut!


Alli Polin March 7, 2016 at 6:18 pm

Thanks, Cynthia! Here’s to blazing new trails!


Joy Guthrie March 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

My husband & I dared ourselves 3 years ago to have 300 workouts per year. It was a freak out goal, for sure. We’ve made it in each of the last 3 years. We’re now in the 4th year of it. We’re looking for a new “dare.” Great food for thought, Alli. Will see what I come up with.

Interestingly, your post reminded me of a writing class I had in college. Our writing challenge was huge. We had to write a “paper” every day, a 1000 word paper every week, a 2000 word paper every two weeks, and then a final paper of 4000 words for the end of class. The class had to read every paper & there were critiques of them in each class by every class member. It was enormous challenge. Even many years later, that challenge stuck with me. The lesson I learned was that if you really want to do something, you must do a lot of it and challenge yourself with different approaches.


Alli Polin March 7, 2016 at 6:26 pm

AMAZING. I love that you started with a big goal and keep on making it happen. Can’t wait to hear what you come up with for your next dare!

Also, your story about the writing class is interesting. It was more than just getting your writing done, but also giving your best to the community in the class through your critiques. I’m noodling how our own dares and big goals often do ripple and intertwine with others.

Thanks for the tip on the different approaches too… sensing that’s critical to avoid yet another rut!

Grateful, Joy!

~ Alli


Terri Klass March 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

I love how you challenge yourself and us all the time, Alli!

Without putting a bigger goal in front of us, we don’t usually stretch ourselves to achieve greater things. By the way, Monday mornings are a great time to up our game.

For me, I am going to explore more collaborations and networking events or conferences that call to me and growing my leadership. There you have it!

Thanks for the push and your words of encouragement! Will share to excite others!


Alli Polin March 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Collaborations! Love that. I know a lot of solopreneurs who shy away from that as a part of their networking and growth strategy. Appreciate that you’re leading the charge!

~ Alli


Bill Benoist March 7, 2016 at 9:49 am

You are a total inspiration! 🙂


Alli Polin March 7, 2016 at 6:32 pm

You rock, Bill! Truly appreciate all of your support, connection and encouragement. You actually do something I haven’t made the leap to do yet – video blogs!

~ Alli


Brenda Pace March 7, 2016 at 6:18 pm

I love your inspiration, Alli!

We all get into ruts every now and again. I think it’s perfectly natural. However, allowing ourselves to wallow in that rut for long periods of time is not. I’m glad that you realized where you were “hanging” and are taking actions to kick it into gear! Good luck gf!



Alli Polin March 7, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Thanks! Hoping that this stretch shakes loose some other things too. I can already tell that it will. Working on a new program and it was going slow… until now. Ideas are starting to flow!

Thanks, Bren!

~ Alli


Karin Hurt March 8, 2016 at 3:34 am

You brave woman… not only did you dare yourself, you put it out there! I can’t wait to see the great insights that emerge from this discipline. Namaste.


Alli Polin March 8, 2016 at 5:15 am

Trust me, when I sat down to write today my first thought was “what have I gotten myself into?” I couldn’t back out on day two!

Waiting for the insights to start flowing.


Jon Mertz March 8, 2016 at 5:37 am


I dared myself to start yoga, and now it is my favorite exercise and more… Good to are ourselves to changes this up. Keep daring!



Alli Polin March 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

Yoga! I have so many friends who love it and a few who teach it and I haven’t made the leap 🙂 May give it a whirl at home with DailyBurn thanks to you.

Thanks, Jon!


Samantha Hall March 10, 2016 at 12:00 am

Wonderful Jon! I love yoga! I didn’t know you started!


LaRae Quy March 8, 2016 at 2:08 pm

So many people can relate to this great post, Alli! I know I can….the only difference between a rut and a coffin are the dimensions.

I have found through coaching that the 2 most popular “issues” with executives is 1) self-limiting barriers, and 2) confidence. Everyone, no matter where they are in life, come to a place where they are faced with those self-limiting beliefs about what they can and cannot do.

Live life in a petri dish! Always try something new and get good at failing…you will begin expanding your boundaries. For me, it is writing another book (after I said NO WAY). And daily meditation (I’m ALWAYS too busy for that).


Alli Polin March 8, 2016 at 10:31 pm

Love the way you put it! A petri dish is where the growth happens.

Look forward to your next book. Glad you made the leap!

~ Alli


Samantha Hall March 9, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Great post Alli! I decided to go back to school while working! That reset priorities in a hurry! In fact, I just returned from grocery shopping and will more than likely be pulling an all nighter tonight to prepare for a lab exam after work tomorrow night and finals are next week.

I’ve challenged myself with what I’ve been able to handle and after a year, including 10 credits over the summer last year, I’ve managed to earn a 4.0 so far. ( grade point average critical because each grade is worth a certain number of points and slots are filled for nursing based on those with highest accumulation of points…very competitive)

I’m so happy you have been writing and have a book ready to submit! Thats great! Please catch me up soon. I have a break from school after the 15th for a couple weeks.


Alli Polin March 10, 2016 at 1:40 am

First, we HAVE to catch up on your break!

You truly inspire me. There are times when I think I couldn’t do more (or anything) and when push comes to shove you’ve proven that we are capable of far more than we can ever imagine. Woo hoo on a 4.0 too while you’re at it!

Kick a$$ on your lab exam and finals.

~ Alli


Samantha Hall March 10, 2016 at 10:55 am

Thank you! Dog tired this morning snd getting ready for work. My lab exam is at 8pm PST! Send good vibes from Australia if you think of me! XO


Vikas Khandekar March 29, 2016 at 5:21 am

You are very inspiring, Alli. And the best part is what you have written isn’t some run of the mill “how to” book, very academic, but it has those small steps written down which are easy to execute. You are doing a good work! Please continue to inspire the lesser mortals like us! 🙂


Alli Polin March 29, 2016 at 7:10 am

Why wait for someone else to push us forward… we each have it within to dare ourselves! So far I’m feeling the stretch and happy I haven’t given up.

Many thanks to you for reading and taking the time to comment too!

PS… Mere mortals? Ha! I’m as human and fallible as they get 🙂

~ Alli


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