Join Over 60,000 People & Get FREE Weekly Tips in Your Inbox!



How to Cure the “All or Nothing” Syndrome

all-or-nothing-syndrome-internalI’ve seen hundreds of my best-intentioned students fall prey to what I call the “all or nothing syndrome”.

They say to themselves:

“I’ll build my business when I have time…”

“I’ll focus on my business when I finish _________…”

“I’ll work on my business when I’m feeling 100%…”

I totally get it.

This really matters to you.

You want things to be perfect.

You want to get it just right.

You care so much that you want to pour your heart and soul into your business with your full undivided attention

But, what if your full undivided attention is not available right now?

Do you wait?

The answer is no. Almost. Never. No.

The truth is that there are a million legitimate reasons why you can’t focus on your business right now.

Take my Mentorship student Dara Blaine who wrote me this morning:

I feel derailed by the fact that my husband and I have been looking for a new place to live now for 3 months (our landlord is selling) and we are reaching a breaking point. It’s been so challenging – and it’s been taking every moment of our free time, and begun interfering with the time commitments I’m trying to make towards launching my business.

I know I’m not a failure, but I’m kind of feeling like one right now.

Any advice for staying on track even when you are struggling to meet basic needs?

I’ve gotten dozens of variations of this note from students and readers whose logical mind was screaming, “Be reasonable. Slow down. You can’t do this now. Everything will be here when you’re ready. You can always work on your business later…”

But what if “later” never arrives?

What if “one day” never happens?

Regardless of what’s going on in your life, there is a cure for this all or nothing syndrome.

And it all comes down to an interaction I had with a visionary blogger who had become so successful blogging that he no longer had time to write.

We sat down together in a restaurant and I asked him one simple question.

Two weeks later, he answered:

Something I’ve been meaning to tell you… when we talked last time, you asked, “So, what would it take for you to start writing more?” I don’t remember what I said in response (probably something stupid), but the question stuck with me.

A few days later, it was about 10 PM, and I was exhausted from being in meetings all day, but I thought, “You know what? You’re never going to be less busy. If your writing was really all that important to you, you would find a way to do it, even if it was only 15 minutes.” And so that’s what I did. I wrote for 15 minutes and then went to bed. I’ve also written every day since.

The cure is simple.

Do what you can. Every. Single. Day.

Take 15 minutes a day to write or market or whatever that business-building activity is for you. Simply get into the practice of moving towards your vision. Every single day. No matter what.

That’s the “15 minute cure”. Slowly but surely, when you keep moving forward, you’ll start to create the business you desire.

This cure may sound like castor oil: You’re not going to want to take it. It’s hard to swallow and it tastes like hell. But it works.

You can change your life in 15-minutes a day.


I’m writing this post as much for me as I am for you…

There were a million reasons why I didn’t have time to write today. Sitting here at MIA airport, I have a big excuse to go MIA: We’re about to board a charter flight to Havana… I’m in a group of photographers I’ll be spending the next week with and I’m curious to get to know them.

But I made a commitment to myself to touch my tribe at least once a week. Preferably twice/week. And ideally three times a week.

I also made a commitment to myself (starting today) to write everyday…

So here I am writing in between the cracks of my life. And that’s one of the ways this business has emerged slowly but surely over the last 5 years…

Before I sign off and board my flight, tell me: What’s one thing you can do for 15-minutes a day starting today that will change your business forever?  Or at the very least, keep you moving forward. Step. By. Step.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Jane Guyn Avatar
    Jane Guyn

    I’m going to do this with my yoga practice.

    I have a 30″ daily practice that I’ve been working on establishing.

    Last night, I was beat and hit the sack instead.

    No yoga.

    15″ of yoga would have maintained my momentum and felt good in my body as I drifted off.


    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Yes! That’s exactly it. Something is better than nothing.

  2. Yolaunda Avatar

    Love it!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thank you!

  3. Pennie Avatar

    Awesome and very, very true
    Thanks! God Bless

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd


      1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
        Marisa Murgatroyd


  4. Carol Andersen Avatar
    Carol Andersen

    This touched the depths of my soul! I am approaching 70 and I have had this business idea on my mind for over 30 years. So… I have let all kinds of wonderful projects get in my way.

    Now is the time The only time. Today I will sketch out one course to offer and identify 3 methods of delivery.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Now is the time. The only time. Well said…

  5. Suzanne Avatar

    Thank you for the simplicity of the action. It ties in with the old improve adage “start where you are.” I, too, am going to need to move in the next 6 months…while still recovering from major surgery. AND…there are things I can do for 15 minutes to move forward. Thank you for being exemplary of what you are sharing…in appreciation!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Yes. You can always move forward. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

  6. Jaime Avatar

    You’re so right about this Marisa! I love it. I keep adding and polishing the content in my certification and training program for ESL teachers. 🙂 I think that publishing content in a digital format is actually the safest way to get stuff out there because we can keep tweaking it. One teeny step at a time.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      And at some point… you can let it go and say it’s as good as it’s going to be. I finally got to that point with our last event where there was nothing left to tweak. It feels amazing. 🙂

  7. Virginia Reeves Avatar
    Virginia Reeves

    15 minutes – I could research my list of possibles for a guest article and and post it.
    15 minutes – I could take one stack of papers and deal with it. I remember the 4-D Habit: Do it, dump it, delegate it, delay it(with a deadline).

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Those are two great uses of 15-minutes.

  8. Kay McDonald Avatar
    Kay McDonald

    Love it Marissa…makes so much sense, and can have SO MUCH Impact.

    Duh…thanks for always pointing out the obvious in a new and refreshing way that benefits your tribe.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      You’re welcome. 🙂

  9. Dolores Storness-Bliss Avatar
    Dolores Storness-Bliss

    Thank you Marisa for the reminder. You have hit the nail on the head. No matter what the circumstances we need to find even small segments of time to keep moving forward. I learned this when I had my restaurant. Paninis went into the grill for 4 minutes. You would not believe how many little jobs that I and my staff could accomplish in those 4 minutes instead of just standing and waiting for the timer to go off. I often do this to get little housekeeping jobs done around my other activities, but it serves as a reminder to apply this same concept to my business.
    In 15 minutes I can write an email or make a phone call to a client. I can write some content for my blog and much more if I think about it.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Totally agree! I will respond to Voxer messages from my clients while in the car or waiting in line. And magically everything gets done.

  10. Ann Bennett Avatar
    Ann Bennett

    Hey Marisa,
    I am tired right now and want to go to bed…and I need to send out my ezine (as promised)!
    I love how you can cut through my crap and make it easy…15 mins…I can do anything for 15 mins.
    Ok I am going to finish it in 15 mins. and hit the hay!
    Big Hug, Safe Travels, xo Ann

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Yay! Cut the crap and get on with it…

  11. Carol Avatar

    Love it Marissa! I’ve realised that I’ve been using ‘excuses’ for too long now, that my perfectionism has been blocking me, and just a general fear of being seen…. I’ve also created a space full of ‘stuff’ which also use an excuse eg. I can’t find my writing pad, I don’t have a laptop at the moment, I feel stressed by the clutter etc etc. So it’s time to just Do It!!!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Absolutely! It’s so easy to busy yourself with things that don’t really move the ball forward. So, yes. It is time to just do it.

  12. LaRue Avatar

    Brilliant, Marisa! I’ve done this 15 minute concept with exercise before and it transformed me. I will now apply it to business. Thanks for this!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Yes, it works in all aspects of life.

  13. Paula Avatar

    Such easy way to keep on top of things. Makes alot of sense.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd


  14. Laura Avatar

    Your right Marisa!

  15. Laura Avatar

    Thanks for your inspiration to move one step forward each day Marisa. Thanks, Laura

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      You’re welcome!

  16. Marilyn Edwards Avatar
    Marilyn Edwards

    This has been a problem I struggle with on a continual basis…. I always see the “big” picture. It took me years to realize that working on something a bit at a time will get me there! Great advice and thanks for the reminder. Even though I can do it, it goes against my natural desire to move slowly and completely on something, so I need reminding!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      I know. I like to take the plunge too and dive deep… and sometimes I don’t have the time and space for that. So I just do what I can.

Leave a Comment


break bad habits

The Number One Habit All Successful Entrepreneurs Need


11+ (Underrated) Books for Entrepreneurs You Should Have on Your Shelf

Facts vs Myths

The One Myth You Must Bust to Become a Pro Entrepreneur in 2024

How to Attract High Profile Speakers to Your Events

Join Our Newsletter

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to get updates and all the goodness to your inbox!


Interested in Joining the Live Your Message Dream Team?