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Crossroads: Holding, Folding & Playing On Tilt


Life is full of crossroads, and the choices we make at these pivotal moments can determine our path for years to come (read more here)


There are several ways we can compare the decision-making process at crossroads to holding, folding, and tilting in poker.


You Can Fold

When you play poker, you always have the option to fold. Folding is the act of giving up on something. Folding means that the player discards their hand and forfeits any chance of winning the pot.


Entrepreneurs fold when they give their lives to their business and decide to sell it or liquidate. Because they never built a team to thrive without them, they curse themselves to merely selling physical assets. And worst of all, the impact of the business comes to a halt.


Seventy percent of businesses fail in their second generation of leadership, often because of this.

Think about it; unless you have done the hard work of replacing yourself, your business may not be worth much. Truthfully, without you, there may be no business.


When you haven’t done the work of building a team to thrive in your absence, you have jeopardized the business’s future value.


You Can Tilt

In poker, when a player has a weak hand and continues to play despite having little chance of winning, we say they are “playing on tilt” or simply “tilting.”


When a player is on tilt, they may continue to play hands they shouldn’t, make overly aggressive bets, or become too passive and miss opportunities to win pots.


Tilt is a state of recklessness or denial that affects a player’s decision-making ability and causes them to make poor choices at the table.


You are playing on tilt when you work in your business and make no plans for the day that you won’t be there. Then one day, for some reason, you are no longer there. One day, your business prospers under your leadership, and the next day you are gone. Without the unique skills and values that make the business successful, the business dies in your absence.


Playing on tilt happens when you are in your last decade of life and you have not raised up a team and steeped them in your values. You will stay in the game until the end, but the loss will be great.


You Can Hold

In poker, you hold when you take the hand the dealer gives you and make it a winning hand.

A winning business hand involves four things:


Establish your business’ purpose for being. Steep the future stakeholders of your business in its purpose. This may require that together, you clarify what that purpose is. Naturally, making a profit is a must. But beyond making a profit, help your teams to understand your business’s purpose.Purpose involves having a passion for impact beyond merely making a profit.

We release amazing inspiration and energy when we serve a purpose beyond merely making a profit. In business, profit is significant. But profit for the purpose of impacting others is fuel for a significant business and life (read more here)!


Clarify your future impact. Likely, your business is already having an impact. By studying its impact in the past, you can begin to clarify what you want its future impact to be. When you and your team become aware, it helps you to move toward intentionality.


Build a winning team to continue that impact. Like a great relay team, the fastest runners must practice handing off the baton at maximum speed. Nothing is more important in this phase than building trust among team members.


Begin to involve the second generation of leadership. Incrementally, you must allow future generations of leadership to practice using the values you have steeped them in while you are still at the helm.


As an entrepreneur, you will face the crossroads of holding, folding & playing on tilt.


I believe in you.



Harry T. Jones



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