Just Show Up

Summer is here and I’ve been landscaping our yard. Some people find that kind of work peaceful, relaxing, even fun. But for me it’s about as enjoyable as cleaning dead skin particles out of small crevices, a.k.a. dusting.

Nevertheless, my mantra has been “Just show up.” Get on the clothes, get out the tools, go to the spot, and see what happens. Usually work happens.

I’m finding that 90% of success in the yard and in life is about just showing up.

That number may be lower for you as I tend to want everything to be perfect before beginning. But there’s incredible power for each of us in just showing up.

Here’s why:

  • You don’t have to feel like it to show up. You just have to show up.
  • You don’t have to have it all figured out to show up. You just have to show up.
  • You don’t have to be at your best to show up. You just have to show up.
  • All you have to do to show up is (you guessed it) SHOW UP.

Showing up is the ultimate middle finger to perfectionism, procrastination, and the litany of excuses we create to avoid doing the work. Because showing up gives us permission to arrive as-is. And really, that’s all we ever have to bring anyway.

Now, this isn’t to say that preparation or hard work are unimportant. Both are crucial for success. But neither need to be as difficult as we make them. You can just show up to prepare. You can just show up to work. We jack up the ticket price of getting started when in reality admission is usually free.

If you have to choose between just showing up and never beginning, choose to show up. Even if that means feeling uncomfortable, unprepared, or out of your element. Show up, put in the time, and you’ll begin adapting. Be a no-show and you’ll never improve. You can’t win if you don’t begin.

I’ve been reading through Genesis lately and have been impressed by Abraham’s response to God’s seemingly outrageous command to sacrifice his son:

“Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” Genesis 22:3

Abraham doesn’t delay. He gets up and gets right to work. He shows up for the prep, shows up for the trip, and shows up for the offering. And in the end God honors his faith and obedience.

I think about the Navy SEAL’s and how they exude discipline, endurance, loyalty, teamwork, sacrifice, and grit. Watch Lone Survivor and you’ll see what I mean. Wonder how they got they way? Yes, they go through intense training and endure challenging missions and are tested at every turn. But it’s their commitment to show up that makes all of that possible. They’ve decided to consistently be there for the work and for each other and as a result they have an incredible edge on the battlefield.

No one becomes a SEAL overnight or reaches Abrahamic levels of faith in an instant. Getting to excellence is a process enabled by the discipline of just showing up. So stop with the excuses and give yourself permission to start where you are.

What do you need to just show up for today?

11 thoughts on “Just Show Up”

  1. Thank you for your inspirational words of wisdom. I need to show up before the sun comes up each day to avoid the sun’s heat. Means getting up around 4:30 AM each morning. Used to not have to start milking cows until 5 AM. Only a half an hour earlier, Will learn to adapt!
    Jeanette Hall

    Liked by 3 people

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