“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”
― Brené Brown
Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh were climbing in a tree one night, and Christopher Robin said to Pooh, “You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing — even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.” Even though Pooh was showing up for life every day, he needed to be reminded of how brave he actually was. Life is scary, relationships are scary, but as Brown beautifully conveys, simply being willing to show up will change us. We can remain afraid forever or risk finding success.
Taking photographs is something I’ve loved doing for many years. It is an arena that has taught me that showing up is the hardest part and the greatest step toward becoming who I want to be. I am not looking to be the next Ansel Adams — heck, Adams probably had no clue that he would be the admired photographer he was. I just want to be able to enjoy shooting and take pictures that other people will enjoy.
I showed up to more than a hundred basketball games to improve my action photography. I’ve shown up to the window almost daily for several years to improve my bird photography. And one day, I showed up at a museum and met a person who encouraged me to join a group of photographers from around the world of various talent levels. I joined and just watched for a couple of months, fearing that I wouldn’t be good enough. One day, I did it — I showed up, and I’ve been showing up to the challenges every week for almost two years. I’ve learned much about photography that I never learned from just shooting on my own all because I continue to show up.
Where do you need to show up? Are you afraid to put yourself out there, so you find ways to sabotage yourself? Do you think someone else will show up, so you stay in your comfy corner of the world avoiding any chance of failing? Surely, it is fear that keeps us from venturing out, which means it is often fear that keeps us from showing up for life.
Showing up isn’t just about getting the job or learning the skill. Showing up comes into play in relationships. If your good friend is
- giving a speech, singing a song, playing in a game, performing in a play — show up.
- going through chemo treatments and says he doesn’t really need anyone to do anything for him — show up. Drive him, bring him a meal, do the laundry.
- is alone, a lot — show up. Tell her you could use some company. Make yourself available.
Experiencing life with others adds value to our lives (and theirs). Showing up for a good friend or spouse in important moments matters. If you don’t care about showing up, you might want to ask yourself why that is, and if others don’t show up for you, find friends who will. When we care about people, we sometimes have to inconvenience ourselves in order to show up.
- Want to make a difference in the homeless community? Show up at the outreach shelter.
- Want to change the way people are being treated in your community? Show up at meetings and let your voice be heard.
- Want to be the person in line for the promotion? Show up.
Showing up is about putting ourselves out there in a world that sometimes seems ready to chew us up and spit us out. ‘They’ think we’re afraid. ‘They’ think we aren’t a problem. ‘They’ think we won’t show up. Be brave — take the pictures, write the book, win the game, live the life. Whatever you need to be doing, it all begins with showing up.