The Art of Showing Up

El Maestro boxing ring 3

Your opponent is here. Where are you? (Photo credit: Serge De Gracia)

January is almost over. The first month of a new year. How do you feel about 2013 so far?

This is the time when a lot of resolutions start to fall off. In the busyness, people forget about all those plans they had. All the changes they were going to make. The stuff they were going to do.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Husband and I were talking about this the other day. Husband is of an analytical bent, so he likes to distill things into their smallest, simplest form. What is the action that, once taken, creates the changes that you’re looking for?

Nine times out of ten, it’s one simple act: showing up.

And that’s the part that’s the hardest. There’s a lot of talk about first steps, but actually getting to the first step is something that gets passed over. Want to get in shape? You need to show up to the gym. Lose weight? Show up to the kitchen and start figuring out how to change your eating habits. Write a novel? It’s up to you to show up to the damn computer and say, “I’m here. I’m ready. And I’m going to do this.”

Nothing will happen unless you show up. Nothing. The world does not owe you anything, and it will not go out its way to drop all the things you want into your lap because you think you really deserve it. And it certainly won’t make anything come to you. You’ve got to get out there and find it. Hell, you can’t even win the fucking lottery without buying a goddamn ticket.

There are a lot of steps that come after that one, but none of them can happen without that. You need to show up. And, yeah, once you’re there, lots of things can happen. Some days you’ll blow through what you need to do, and some days it will hit you so hard you’ll go down like Liston.* All you’ll see is floor before the darkness comes.

And, in the face of that possibility, it’s easy to give up, to get distracted, to get bored, to say things like “I’m not built for this” or “I’m just too naturally lazy.” Those are lies and stories that we tell ourselves. They protect us from rejection and failure.

They also make it really goddamned hard to do anything.

That is the coward’s way out. So next time you find yourself reaching for “I can’t”, or “I’m not interested in this idea any more”, or “this is too hard for someone like me”, I want you to take a deep breath. Hold it in until your lungs hurt. That’s all the breath you could have been using making excuses. Isn’t there something else you could be doing with it? Something more fucking useful?

You want to do something, then get out there and do it. Stop wasting your time and just show up already.

We’re waiting.

*Or, as a metaphor for non-sports people, like Kong falling from the top of the Empire State Building.

(Sidebar: I have now reached 100 WordPress blog subscribers, according to the stats page. Hello to you all, and thanks for listening. *hat tip* Much obliged.)