Show Up Anyway

Things won’t go as planned. So what. Show up anyway.

Are you going to let a little heartache, a bad day, or a sprained ankle get in your way? I don’t think so.

You want it more than that, so you’re going to show up and do what you can.

I learned this lesson in martial arts. When you have a hurt foot because you kicked someone in the elbow (never a fun day, but a great way to block a kick, for the record), you have two choices:

  • You can not show up and let it heal. This is a perfectly valid choice.
  • You can train something else that’s not affected by your foot.

For instance, you can just work on your jab. You can only do upper body training. You can just show up and coach others or provide moral support. There is so much else you can do, if you choose to.

The truth is, today I didn’t want to show up and write. I’ve had a hard day and an incredibly stressful weekend. But I knew that I could just show up and do what I can.

And there are two great things that happen when you do this:

  1. Over time you start to see yourself as the type of person that always shows up. Thus, showing up gets easier.
  2. You become more powerful when things aren’t as rough.

If you can launch a book while going through a divorce, everything else gets way fucking easier. You’ll laugh in the face of trivial mistakes and major hiccups.

If you can keep your spiritual practice unbroken while fighting through cancer, you gain a kind of grit that few souls will ever come close to touching.

And if you can show up and do your work when life gets rough, you develop a quality that will serve you well through any endeavor. That, my friend, is what embodying devotion is all about.

Go ahead, throw in the towel. No one will blame you. Everyone gets a free pass and a personal day every now and then.

But if you want to experience the greatness you know is within you, show up anyway and do whatever you can.

Spread the word: Things won’t go as planned. So what. Show up anyway. (click to tweet, thank you!)

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Ben May 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Wow! Some great inspiring points here. I love the idea that not making excuses and showing up anyway during the tough times, makes you more powerful when things get easier!

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Jonathan May 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Damn straight man. Good to see your face here Ben.

Karen Carpenter May 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Wow! Thank you for your words of encouragement. I battled with myself this morning—will I head back to Boston from New Hampshire and “show up”… or will I feel sorry for myself during my drive and then, once home, sit in the yard and mull over the stressors and difficult decisions that have made their way into my life? I opted to show up, deciding that showing up and at least trying was better than wallowing in the fear of change and transition. It’s inevitable—the change and transition—so I might as well keep going. Your email arrived at just the right moment—it was comforting and validating. I’ll say it again, Wow!

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Jonathan May 21, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I just love it when things show up at exactly the right time. In fact, I would say that they do, *because* you are choosing to meet the universe halfway and show up.

Dave Everitt May 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm

I’m going through a relationship breakup. Last week I finished a novella I’ve been working on for over 12 years. Next month my band headlines at a big regional festival. I was diagnosed with leukaemia a year ago. I’m still working on things I enjoy and this year I’ll be going to California on the Big Sur coast, all paid for by my research. So I guess I have to agree.

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Caron May 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Thank U, this is so true.
I say to my ladies who say they may come to ‘ class ‘ just turn up, you don’t have to join in, but just be with us, this seems to work well. I also am continuously freaked out by what you put out you get, be careful what you dwell on, make sure it’s awesome.
Have a fab day Cx

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Chandler May 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I love this post. It might be the most perfect article I’ve read in 4 months. In February my wife and I lost our 9 month old daughter to Pneumonia. I was deployed to Afghanistan at the time she got sick and was evacuated back to the states to be by her side. We spent 30 days in the hospital as she fought as hard as she could on a ventilator. In the end The Lord had other plans for our lives and hers. It was so hard to show up for anything after that; including my family. But what choice did I have?

I knew that there was some way I would get through it, WE would get through it, and I put my head down and started at the first place I knew. My writing. I started my new website dedicated to our daughter and it’s been nothing but a great step in the healing process. The pain will never go away but I’m going to continue to show up because it’s the only way I chose to live my life.

Thank you for this post. It really hit home for me.

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Lisa May 21, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Yep… I like to say Gear Up – Mount Up – Start Up… it’s Time to Ride. Awesome post!

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Sandra Pawula May 21, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I used to show up because I thought I had too. I don’t think that’s necessarily healthy. But, showing up as a spiritual discipline, now that’s a powerful idea.

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Lyrical Treasure May 22, 2014 at 12:53 am

I am all for showing up because once I get over the initial resistance, I get my mojo back and great things start to happen.
This works very well for writing. There are times when i don’t even want to look at my PC. So I just write in my notebook. There is something about putting pen on paper that gets the inspiration flowing.
Thank you Jonathan, for choosing to show up.

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Simi May 22, 2014 at 4:49 am

A beautiful relationship just ended last night. I am heart broken. Grateful for this article at this time. Thank you. About to get ready for work.

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Dhaval Gajera May 22, 2014 at 4:59 am

Great Jonathan, that’s what we call perseverance. Excellent blog. I wanna tell you that your paid to exit e-book is awesome. Enough to trigger the Vitamin A (Action).

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Robert Petrie May 22, 2014 at 5:19 am

Love it! If only more people would battle through instead of giving up just because the going gets tough. Great piece of inspiration Jonathan, thanks.

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Dominic May 23, 2014 at 6:52 am

Thanks so much for the insight! I do agree that when we push ourselves to show up and deliver even when we don’t feel like it and when we are going through adversity, we will emerge from it tougher and stronger than before. And all of a sudden, other issues and concerns in life seem so trivial.

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Patrick Wong May 28, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Glad that I showed up here. It certainly is more beneficial to show up than to give thousands of excuses and not getting anything done after that. We need more positive energy to go around. Thanks for the post, Jonathan.

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Transcend Your Limits June 5, 2014 at 2:51 am

This is great. Just goes to show that even though sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything, we should always soldier on.

This is because there are always opportunities in life that we may miss if we don’t show up, so thank you for this post, has inspired me a lot! I may even write a blog post about this, not this exact idea, but it’s sparked my imagination.

I’ll include a link back to this article as my ‘inspiration’ so to speak! Good stuff.

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