The Art of Showing Up

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A couple of days ago, I was contacted by a family friend who needed to chat about something going on in his life.

“How’s Saturday morning for you?” he texted.

Ugh.  “I don’t work on Saturdays,” I thought.  Or Sundays.  These are my family days.  I support people in their lives Monday – Friday.  Weekends are my “me” time.

But something in my heart urged me to say “yes.”

“Just show up, Traci, this person is important to you.”

On Saturday morning, I was a bit rushed to get things done and be ready for my 10am call.  This bothered me, and I found myself not looking forward to the discussion.  I recognized this “push back,” and instead leaned into the choice I had made previously.  I found myself saying, again, “just show up.”  The feeling I had told me that it was important that I did.

At the start of the conversation, I couldn’t have imagined that I would both give and receive such value.

It was a huge light bulb moment that illuminated something very significant in my life.  Being called to that conversation had allowed me to come full circle in a place in my life that reflected great value.  Value I became instantly aware I was meant to serve from.  I was given the opportunity to “pay it forward” with what I had gained from going through certain experiences in my own life.

This happens to me often now.  Not necessarily in such a profound way, but the reciprocity piece is common, partially because I’m looking for it.  I know it’s how the world works.

Sometimes, I find myself questioning if I really want to be doing something or going somewhere, and I find a little part of me piping up, “just show up and see . . . “

There are times when what I experience offers an eye-opening look at something that brings great joy, like the recent conversation with my family friend.  Other times, showing up can deal me a powerful blow that, at first, feels quite uncomfortable.

However, each and every time, whether it’s through gain or through loss, I find what meets me when I choose to show up is a powerful lesson that helps to shape my life in a new and better way.

Of course, there is an art to showing up.  Just being there physically isn’t enough, and if we show up in the wrong state of mind, then we may just be serving others and sacrificing ourselves or not serving anyone at all.

One of my key beliefs is that if something is showing up for you, then it’s reflecting your need to show up somewhere in your life.  By practicing “active” patience, you can get more clarity on where that area is.  This is about watching, asking and being curious about what shows up.  Engaging with it and being open to learn from what it presents.  Not just rushing in to temper or fix it, and not running away, avoiding, managing, tolerating or distracting yourself from it either.  Sitting, instead, at its feet and asking “what do you have to show me?”

Maybe what’s showing up is pointing to your need to learn the value of saying “no” and to become more discerning and congruent in your choices.  Maybe it’s reflecting a need to speak your truth, to be there for others the way they’ve been there for you, to test the value you’ve recently discovered about yourself . . . there is always a reason.  The key is to remember this fact.

So, let’s look at some important principles when it comes to determining how to approach an opportunity to show up.

#1: Trust Your Gut & Heart.

Your gut is the seat of your intuition.  Your heart is the seat of your emotions.  Both are powerful indicators of which way to go on something.  Your head can tell you all sorts of conditioned things about what you “should” or “ought to” do, but how you feel (both emotionally and in a sixth sense kind of way) will be the best indication of what’s best for you.

Knowing what you want is more a question of how you feel than what you think.

#2: Look for Patterns.

I have a friend who has struggled over the years to “show up” in emotionally challenging situations.  He has preferred to distract himself with other things in an attempt to “wait it out” and hope that things will just work themselves through.

Recently, he’s been hit with a whole bunch of emotionally challenging situations that have demanded that he find a way to show up and be present.  He is finding that the distractions he has used in the past aren’t offering comfort.  In fact, quite the opposite.  He is having to learn to work his way through the emotional obstacles to find his value in this arena.  He is also being called to make choices to release what isn’t what he truly wants to make room for what he does.

If you look for patterns in the things you are being called to show up for, it can help you to see the larger picture, make sense of challenges that have been consistent in your life and meet the lesson at hand with awareness.

#3: Know You Have Value.

We treat, spend, invest and protect one dollar very differently than we would one million dollars.  If you feel your value is akin to $1, you won’t see much value in who you are and you probably won’t invest yourself at all, thinking “it’s not worth it!”  In other words, “I’m not worth it!”

In order to show up, you have to feel you have something to offer when you do.  Otherwise, you will struggle to even make the effort.

I believe when people hide or run from a challenge, it’s less about fear of failure and more about lack of knowledge about their self worth.

#4: Take Action.

 I think Nike got it right when they picked their slogan “Just Do It.”

Showing up is the action it takes to move potential to manifestation.  Consistent showing up is the key to keeping this developmental process flowing.

As previously mentioned, it’s important to know what is in alignment with who you are and where you’re going.  After all, you don’t just want to show up for everything.

If you’ve assessed that what you are choosing is something that you feel will help you give and receive value and get you to where you want to go, then the next step is to just do it!  Show up!

#5: Trust & Honor the Lesson.

This is true for the lesson itself and everyone and everything that has come to the table to create the opportunity for the lesson.  Of course, it’s equally important to take the time to appreciate and be grateful for the good stuff as it is for the challenges.  But having honor and gratitude for challenging circumstances, people and emotions allows you to release the resistance to the lesson so it can flow to and through you, allowing you to benefit from it by growing and bettering yourself.

Carl Jung once said, “what you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”

We don’t often think about this powerful law of nature, but simply put, like energy attracts like energy.  If you hold a resistant thought about something or someone, you seal this into your expectation of life experience, therefore creating a pattern that will continue to repeat itself and grow.

I was recently sitting down with the president of a very highly esteemed company in the sustainable energy industry.  He has been named by multiple publications to be a leading visionary in his field.

He shared with me that he leads his company by a set of core values.  They hire and fire and hold everything else they do to a congruency with these values.

One of these values is NOT HAVE TO, GET TO.

We demonstrate a trust and honor for the lesson when we see life and everything in it as something we GET to show up and experience.

Don’t sell yourself short, you’ve got this!  Even if showing up doesn’t work the way you had planned, you will have learned something valuable.

At the end of the day, I believe showing up is a great way to build your faith.

If you can have faith that you are being led to do something or be somewhere in order to both give and receive value, then you will benefit in more ways than you know.

I promise!