I’ve been talking a lot this year about the importance of showing up.
As you are. Wherever you are. And not apologizing for it.
We’re in such a hurry to find our work, our people, our person, our passion… that entire industries have been built around selling us shortcuts.
But maybe you don’t need to read a zillion more self development books. Maybe you don’t need to find your passion or become a better you. Maybe you simply need to lean further into who you already are. And surround yourself with people that encourage you to do that.
Here’s the thing…
If it was never safe to be yourself at home, it’s easy to believe that it’s not safe to be yourself anywhere. And beyond that, you simply don’t have the practice.
If you grew up having to be less of yourself—playing small—learning how to be more of yourself—showing up—really will be something you need to practice. It’s going to be uncomfortable. But if you’re willing and able to build the capacity to sit through it, some really beautiful things exist on the other side of that discomfort.
Like many of us, my childhood was spent learning how to be what other people expected. Then, as an adult, I kept finding myself in jobs, relationships, and friendships that didn’t feel good. Not necessarily because they were bad (I mean, some of them were…) but because they weren’t right for me. I was building a life that wasn’t mine, because I was building it for a person that I was not.
As I’ve said before, it’s awfully hard to know what you want when you don’t know who you are.
To unravel this I had to start small… because a) I couldn’t throw my entire life out the window and b) it was scary as hell. I gave up trying to figure out what my passion or purpose or whatever-the-heck end goal was, and started to treat my life as a series of experiments. I started listening to my curiosity and following nudges.
Hey Kate, think having a YouTube channel would be fun but scared to death of filming yourself and committing the results to the public record that is the interwebs? Start with a 15 second Instagram story that disappears in 24 hours. Try that every day for a week and see what happens.
Hate it? Fine. Love it? Cool. Keep going. Keep exploring. The outcome didn’t matter, it was about proving to myself that I can survive discomfort. That I can do hard, scary things and that the world doesn’t end when I do. That you can fail and be OK. That you can succeed and be OK (in some ways that one’s felt harder to learn?).
Point is, showing up really is a practice.
So… start practicing.
Start small. But start practicing.
It’s funny how we think the solution to not being seen is filing down our edges. Rather than saying, “Oh hey I’m not finding what I want, better get more specific” we water ourselves down and play to the middle. Thinking that the more we look or sound or act like everyone else the more likeable we’ll become. Then they’ll want to hire us, date us, buy our art…
When in fact, it’s only when we start showing up that we begin to find what’s meant for us.
More and more, I really believe that our job on this planet is to become more of who we already are. And to support others in doing the same.
So listen to your curiosity. Follow those nudges. Go to the edges… Because that’s where your people are. That’s where your work is. That’s where the change you can make in this world lives.
If you’re struggling to find what’s meant for you, maybe showing up is the shortcut you’re been looking for.
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