Showing Up for Your Own Party

Playing piano

I never worked harder than I had_ _to, and that was a problem. He wanted me to think about the magnitude of the commitment I was going to have to make if I really wanted to pursue music as a career. He was serious about working with me and teaching me the ropes, but I was going to have to show up for my own party.

This is what Canadian Artist Jann Arden did to get to where she is today. She committed five years of showing up every single day, writing songs, recording and honing her skills before she released her first album in 1993.

If you want to move, in a meaningful way, towards your desires and aspirations, you’ve got to show up for your own party—the party of your heart and soul.

They say the majority of success comes from just showing up. Today let’s explore this concept in more detail.

What does it mean to show up?

It means that you physically show up, fully committed to the task or project, no matter what. No excuses, buts or ifs.

The essential elements of showing up

1. Full alignment

Before you show up you need to align yourself—mind, heart and body—with your desire to pursue a certain goal or passion.

You can’t be committed and show up if you’re conflicted about your desire. You need to be fully and completely focused on this single desire.

This is the time where you ask yourself:

  • Why do I want this?
  • Would it matter to me in 5 years?
  • How would I feel if I didn’t commit to this goal?
  • How would I feel when I get there?
  • What does it mean for me to live my dream?
  • What am I scared of when it comes to this passion?
  • What do I feel is lacking for me to make this happen?

Look deeply into your reservations and limiting beliefs. Find counter points to neutralize them. Don’t dwell, trust your answers and move on.

And remember fear is part of life. We don’t need to conquer it. We just need to keep going in spite of fear and doubt.

2. Plan, set up and invite the universe

Just like any party you host, you need a plan for your soul party.

In this step you create a detailed vision of what you want to accomplish. What is the ultimate goal? What steps do you need to start moving? What would it take for you to start with the first step?

Then get the tools you need, and set a space for you to do your work. This would be your sacred space where you do your thing.

Don’t get bogged down with finding the best tools and the best setup. Get the essentials that you need and move on.

For example if you want to write, get a pen and some paper or a word processor on your computer. Later you can add a dictionary or any other resource you need. Focus on the basics.

Keep your space aligned with your desire and your personal style. If you don’t like clutter or noise for example, make sure you have a neat and quiet area to work in.

Decide on the time where you need to be at your party. This time is not negotiable and has to be specific. Imagine sending an invitation to a party stating the time as when I’m ready. No one, including you, is going to know when that is.

When I feel like it, when I’m ready, someday, are not dates and times. They are excuses for not showing up.

When you have your space ready and your time set, invite all of the creative and supportive energies of life to accompany you in your journey.

3. Physically be there

This is the beginning of the real journey where the rubber hits the road. You need to go to your place of work and be there every single day—or at least the majority of days. The thing about showing up is that it’s hard. It takes determination and conviction.

In the book War of Art  Steven Pressfield states:

It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.

Sit down and allow the universe to inspire you. And keep doing it day in and day out. If you don’t do this, you will be missing out on your party.

4. Take action

Take single focused action in the direction of your desire.

If you’re a writer, write. If you want to learn the piano, play it. If you want to be fit, start moving.  One single word, key stroke or step at a time.

Be open to what comes to you in the process. Act on inspiration or what feels right at the moment.

If you don’t know what to do, don’t despair. As long as you continue to show up and keep the creative doors open, inspiration will come.

Don’t quit your party. If you don’t know what to write, stare at the blank page till something comes to you. If you’re stuck in your piano lesson, break it down to one simple note and play that. You will get unstuck sooner or later.

5. Trust

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not knowing how things will turn out is one of the hardest challenges. You will have doubts about your abilities. Resistance and fear will creep in the moment you start wavering. The voice of naysayers will be amplified a thousand times in your mind.

Have faith and trust that you’re on the right path for you and that you’re doing the best you can.

Things will change as you keep going. It’s part of the journey. You won’t anticipate every change and won’t be prepared for every challenge. But you will deal and move on.

There are so many times where I don’t know what I want to write about or I start a draft, then the next day I feel compelled to write about something else. And I have no idea how I’m going to weave a few words and ideas together.

Usually the actual writing turns out to be easier than the exaggerated obstacles in my head. Once I start, words start to flow. When I get stuck, I leave space for the thought or idea. When I come back to it later, the words tend to bring themselves to me.

The beauty of trust is this: the more you trust, the better you feel, the more fun you have, the more you keep going. And when you reach that stage, nothing can stand in your way. Your success is inevitable.

Keep going. Repeat steps 3 to 5 and revise 1 and 2 based on the progress you made.

What party am I showing up for? And what’s next?

Personally I’ve been showing up to write these blog articles. I set a specific target for publishing four posts per month, no matter what.

The tools I’m using are a text editor, word processor and Windows Live Writer. I have a quiet space in the office where I like to write or in the living room by the fireplace when it’s really cold. On writing days, the writing becomes my main mission. Other than normal routine tasks, I don’t commit to anything on that day.

I have not been as committed to music as I’d like to be. So the next party is going to be about music. I want to learn more and start refining the music I’ve created. I will show up, in spite of the overwhelm and all the aspects of music composition and production that I know nothing about—yet.

Before I end this article, here are a couple of books I highly recommend for anyone who wants to pursue a creative endeavor.

If you want to motivate yourself and face your challenges, read the following books.

Steve Pressfield dissects resistance and gives you enough ammunition to move past it so you can show up to do your work.

Showing up is the antidote to resistance and inertia. It’s hard in the beginning, but with time it gets easier. It becomes a habit—a routine—like brushing your teeth. This is when action starts to flow with ease, with minimal struggle and less need for willpower.

When you show up, all of life shows up to support you.

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