Show Up Before You Are Ready

21 10 2014

I love the blog – it just speaks to me on such a regular basis.

Today I was watching some of the author’s interviews for the OWN network, and I find her so inspiring – particularly with where I am currently at in my life.

She was asked to define the 5 qualities of strong and successful women, and she instead found herself defining the 5 habits of strong and successful women.  It is an important distinction – because habits are things we can all adopt, no matter our individual personality or circumstance.

The one habit she spoke about that just landed right where I LIVE these days, is this:  One of the habits of strong and successful women is their ability to show up BEFORE they are ready.  I define this habit in a lot of ways.  The literal way:  you don’t have to be perfectly dolled up and poised and coiffed to show up.  But that literal definition extends in a way that rings VERY TRUE TO ME in a lot of other areas of life.  Where I am currently at in my career, for instance.  I feel like I can be as prepared as possible, which is my nature for sure – to be prepared – to have done my homework.  But do I feel ready?  Usually not.  And the times when I feel “ready” I am invariably surprised by the way things unfold anyway.

I remember when my husband and I decided to start having kids – we knew there was no way to be ready…. and when our son was born, it became abundantly clear just how right we were – we COULD NOT be ready.  But we showed up.  And did our best.  And he is a wonderful kid today.  Loved, and peaceful, and confident.

But my desire to be READY for everything is still an aspect of my emotional nature that I fight with continually.  The desire to KNOW the outcome before the event.  To know how it will all turn out before I commit.

It caused me to write several family members and my ministers (past and present) to ask for extra support when working out of town last week.  I was worried I wasn’t ready for what is happening to me as an actress, and how what I am doing as an actress might negatively effect my family.  Which would seem a ridiculous thing to worry about – ostensibly, this is what I have been training for for…. ohhhhhhhhhhh 34 years?????  My Mom had the best thing to say in response to my anxiety – “When God works, He works like gangbusters.”  She is right – when things start moving – LOOK OUT – it is an ALMIGHTY response, and it can be terrifying – truly.

And that terrifying, gangbusters, bust-out work of God causes us, the frail human, to think, “Ooooo, I don’t know if I am ready for this.”  But that isn’t the point.  Being READY isn’t the point.  The point is to show up and do it.  Ready implies that you have more control in the actual unfolding of the event, but you don’t – all you can do is prepare and show up.

Before you are ready.

Because if you wait until you are ready, you may never go, and in the hesitation (even just the hesitation), you may miss the biggest blessing of your life.  And if it’s not a blessing, it’s the biggest lesson of your life.  Both are good.



8 10 2014

My daughter is (somewhat) fearless.

She walks right up to groups of big kids and starts interacting, talking, showing them her Blue Elmo (aka Cookie Monster).

She dives into food with vigor and happiness, and tries anything and everything you put in front of her.

I pick her up from baby school, and though she is happy to see me, there isn’t a trace of anxiety about where I have been.

She leaps off the edge of the pool, chest first, arms flung wide – she doesn’t even LOOK at where she is going.


When I marvel at her my Mom reminds me that I was JUST LIKE THAT as a kid. “You would leap into space, without knowing where you would land.” Multiple examples, strikingly similar to how my daughter behaves.

I was going to say I cannot recognize myself in her at all, but in thinking about it – I guess that isn’t entirely true. I remember competing in Speech & Debate tournaments, and feeling completely in control. KNOWING I would win. UNAFRAID. I felt as if lucky things just happened to me, that there was an abundance of reward for my hard work, and I didn’t need to be afraid to put myself out there.

But that self-assurance has faded as I have gotten older, had my own kids, really had boots on the ground in this frustrating profession for many years now.

Now, I still feel fearless in my acting work. I don’t have ANY fear of looking foolish, ugly, stupid, distraught, terrifying – I pour myself completely into my work and love to get lost in it.

But I don’t feel fearless about my profession. AND it is something I want to cultivate in myself.

The other day, we were going for a ride in my parent’s new boat on the lake. My son kept asking, “Can we go on another boat ride after this boat ride???” I said to him, “Sweetheart, you are still ON this boat ride – just enjoy it! Don’t worry about the NEXT boat ride right now!”

Even as the words were leaving my lips, I was shaking my head – coming to the realization that my words of advice were even more pertinent to ME and my FEAR about if my acting work will continue and move UP from here.

I am worrying about the next boat trip. When I really need to savor the one I am on. Jump off the side of the boat – chest first – not looking where I am going – arms flung to the side – smiling wide….

My daughter taught me that.