Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Power of Showing Up

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The Dinner

I was invited to the dinner before I told my partners I was leaving the practice.

The event was inconsequential. A group of orthopedic surgeons from Japan were traveling across the United States spending 3 days in 10 different cities. On this given night, it was our turn to entertain.

One week before, I had given my partners the news. I was leaving to work at a different hospital.

I had no doubts about the decision itself. It was clear to me that this is what I needed to do. But telling the people that are most affected is never easy.

When the time came to give the bad news, the response was expected. Disappointment. An effort to convince me otherwise. All followed by well wishes. I was relieved to have it over, ready to move on.

But as the dinner approached, I was filled with apprehension. My soon to be former partners would be there, and I no longer wanted to go.

I did not want to have to deal with the awkwardness.

I was afraid of the potential confrontation.

I wanted to take the easy way out.

I wanted to stay home and hide.

All feelings based on assumptions.

photo by cjggbella (Creative Commons)

False Assumptions

I assumed that they were angry with me. I assumed that their anger would cause them to treat me differently, even unfairly. I assumed that they didn’t like me and did not want the best for me.

Assumptions that would eventually be proved wrong simply by showing up.

Despite my fear, I chose to attend the dinner. I don’t remember what convinced me to go, but I am glad I did.

Instead of awkward, it was fun. Instead of confrontational, it was friendly and delightful. Instead of staying at home by myself, I was able to enjoy the company of good friends, solidifying previously stressed relationships.

The Power of Showing Up

Although it can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, there are many reasons to show up.

  • By showing up I gave my friends a chance to do the right thing. I gave the situation a chance to be better than I had anticipated.
  • By showing up both sides had a chance to say that we cared more about the other person than the issue at hand. Our relationship was based on more than circumstances.
  • By showing up I gave a chance for the truth to discovered instead of my being determined by false assumptions.
  • By showing up I was able to deal with my false insecurities so that I could face reality.

And reality was much better than I imagined.

Give Your Dream a Chance

With regards to our dreams, we often fail to show up. We quit before we begin.

We stay home instead of going to the dinner. We don’t write that email making a request because we are certain that we will be rejected. We don’t apply for that position or that job because we can’t face the potential rejection. We don’t write the book because we are certain nobody will read it.

We kill our dreams before they even have a chance to find life.

In my case, my fears were not substantiated. Sometimes, however, the worst case scenario does happen. Your fears might come true.

But what if something good happens? What if you were wrong? What if your wildest dream comes true? The only way to know is to yourself a chance.

To show up.

What are you hiding from? Have you discovered the power of showing up?

Tell me your story in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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9 Replies

  1. I am new to your blog Jeremy.  Came by way of Michael Hyatt’s.  Thanks for your story.  I have had one man who became rather vocal with me and the other leaders about me needing to move on as the pastor of this church to another.  The others disagreed and he has since been miserable and affects others.  I have chosen to show up in spite of his feelings.  I greet him. Will take the effort to shake his hand.  He is the one missing out on good things happening.  I took over the leadership of the Building Team that he let flounder and we are on the move.  I realize it is not me but HIM.  but I am glad I showed up. 

  2. Ah, showing up.  There are so many wise people out there who have said that success is simply showing up in all areas of you life.  Simple, but not easy.

    Why then, is it such a hard pill to swallow?  Why do our fears of what may happen cause us to close the door to opportunity, both personally and professionally?  Why aren’t we being fully present in the moment we are living instead of projecting a ton of variables into the future.  I don’t know, because I do this too.

    My favorite part of this post: “What if something good happens.”  Now that is something to dwell on, to embrace, to liberate us from our own human nature of assumptions.

    My pastor has a rule for our leadership team, always believe the best about each other.  This has proven to be a great lesson for my  life as a whole, and has helped with this whole quandary.  Thanks for this post Jeremy.

  3. I like how you ended the comment. “It is not me, but HIM.” You know this because you showed up. Because you gave him a chance. thanks, Bill.

  4. Susan

    Your story is true. After experiencing a tragedy in my life I frequently “checked out” on people and events.  It was much easier than dealing with the emotions or memories that might arise.  It was easy  to find excuses and I was able to isolate myself by simply  not showing up.  Once I realized how much I had checked out on life I made it a point to show up.  Show up in my marriage, show up in my relationships with my family and friends, show up and take responsibility for my recovery, show up and take part in my community, and show up in my relationship with God. I am surprised with the results.  Good things come from showing up.  

  5. Great rule, but like you said, hard to do.

  6. I keep showing up to write everyday. Over and over and over. Why? Because I can’t NOT write. 

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Susan.

  8. Good stuff. Don’t let anything stop you.

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