The Profound Power in Showing Up

All skills, habits, hobbies, and jobs that are worth doing take time and repetition. They don’t come easily or without effort.

The process of acquiring these skills can be monotonous. Write 500 words. Throw 50 changeups. Create a lesson plan. Play your scales. Cook pasta. Repeat tomorrow and the next day and the next. It takes thousands of repetitions before something amazing happens, before the work becomes art. We usually don’t know exactly when the magic will happen and the wait can be tough.

Showing up to practice is so important. We’re all striving to make different kinds of art. The thing we have in common is that the only way to get there is to show up over and over again. We have to try and fail and improve, then try some more. It won’t be easy. Great journeys never seem to be.

Each time we show up is another vote cast for who we want to be.

I think something else happens when we show up consistently. We gradually conquer our fear, our pride, and our weakness. “I can’t” becomes “I can, and here’s how I know.” The record we build for ourselves fundamentally changes who we are. It gives us the strength to overcome in the most important battles we fight, inside our mind.

Start small. Tie your practice to something you already do consistently. Keep track of how you show up. The progress will come in much bigger ways that you anticipate.


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The Joy of Artistry

Today I watched an amazing jazz pianist play in a way that filled me with joy. Yes, he was teaching a class full of young vocalists who don’t always hit the right notes or come in at the right time. This wasn’t a gala performance at the Kennedy Center. But his playing was both superb and infectious. It made me want to get out an instrument and practice!

Seeing mastery in action is amazing and awe inspiring. We don’t see the years of hard practice, the disappointments and trials that shaped the artistry we hear today. But knowing those things were part of his journey in one way or another make celebrating his achievements even more fun.

Here is someone who strives! In that moment I heard beauty, joy, and soul come out of his playing. I’m so grateful for the artists who make experiences like this possible.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go and practice making some art.


For those that are curious, the amazing pianist is Mr. Charles Williams. He teaches at the Kansas City Jazz Academy and two of my children have the privilege of studying with him there.


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