Showing Up Anyways

For those of you who know me personally, you may have heard me talk about starting Opaline Hue.

I talk about how excited I am for these garments to come to the market. I drool over color palette and excitedly share about my branding ideas.

What you also may hear me say is, “It is so hard.”

But, it may not be hard in the way you think. The hours I put into it before and after my 9-5 aren’t what make it hard. The content creation, while a major mental workout, isn’t what makes it hard. It isn’t the exciting challenge of sourcing fabric. The hardest part isn’t even wondering if Opaline Hue will be a thing this time next year.

The really hard part of it all, the part that I have to battle to keep it going every day, is showing up as me.

I am showing up by writing down my words and exposing them for others to read. I am saying, “These are my thoughts for you to ingest.”

I am showing up when I draw a design and give it to a pattern maker to interpret. I am saying, “This is my idea - do that.”

I am showing up when I make a decision on the construction of my garment. I am saying, “My opinion matters. This way will be best.”

I am showing up by building this business. I am saying, “This will help you.”

And the scariest part of showing up is that in everything I am saying - I could be utterly wrong.

And isn’t that why we shy away from showing up? We shy away for fear of being wrong, unlikeable or not good enough. When we put effort forth in anything: parenting, relationships, our jobs, even just giving an opinion - we risk.

I will speak for myself, though I believe I’m not alone: I fear that rejection speaks not to my output but to my being.

Take a moment to let this sink in. Can you relate?

I have good news for you: Failure speaks to your creation, your words, your actions, and stops there.

If we hope to live out our lives in full, I believe we must show up as ourselves. And if we are going to face that risk of showing up as ourselves, I believe we must not let failure or rejection have the power to speak to our worth. We can learn to give rejection or criticism its proper place: a chance to inform our output and not our being.

I have a few thoughts on the practice of facing the fear of rejection and showing up.

1. Try something a little vulnerable and scary, and see what happens. I think you’ll find the outcome is not so bad. If indeed the outcome is terrible, you will realize you lived through it and you are still you on the other side. Take it from Tina Fey in her book Bossypants: “What I learned about ‘bombing’ as an improviser at Second City was that bombing is painful, but it doesn’t kill you. No matter how badly an improv set goes, you will still be physically alive when it’s over.”

2. Begin to notice how your body and your mind feel when receiving criticism or making a mistake. I think understanding our subconscious reaction is a first step in training ourselves to handle let down without allowing it to speak to our worth or value.

3. Understand you are not alone. Choosing to show up, to give forth your effort is a vulnerable thing. To be vulnerable is to risk. The people around us who we see showing up are not immune to rejection or failure. They haven’t figured out how to avoid it. They haven’t learned to numb the pain. Rather, they have discovered how to receive it and turn it into fuel for the journey.

Showing up is simply being present and giving your energy to the life that is in front of you. It is a going to be a risk.

And when we show up as ourselves, we may find that at times we are utterly wrong.

But, there is so much good news. There is grace for mistakes. Humility is a gift and a muscle we can exercise. We are not unique in being imperfect. Our worth actually has nothing to do with being right.

And there is tomorrow - a new chance to show up.

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