There comes a day when it gets hard to find courage just to get out of bed. You struggle against your own ambition, the drain on your internal clock. Your energy zapped and depleted. The weather even feels cold and unforgiving. You lay there and hit the snooze button.
And one more time.
And with a brief pause and deep breath, you muster all fragments left of your inner strength to pull yourself to your feet. Slowly. Gradually. They swing over the side of the bed and hit the floor.
Thump. Thump. You are upright.
You may be tired and annoyed at the very thought of functioning. You feel like you could sleep all day, hiding under the safety of the covers. No failures or mistakes happen there. It’s easy.
But you make the most important decision of your day in your first three seconds of movement. Feet hit the floor and the day begins. You chose that. You won the first and hardest battle.
You show up at school, or work, or to your family breakfast table. You show up at a meeting or a practice or game or classroom. You show up to your peers and colleagues, your bosses and coaches, your players and students. You show up because something made you show up. Something today mattered enough for you to appear in the midst of whatever else you were feeling. You showed up.
And that’s a win.
Every great athlete, every significant coach, every CEO of a successful company, every parent, every brother, sister and friend… each of them show up for another. And every time they do, they solidify that belief that they will again tomorrow. It’s learned behavior that creates the habit, and it’s innate unconscious process that shows us we know how from the beginning.
I would venture a guess that you don’t remember learning how to walk. And yet, you stood up, stumbled a few steps, promptly fell down and perhaps with a tear, you got back up and did it again. And we did it over and over until we mastered it. And you don’t remember even doing that.
That tells me that the ability to fall down and get back up is innate. We are born with that.
And we have been doing it since before we remember.
And so showing up is just like that. We have been doing it with little thought, we have been making ourselves known with little fanfare our whole lives. We have done it in times of need and hardship for others we care about, and we have done it out of necessity to put food on the table, log miles on our soles and hours in the gym.
And then one day it is the hardest thing we will ever do. We hurt, we ache, both internally and externally. We talk about hanging it up. We no longer know our importance in the world of those around us who, for so long, were so used to us just being there.
We lose our spark.
We lose our love and desire and yearning.
But the thing that we don’t account for is the one thing that will never ever go away as a competitive athlete or coach or human being with big dreams.
Our heart knows who we are at the core. And it pulls deeply and we feel it profoundly.
Courage comes from the Latin word Cor which means heart.
And when we are brave enough to share our heart with those around us, we are not just showing up but we are doing it as authentically as we can.
Maybe that’s what is left after all the hours of training fade away… after all the hard work and the doing it for everyone else.
Maybe it’s about our own beating heart. Maybe, just maybe, when we show up for ourselves, we will find the greatest test of courage we have ever known.
Be Brave. Maybe it’s time to just show up…