Why You Need to Show Up for Your Life

show up for your life

We all have lofty dreams and ambitions that sometimes seem unreachable. You have always wanted to own your own restaurant, but right now you are struggling to get by, working long hours as a waitress. You’ve always wanted to write a book, yet you are so exhausted from your office job that you don’t have the energy or motivation to write in the evenings. You’ve always wanted to travel, but somehow you’ve gotten stuck in the cycle of working, paying bills, and having very little time or money for much else.

We all have times where we feel like we are not even close to where we envisioned we’d be this stage in our lives, no matter if you’re 25, 45, or 65. We feel like our day-to-day lives don’t quite match up to where we want to be.

The key when you are feeling this way is to show up for your life.

You are not going to get where you want to be by being miserable for 8 hours a day as you work as a waiter, or bartender, or assistant. Being miserable about your current situation drains your energy, makes it so nobody wants to be around you, and keeps you from accomplishing what you truly want in your life.

I want to discuss this topic today because I recently watched an interview of Marie Forleo, who is a life coach, motivational speaker, and web television host, in which she shares this idea of truly showing up for the life you are living now. I had never heard of her before, but I absolutely loved what she had to say, and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

“How do I reconcile the fact that I have big dreams, I’m not where I want to be yet, yet I don’t want to be miserable until I get there…” – Marie Forleo

Forleo talks about how she felt during her twenties when she had decided she wanted to be a life coach and help people live their best life, but she was making her living bartending and cleaning people’s houses. She could have shown up for her bartending shift depressed and feeling like a loser because she knew it wasn’t what she wanted to do. She could have put herself down for having to earn money cleaning people’s toilets, and convinced herself that she was worthless.

But do you know what she did? She showed up for her life.

She decided that every moment of her life, she was going to show up like she was meant to be there. She was going to be the best damn bartender around. She was going to clean toilets like nobody’s business. Because it made her feel better. She ended her 8 hour shift serving people drinks not feeling exhausted and miserable, but feeling good and energized. Even though it wasn’t her ideal situation, and she never lost sight of her goals, she made the effort to live in the here and now and do the best she could at whatever task was at hand.

“You have a choice –you’re either going to be miserable for 8 hours, or you’re going to engage like a champ, and you’re going to show up and be amazing.” – marie forleo

This is so inspiring to me because, as many of you know, I am currently working as a barista in a very, very small town in Oregon. Some days are definitely a struggle. Getting out of bed and stumbling into the coffee shop at 6:30 a.m. and spending my day forcing a smile even when customers are rude is not exactly my dream job. Sometimes my mind runs away with me — I have a college degree, all my friends are working real jobs, what the heck am I doing here? I have very high ambitions for myself — having my own business, writing a book, making this blog a success — and it is often hard to reconcile those goals with working at a coffee shop.

But with Forleo’s philosophy, it becomes simple. I don’t show up to work miserable and grumpy. I show up energized, excited to meet new people, and ready to make the best freaking latte anyone could hope for.  I show up to my life in that moment and make the best of the situation at hand. Then I leave my shift feeling good and happy, rather than drained and miserable. This isn’t something that will necessarily come easily, but it is a philosophy that I think is very much worth adopting. Here’s why:

Opportunities will arise.

For a time, Marie Forleo taught hip hop dance classes. Her ultimate goal in life was not to be a hip hop instructor, but while she was in that situation, she chose to be the best dance teacher she possibly could. Because the higher-ups in the business noticed how hard she was working and her classes were always full, they chose her to audition for Nike, which led to her opportunity to be a Nike elite trainer and travel with the company to Europe. Forleo also attributes her philosophy to getting her job on the floor of Wall Street. Because she decided to show up to her life and be the best bartender she could possibly be, people started to take notice of her positive attitude and dedication at work. People she met asked her what she wanted to do after she graduated college, she told them she had a degree in finance, and she ended up meeting someone who had a connection for a job on Wall Street. The point is, you never know who you are going to meet, who is going to take notice of your energy or work ethic, who that amazing latte is for. When you show up for your life and be the best you can be at the task at hand, people will take notice, and this can lead to opportunities you wouldn’t expect.

“This idea of mastery and showing up like you own it — the opportunities that can come as you do that, you can’t even predict.” – Marie Forleo

It makes your days tolerable, and even enjoyable.

We all know how miserable a day can be when we show up with a bad attitude and we don’t want to be there. So, maybe you don’t want to be at your current job. But you know what? You are responsible for your own life and your own choices. It is nobody else’s fault that you are there, so don’t take it out on the world. Accept the fact that right now you are cleaning toilets or serving coffee. Sure, sometimes it sucks. But the way to make it suck way, way less is to choose to show up and do the best job you possibly can. When you try to be the best you can be at the job at hand, you will feel better. That’s just how it is. When you have a positive attitude, you will attract positivity throughout your day. Your customers will probably be nicer to you. You will have fun with your coworkers. You will improve your skill as a barista or an office assistant or a salesperson. And then, when you leave your shift, you will feel energized and uplifted rather than miserable. Let’s face it — being miserable all day is exhausting! When you leave a shift after showing up and giving it all you’ve got, you will be a little tired, yes, but you will not feel totally drained and depleted like if you’d been miserable all day. This means that you will have more energy to dedicate to whatever else you are trying to make happen in your life — working on a business plan, applying for other jobs, writing a book or a blog. When we spend our days being miserable, we are totally depleting ourselves of inspiration and energy, which makes it really difficult to work toward our goals. So do yourself and your ambitions a favor, and show up to your life right now.

“Anywhere you find yourself, it is up to you whether you’re going to be miserable there, or you’re going to make it awesome.”- Marie forleo

Success is in your attitude.

A lot of what makes a person successful is their attitude. If you spend your days feeling like a total loser because you are serving people coffee for a living, you will start to convince other people you are a loser too. Obviously, this is not something you want if you’re trying to be successful. Instead, you want to convince people that you are awesome. That you are going to do big things in your life. That you are going to be successful. The way to do this is to convince yourself that you are already great. Tell yourself that you are going to accomplish many things in your life, but right now you just need some money to get by while you work toward your goals. There is nothing wrong with that at all! In fact, people will probably think that it is really admirable that you are willing to work a crappy job for a while, while you write a book or work on a business on the side. And how do you make people admire you even more? Not only are you willingly working a crappy job, but you are showing up every day and making it awesome. You are engaging with the people around you, inspiring positivity, and even making it look like fun. By doing this, you will convince the people around you and yourself that not only will you be successful in your life, but that you are already pretty great.

“I really think so much of success is about your attitude that you bring to the table. And you’ve got to bring it to the table every single day, no matter what stage you’re at.” -Marie Forleo

 You learn to appreciate the here and now, while still being excited about the future.

We’ve all heard the quote “happiness is a journey, not a destination,” but how often do we put it into practice? Most of us have goals that we want to accomplish in the future, but even when we reach those goals, it’s not like we will instantly be “happy.” Yes, we feel accomplished and satisfied when we reach a big goal, but then we often come up with 3 more goals that we want to reach. There is never this end destination of happiness. So the key is to teach yourself to be happy right now. You will probably be working toward goals and aspiring to something greater your entire life, so you need to make it a point to enjoy the process. By showing up and owning whatever we are doing each day, we are actively teaching ourselves to be happy right here, right now. This doesn’t mean we are losing sight of our goals and being complacent, but rather we are enjoying the process of our lives unfolding.

“It’s not like you lose sight of your dreams. It’s not like you lose your ambition. But you strike this really interesting balance of being fully here and now, and fully excited about where you’re going.”- Marie Forleo

You inspire others.

When you show up for work in a bad mood and you’re miserable the entire time, everyone else can tell. And it affects them. We all know what it’s like to try to work with a grumpy coworker. So when we choose to show up for our life and be fully engaged, we are inspiring the people we are around every day. Our coworkers will feel inspired to work harder. Our friends and family will be inspired to be more positive about their daily tasks. You will be putting good, positive energy out there, and in turn you will attract a lot of good, positive people, which is a great pathway toward success.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of this philosophy of being fully present and engaged in your everyday life, I want to share a few more ideas about what this might look like in your own life.

  • You show up on time, or even early, to your work or other obligations. You are excited to be there and ready to tackle whatever is at hand.
  • You dress like you deserve respect. You don’t show up to work with sloppy clothes, bedhead, and no make-up on just because this isn’t your dream job.  You put effort into your appearance because it makes you feel good and makes others respect you. Maybe the CEO of some awesome company will take note of the extremely well-dressed barista and want to know more. You never know!
  • You radiate positivity. Your coworkers like to be around you because you try hard every day and you make the work environment a positive one. If you’re going to be there for 8 hours, you might as well make it fun.
  • You stand out from the other employees because you are the one killing it at your job. You strive to be the best at everything you do because who knows where it might lead? Maybe you get promoted or maybe some other business comes and snags you up because you’re so awesome. When you’re great, people will notice, and it will lead to opportunities.
  • You aren’t just settling for the job you have now. Not at all. You are simply engaging in each moment of your life, without ever losing sight of your ambitions. You work hard when you’re at work, and then you come home and you work hard at tackling your goals. You write on your novel late into the night, you brainstorm ideas for your future business during your free time, you take night classes if you need them, you write down your goals where you can see them every day.
  • Not only are you showing up for your life in terms of work, but also other aspects of your life. You show up for your relationships and be the best friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, sister/brother, daughter/son, parent, etc. that you can be. You may not be living in your ideal house or town, but you are making the most of what you have. You focus on fully engaging in every activity you participate in, whether it’s a workout at the gym, a meeting, coffee with a friend, or a date with your significant other.
  • You’re basically owning your life. You’re dressing well, you’re the best employee at work, you’re working toward big future plans. You’re all over the place, and tackling each moment with ambition, drive, and positive energy.

I hope you feel as inspired as I do to show up for your life. Treat each moment like you are meant to be there and give 100% of your effort to whatever it is you spend your time doing. Be the best you can possibly be right now, and never stop working toward your goals. This is a mind shift that is a total game-changer. Let’s own it!

If you’re interested in watching the interview with Marie Forleo, here is the video. It is about an hour long, but it’s worth watching. The part of the interview that inspired my article today starts at about minute 7:30.

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