Get up, take a shower and show up. Simple? For me it has been the key to success. Show up.
Many people talk about thinking positive, I say that is one step too far. I say, just show up. Sometimes you have to fail to succeed. No matter how you feel, take a deep breath and just show up.
Many times in my life I have been filled with fear, either real or imagined. I wanted to quit, I felt I was failing, I didn’t think I knew how. I just didn’t want to. I have a rule about showing up. I learned this on accident.
One of the first times I learned this lesson I was 12. I had a 6-month-old filly my parents wanted me to show her in a National horse show. I hadn’t shown before, I was very shy, I didn’t want to be in the arena with all eyes staring at me. Seeing my flaws, seeing my inexperience.
The day before the big show, my filly, Valentine, was loaded into the horse trailer and I was loaded into the truck. Someone had purchased me a hot pink “show outfit” to catch the judges eyes. I thought the outfit was hideous. I was filled with dread, and my protests fell on deaf ears. I fell into silent, angry compliance. We drove to the city the show was in, Upon arrival I was distracted from my pouting with the chore of getting Valentine out of the trailer and set up in a show stall at the fairgrounds. Unloading, prepping the stall, watering, feeding, brushing, braiding and glossing up Valentine keep me busy. That night we stayed at some friends of my parents. I spent the evening trying to think of ways to get out of having to participate in the show. I knew I would have to be deathly ill. So, I laid awake fearing the day.
In the morning, filled with dread, I took a shower, and prepared to show up. Soon it was time to get ready for the show. I had to dress in that pink outfit, have my hair done and put on my show hat. I walked to the barn to touch up Valentine’s coat and hoofs. There was so much to be done I forgot to be nervous for a bit. The sounds and smells of the barn distracted me from my nervousness. The smell of hay, horse poop, and hoof polish were thick in the air. The sounds of other people busy getting their horses ready.
The countdown began, two more classes before the foals were shown, one more, time to go. I was dizzy, I was shaky, I was frightened. I had no choice, I had to show up. I took Valentines halter and rope and walked to the entrance of the arena. Valentine had never been shown either and she was also upset and nervous. Our energy fed off of each other. By the time it was my turn to enter the arena we were both really upset. The showing of fouls entails leading them around the arena while judges look for conformation, obedience, and style. Valentine didn’t want to go in that arena either, and she spent the entire time in the ring, rearing up, running in circles on her lead line and she even tried to kick me. This of course brought gasps and moans from the crowd. I was engaged with trying to calm her, but I could hear the crowd and my face was hot and red. Needless to say we didn’t place that day. It was a two day show though, so I had to do it again the next day.
I guess I felt different the next day, because the worst had already happened. I had done a terrible job and yet, I had survived. Nothing was different, I still breathed in and out, the planet still turned on it’s axis, life went on.
On day two, I just wasn’t as nervous. I wasn’t as horrified by the outfit. I got dressed and ready and took care of grooming Valentine with more acceptance. Valentine wasn’t as nervous either. This time we entered the ring calmly and we did all of the judges commands calmly. My face still felt hot and I was self-conscious, but we just did as we were told. On the second day, we received a 4th place ribbon. It was improvement.
Valentine and I went on to do many shows. We won some, we lost some, but somewhere along the line we learned, we got better, and we started to enjoy the process.
I learned a lesson that weekend, sometimes failure is the first step to success. Just show up, be willing to succeed, be willing to fail, but show up.