One of my favorite Momism’s is “90% of success is showing up”.  I think Woody Allen said it originally, and even though I don’t really like him, I find this to be a pretty handy quote.  I often say this to my daughter, and she has taken it to heart.  She shows up.

From the time she was little I have also stressed the companion quotes, you may not win everything, but I can guarantee you will not win if you haven’t entered.  She competes in things.

Show up and join the game.

Seems so simple, right?

Yet, how often do we do it? How often do we talk ourselves out of competing, or entering or showing up?  How often do we let others talk us out of things?

My kid wants to intern in a law related field this summer.  This is a really hard proposition:  there are not many intern positions in law for high school students.  In fact, one of our friends said “Why is she bothering.  She’s not going to get anything.”

Why is she bothering?

Because if you don’t even try, you’ll never know what is out there.  So she’s applied for five internships.  She got four interviews with four different programs.  She didn’t get one of them.  She’s waiting to hear from two of them.  And she’s entered the training portion of one program (she doesn’t know if she actually had a placement, but is receiving invaluable mentoring advice in the meantime).  She’s in this position because she showed up.  She tried.  True- she may not actually get anything, but at least she was in the game- she put herself out there.

And right now, you’re thinking, what a good Mom.  Look how she motivates her kid.

Which I do.


My daughter likes to write, mostly poetry and essays, but writing is writing.  A few months ago she read about a 10 minute, 1 act play contest.  She loves the theater, has been a stage hand/tech person since sixth grade.  But writing a play?  She’s never even tried.

So she started writing a play.  And it was pretty lame.  The writing was OK, but the dialogue and story were awkward and clumsy.

So she started thinking about other ideas.

And she was coming up blank.

Then, she had an idea.


It was three days till the contest deadline.  Easter.  Our trip to DC.  There was very little time to actually write a play, no matter how short.  I told her not to bother- how was she going to do it?

She didn’t listen.  She just began writing the play.  She figured out how to add the little things that make it a play.  And ten minutes before the 12am deadline, the play was emailed.  The confirm receipt came shortly after.  The play was entered.

Will she win?  Who knows. Does winning matter?  Well, it depends on your definition of winning. Winning a prize?  Well, this particular contest will have 3 “winners” and 2 Honorable Mentions.  They get to put it on the resume.  That’s one version of winning.  The other version of winning is having the tenacity to finish something- the ability to take an idea, flesh it out, and submit it.

So, I’m giving my daughter the win.  She did what she needed/wanted to do.  The prize at the end will be icing, but she’s already got the cake.  She had a goal, figured out the steps and did it.

So what’s the point?

Just show up.  Get in the game.

That’s  how things happen.


46 thoughts on “90%

  1. Well, you are right on this one. So many ppl miss out on the great opportunities and also the chances to learn new things ( as well as the experiences) if they never show up or try ( in case with a play for example). Good luck to her!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I’d had that advice as a kid. I can’t tell you number of things I didn’t do out of fear of failure. Even when I began writing my blog I was paralyzed by fear. That’s a sad way to live and your daughter won’t have to. Yay!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s great to have encouraging people around — like you — because sometimes friends and family act as dream killers (not on purpose – -I hope!). Fear stalks the generations until someone has the courage to take only a few steps out into the light and is surprised to find out there is a different world for those who show up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t understand dream killers. I understand healthy skepticism, I understand explaining the risks, and I understand avoiding risky situations. But the dreams, the goals…we should be encouraging!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. LA I really enjoyed this post. Even though you don’t want to take credit for your daughters determination, I would say like mother, like daughter. Well done, this is some fine parenting in my view.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Win? Absolutely she is a winner. She proved to herself that she could complete the play, and she’s learning important skills by applying for all of the internships. And losing or not getting the job is a skill too many people are poor at.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Because of life experiences I look a little differently, perhaps more long term, than others. The huge positive in your daughter “having a go” now to me means that when you are no longer here watching over her, she will still have the strength of personalitly to be, and do, whatever she needs to do for herself. Well done for having raised an independent and resilient human being. Job well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice. Showing up is becoming a rare commodity these days, and I commend your daughter for carrying through and submitting it. She sounds like a real self-starter. Has she thought about interning at a court or court-related program. There are plenty out there that may not pay, but would expose her to the justice system. I just learned about a program in New Haven where the kids mete out justice for their peers…it’s an actual court with decisions that stick. They are looking for volunteers. Maybe something like this in NYC?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nyc is funky with stuff. She was a finalist in an essay contest and the prize is spending a week with a judge, so sh3 is thrilled about that. She’s working with a program now that mentors them and tries to place them with a lawyer. Here’s to hoping! I think there’s a peer support advocate thing where she would sit with a peer who is going through the court system. She didn’t apply to that because it seemed more social work oriented than law

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The judge sounds like a great experience. The great thing about law is there are so many avenues and something for everyone. I covered court for years and loved criminal law and trials. Hope she finds her niche-she’s got plenty of time!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I just want slap people who say why are you trying. You’re not going to win. You have to try. You have to put yourself out there. It helps you figure out what you are made of. It helps you in one way or another to get closer to your goals. I think people who discourage us are the people who are afraid to go after their dreams. Good for your daughter. She may not win but at least she put herself out there.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s