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.