How to show up before you’re ready.

How many times in life have you waited before you were willing to try something different, to reach out to someone, to start over – simply because you wanted to “get it right” before you acted?

If you’re like most people (and me),

the answer is probably “too often to count.”

Recently, I was listening to a Magic Lessons podcast of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love, and Big Magic) where she described the antidote to this kind of procrastination. She said to “show up before you’re ready.” She was speaking in the context of being a maker, an artist – someone who creates, whether a writer, painter, poet, woodworker, photographer, chef, or any other creative endeavor – but I think it applies across the board in life.

Since then I have become obsessed with the phrase “show up before you’re ready.” I have been one of those people who often held back just enough in order to make sure I didn’t make a big mistake, like:

  • Choosing the wrong guy and getting hurt
  • Taking the wrong job and losing momentum
  • Saying the wrong thing and being embarrassed or worse
  • Or, stepping out of the “norm” of what was expected of me and being rejected

But guess what? I did get hurt, I did take a wrong job, I have said SO MANY wrong things, and I have certainly been rejected.

And here’s the thing.

I’m   still   here.

In fact, after being hurt, I got smarter and learned how to choose the right guy. I ultimately found the right jobs that catapulted my career beyond my expectations (and I gained some of the best people in my life from those jobs). Learning from the hurt or embarrassment I felt after opening my mouth at the wrong place or time, I’ve sort of learned (some lessons are forever) to breathe first, then speak. As far as rejection goes, ah geez. That’s just part of life, and frankly, some of the most important lessons I’ve ever had came from dark or sad places.

Now I’m on a new journey (this “off career” thing) and I’m finding that I have to remind myself again to show up before I’m ready. This is new and uncharted territory for me. It feels luxurious at times to be in a place where I get to make it all up, but a little intimidating too. It’s pretty easy to let busyness take over your days. My fear is that the busyness will take over weeks, then months, then years of my life – all because I just didn’t show up for myself.

I don’t want to do that. I want to push myself forward, strike out into uncomfortable places, and learn.

Doing this blog is one step I’m taking. I can’t tell you how my heart was beating right before I hit “Publish” on my very first post. My mind was swirling with all the fear-based nonsense like “who do I think I am, I have nothing of import to say, what gives me the idea that I can talk about style, can I even write a cohesive thought (even after a 30+ year career of writing)?”

Good grief, I exhaust myself sometimes.

But here I am – a blogger. (Big smile.)

What about you? Are you holding back about something, feeling fearful of stepping off? Do you want to try something new and completely outside of what you’ve ever done in your life? Or is there something you’re just not making the time for, and busyness is encroaching?

I don’t know about you but I feel an undercurrent in me that keeps saying “Do it now! Don’t wait. Go for it. The time is right because if not now, when?”

We’re old enough, smart enough and experienced enough to give ourselves permission to do it. By the way, whatever “it” is for you is all that matters. No one else gets a vote. No matter how small a thing it is, or how big, only you get to decide.

I’m hopeful you’ll share your journey with me, so we can learn from each other and keep showing up before we’re ready.

Till next time,


P.S. I highly recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. It’s a great primer on creativity and ‘showing up before you’re ready’.


  1. dona
    February 28, 2017 / 8:08 am

    Thank you for the push Judy. That was so encouraging, I love your honesty. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m afraid to take that next step in life, or just too lazy. I have been stagnant for a very long time and when I reflect on my past and the results of the taking that next step in life, it always turns out to be a GOOD THING! No matter how it “turns out”, it’s always a learning experience for me. How would we know how things are going to turn out if we don’t go for it. It’s better to take the chance and go for it, than remain “stagnant and stale” . Life offers so much at the tip of our fingers we just have to grab it! I will do some soul searching today and really push myself to make that call, inquire, and search. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Sharon
    February 28, 2017 / 9:00 am

    You know, when you first told me about your plans, I responded that I didn’t think any of it would apply to me but I’m finding out that ALL of it applies to me. Each of us is in our own coccoon and we get so comfortable we’re afraid to “step out.” Even at my advance age, I have those fears, I have experienced all of the traumas you describe and it’s made me stronger but in a sense, it’s also made me a bit more conscious of my own frailties and cautious about “stepping out of my comfort zone”. Love your posts!

  3. Sarah
    March 1, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Judy, I have been enjoying all of your blogs. I know I haven’t written on them but I am reading them. You remind me of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Very informative with a lot of interesting topics. You never cease to amaze me. Please keep up the interesting blogs.
    Love you❤

  4. Sarah
    March 1, 2017 / 3:14 pm

    Judy, I have so enjoyed all of your stories. I have read them all but didn’t comment on them.
    You remind me of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City. I hope you take this as a compliment because I meant it as one. She always had such interesting comments on things in life and that is what I feel you are doing with Harmony. Please keep writing such great blogs.
    Love you❤

  5. Sarah
    March 2, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I am enjoying all of your posts. You remind me of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. She always talked about such interesting topics and gave such insight to them. I meant this as a compliment. You never cease to amaze me. Keep your posts coming? Love you❤?

  6. March 2, 2017 / 3:23 pm

    “Show up before you’re ready” is a very valuable piece of advice for anyone, female or male and at any age. If you have a dream, then believe in yourself and project yourself into your dream as if you are already there. Before you know it, you are.

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