Showing Up

I received a message on my voicemail yesterday that at first I didn’t understand.

I had to listen to it a few times to understand what was being said.

The voice was telling me that I had won something and I could pick it up at such-and-such a store at the corner of X and Y streets.

At first I was sure it was a wrong message…but the voice was addressing me by name, so that theory didn’t fly.

My second reaction was, “Who entered my name and contact information in a draw? That lousy bastard!”

As I listened and re-listened to the message comprehension began to sink in.  The lousy bastard who had entered my name and contact info in a draw was myself.  At my fitness center the previous week I had filled out a contest ballet on a whim while waiting for Andrew in the lobby – and then immediately forgot I had done so.

I don’t normally see contest displays and have the desire to participate in them. I’m not sure what possessed me to enter this one, but the fact that I DID take a few moments to enter it and then ended up with a prize got me thinking: you have to participate to have a chance at winning.

Yup, it’s true; if you don’t ever participate, there is a 100% chance that you will never win.

This epiphany ties in nicely with a recent opportunity that I was grateful to be honoured with.

Several years ago I traveled to the Sunshine Coast to hang with my BFF Tzaddi Gordon and check out the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl. We did it up that year, spending Saturday and Sunday driving up and down the coast, visiting artists and craftspeople in their studios and soaking in all the creative talent that Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, and various other coastal crawl locations had to offer. More than once that weekend I suffered the pang of studio envy – all those gorgeous studios filled with gorgeous work. 😉  One of those locations was the home base of nico spacecraft. On Monday morning, when I was back in Vancouver, I took a few moments to email the artists I had visited to thank them for opening their studios and sharing their stunning work.

A couple of months ago I received an email from Nicolas at nico spacecraft asking if I would be interested in showing some of my work alongside their work and the work of other artists in their studio workshop during the 2014 Roberts Creek Arts Festival. I was thrilled to be invited, and honoured that they had remembered me and that I was an artist. It occurred to me that if I hadn’t taken a few moments to make a sincere connection many years ago, I wouldn’t have been offered this present opportunity.

The Bearded Lady Shaves Her Head

The Bearded Lady Shaves Her Head, 2003. One of the pieces featured at nico spacecraft during the 2014 Roberts Creek Arts Festival.

If you don’t show up and make the effort to connect, you don’t get to participate.

If I would have stayed at home and not attended the Crawl…

If I would have let my shyness prevent me from talking to Jess and Nicolas…

If I wouldn’t have taken the time to touch base afterwards and connect in a quick email…I wouldn’t be here in Roberts Creek right now, exhibiting a selection of sculptures alongside a group of fabulous creators.

I feel like there is a trend in much of society these days to be a spectator – and I know how comfortable it is to be that person.  The type that sits back, watches the world go by and then laments about their regrets after the fact (Woulda.  Shoulda.  Coulda). But you can’t know how a seemingly small interaction may manifest in the future, so it is always important to participate.

This sentiment is reinforced by my business coach Leah Goard, who regularly reminds her clients that if you choose to show up, things will happen. So simple, yet so true.  Consequently, if you choose to NOT show up, the only thing that can possibly happen is NOTHING.

I’m learning to overcome my shyness and social anxiety and get in the game – throw my name in the ballot box and allow myself to be in the running to win a prize.  So far, I’ve had several positive results by doing so.

How has making an effort to participate and connect delightfully surprised you? Please share your experience in the comments below.


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