Recently I have been going through old belongings that at one point were prized possessions from my childhood. In the process of doing so, I found that my mother happened to keep nearly every award I had ever received.
When I initially came across this stack of paper recognizing me from everything from saying the pledge of allegiance to graduating from college, I found myself having a cynical thought that recognized why older generations often call my generation the “ME” generation that feels it unjustly needs to be celebrated and acknowledged for every minor achievement. And some of these certificates could justify this claim. After all, one award recognized me for excellence in math and spelling – even though in parenthesis there was a comment that I hadn’t gotten everything “right.”
And yet, as I continued to look through this stack of paper that at one point had held such value and importance, I realized that more than anything, I had received awards for attendance. There were “Good Attendance” Awards, “Perfect Attendance” Awards, and “Excellent Attendance” Awards. And at the sight of these awards, the cynic once again said, “See, I told you! They were awarding mediocrity if they had to give you an award for just showing up!”
And while it might have been tempting to believe this thought and fall into that line of thinking, I began to realize that if I hadn’t shown up, I might never have been able to do the work, that enabled me to learn the skills and discipline, that enabled me to actually achieve the “more valuable” accolades including high school class valedictorian, Undergraduate honors including double majoring and earning the distinction of Summa Cum Laude, let alone go on to earn a Master’s Degree. None of this might have been possible if I hadn’t simply shown up!
So for today, I would like you to think about one area of your life where you’d like to see improvement, growth, transformation, and then take a moment to congratulate yourself for showing up in whatever, imperfect manner you are able to. With time, discipline, and dedication, I believe we are all capable of truly living the lives we want.