You Have to Show Up

You Have to Show Up



I’ve said before in my books and articles that to be successful and fulfilled as a creative person, you need to ‘show up’ and do the work! Success (whatever defines that) can really only happen if you are doing the work and putting the time in. Sometimes you hear someone use the term ‘overnight success’ and I always kind of laugh because I bet money that those ‘overnight successes’ would beg to differ with that!

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It takes YOU to make You successful at whatever goal you are trying to achieve! Our artwork often reflects bits of ourselves in it, that’s what makes it personal and meaningful.


I’ve learned some new things about myself in this 50th milestone year of my life. I did not enter it the way I set out to. I had goals and I kind of lost them for a bit. I didn’t feel in control of my life, my body, my emotions for a variety of reasons. This manifested itself in gaining weight, feeling physically and mentally exhausted and STRESSED.



I will admit I mostly complained about it, internally and externally making some half hearted attempts to change things. It didn’t work.


So I gave myself a long pep talk. I needed to make changes for myself and only I could do this. So a couple of months ago I did. I got out my Fitbit. I began with walking a couple of miles a day. Then I added in working out at the gym 2 times a week. Making each step attainable so I could feel successful. Then I added in dieting ( I know, sigh, not fun but really I needed to get control over eating as well). When I feel I have reached one goal and attained it for a bit, I step up the next goal. Now I’m walking at a faster pace and doing 3 1/2 miles a day and working out 2-3 times and I’ve cut my calorie intake. I’ve been losing the weight I gained last year, finally. I feel so much better. And the work on my body has helped with the stressful aspects of life that have plagued me this past year.


Once I set my mind to it and began ‘showing up’ to take care of myself, I felt the tides turning. Is life perfect? No. Will it ever be? Probably not. Am I OK with that? Yes. I will try my best to make the most of what life has to offer each day. I can’t fix other peoples problems. I will be there for them but that’s all I can do. If they choose not to ‘show up’ and do the work they need to do, well, I can’t fix that.



If you don’t like some aspect of your life, I encourage you to take steps to change it. They don’t have to be big steps. Set reasonable goals. Take care of yourself. Encourage those around you to do the same but don’t take it on yourself if they choose not to.


18 responses

  1. Thank you, Pam, from the bottom of my heart! Intellectually I understand every word you wrote; it sure is difficult to be able to internalize it, and even more difficult to do so for a sustained time! Your words brought it back into focus for me, as I have been living the “before” portion of your story of late. Further, It allowed me to remind myself that it’s about falling down 8 times, but having the courage to get up 9 times…and off we go again! You helped me remember to not beat myself up for getting distracted from my goal of self care…that all I had to do was just show up. Every day. Even if I don’t feel like it. Just show up.

    Thank you so much for sharing so honestly…your words and your art are such an inspiration. It took me several times to try to quit smoking, but one day, 17 years ago was the last time I had to start again! And this applies to everything! Thank you for the reminder. Your face sketches and paintings make me show up for practicing art several times a week…if not every day! LOL! Workin’ on it though! 😉

  2. Pam, your comments come at a very timely time for me also and are an inspiration for me and where I find myself in this moment. Sometimes I’ve found we are allowed to lose our way only to find it again. thank you for sharing from your heart and for the beautiful art work!!

  3. I totally understand where your at. I have started on the same path and I will encourage anyone to start to embrace who you are and enjoy the self discovery.

  4. You inspire me through your art and books. Art unites me with many friends. Thanks for showing up and being there.

  5. As always, you are so open and so generous! thanks for sharing this – and for sharing your recent art works which are really, really great! I am SO enjoying have one in my home from Seth’s exhibit! You have all along said you need to show up and do the work – I so often want it all to be good right away, but I have so many fewer miles on my brushes and pens than you do – I know I need to spend the time! I know that you often say WWFD? but I am often after myself with WWPD when it comes to my art – so thanks for all your encouragement and your honesty about what it takes to make good art – and what it takes to just be a good, well rounded, regular person. Take care!

  6. Took your class at Stamford ct, and so appreciated your help and honesty in working with art , you have just done a great service for all of us in reminding us , we are whole people who can change one step at a time in art and life …success in your endeavors.

  7. Wonderful advice. Thank you for taking time to write about your goals and how you tackled them. Not that I ever want any one to struggle, but it is assuring to know that others go through the same things we go through. I love seeing how your portraits have blossomed this year… such gorgeous art.

  8. Hi Pam, Thank you for sharing one of “life’s lessons that we either gratefully accept or not!” You chose to accept the challenge and now you see the benefits of doing so. One of my challenges in the last two years has been the death of my daughter. Your art just spoke to me in the early stages of my grief process. So I started to learn from you via You Tube, then I purchased some of your lessons and of course your books also. I share this with you to let you know that your work is so meaningful to so many of us. Plus a pat on the back for sharing your challenges and successes.
    Blessings, Tamara McClure

  9. You really helped me get on my art journey when you posted a different drawing every day for a month and I thank you for that. I wandered away for a bit but I really like the paintings you posted today. Both the words and pictures are an inspiration. Thanks!

  10. Thanks for this! I went through some difficult life “stuff” and ended up at an all time weight high along with health concerns. I made some changes and my life is so much better because I am healthy. I have to work at it still but it’s worth it. Now I need to apply that same practice to my art work! I love your portraits and the thoughtfulness in your faces, just amazing.

  11. Hi Pam,
    Just had to write you a note of thanks. About four years ago I came across your book,’ Art at the Speed of Life’ and it was an epiphany for me. I got into my art and became braver about doing art my way. You used blue when outlining/shadowing a face. . . .who knew? That little seed was planted in my head and was just what I needed to get me moving again.
    Thanks again, Pauline
    BTW you new posts are amazing! LOVE your work !

  12. Pam, I’m always uplifted by your work & generous spirit. Now, with this beautifully honest post, I’m inspired to start showing up for my whole self not just physically but in attitude as well. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your timing is perfect!

  13. Interesting that sometimes we say we’re going to make changes, with really good intentions, but try as we might we just don’t do it, and then suddenly things just seem to align and we have the strength to do it this time. A brave post, Pam…thanks so much for your openness. It’s easy to assume that someone we admire has it all figured out. Keep up the great work!

  14. Just put a brand new fitbit on two days ago and basically had the same talk with myself. Congrats on making it work for you. Hopefully it will work for me!

All comments are read and greatly appreciated!

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