Ahhhhh phrasal verbs…
If you find phrasal verbs hard, you are not alone. They are hard and sometimes weird. At the same time, they are a key part of conversational English and they are also quite beautiful.
‘To show up’ is one of these.
Like a lot of phrasal verbs, this has a lot of meanings. One meaning of ‘show up’ is to arrive, often unexpectedly.
Here’s an example from the Cambridge Dictionary:
“I invited him for eight o’clock, but he didn’t show up until 9.30.”
There’s also another meaning which I love. ‘To show up’ can simply mean to be there… even when you don’t want to be there.
For example, you have some work to do in English, like a project or a meeting, and there is this voice in your head that says ‘don’t go! You can’t do it! It’s better to stay at home – it will be so embarrassing. You can do it another time.’
‘To show up’ is when you go anyway.
Here’s some things I want to say about showing up:
Showing up is a daily practice. It’s something we do today, and the next day, and the next day.
Sometimes it just means going to English class when we’d much rather be at home in our pyjamas.
The winter is coming in Germany. The rain can make us wish we’d rather NOT go to class today. The dark can lower our energy. We don’t even have time to attend company courses because of our high work load. I can completely understand that, and I completely support the need to rest, make space and self-care, but sometimes…
Showing up IS self-care. It shows yourself that you…
- respect yourself so much that you want to get better at something.
- trust that you are strong enough to do it.
- care about your goals and becoming a better person.
- make space for other parts of life.
Showing up is a habit we build. The first few times we do something it’s always hard. Currently I’m learning how to code. I promised myself that I would learn for at least 15 minutes every time I have a free evening. For the first week, I really had to motivate to sit down and start.
Now I’m in my second week and I don’t really think about it: I just sit down and I start. I show up because now it’s normal for me to do it. And if I can do it, so can you.
Showing up is hard. Because it means we will continue working when every part of us wants to give up.
It means we make mistakes and maybe embarrass ourselves. Sometimes you just have to forget your ego and continue working. You make a mistake, you learn from it, you start the next exercise or join the next conversation.
Yes, this is hard. I know this as a teacher and as a student, but you show up anyway. That’s why…
Showing up gets easier with time. You build that strength inside which helps you continue. You build a trust that you can do it. Finally, you learn to ignore the voices in your head which tell you to postpone your goals.
Last but not least…
Showing up is necessary to leaning something new. This includes English. Here’s a hard truth: you don’t get better at something if you don’t practice it. To practice something, you have to show up. Show up to class, show up to Meet Ups, or even show up to your desk and write some short sentences.
The fact is: you do something, you get better at it. It’s always this way.
So next time you’re thinking about NOT going to English class, think about showing up instead. Think about all those reasons that help you to move forward, think about how life will be 6 months from now if you keep showing up.
Think about that. And show up.
Are you finding it hard to show up? Do you need someone to motivate you? Then give me a call and organise a trail lesson with me.