Tap Into the Power of Showing Up

by Alli Polin on December 11, 2015

are you showing up

I wanted my return to blogging to be spectacular… and to acknowledge my absence. As a result, I’ve worked on a bunch of posts and most of them are well, lofty, or just crappy.

Over the past two months, I’ve had surgery, complications and flew halfway around the world to recover. More than eight weeks of blogging silence has left me with a lot of time to reflect and many lessons and observations to share. I’ve been so focused on getting my arms around those lessons in a meaningful way, I’ve missed a key component; showing up.

Today, a Friday, is not my regularly scheduled blogging day, but here  I am. Waiting until Tuesday to get things just right would be another excuse and I’m done with those.

There is a strong internal push for most of us to show up as our best. I know that I feel it and will bet that you do too. Nobody wants to be labeled as average, but it happens.

“That restaurant was okay.” … “I probably won’t go back soon.”

“The book had an ending that I predicted.” … “Little boring.”

“The PowerPoint you put together looks good.” … “Just send it to me. I’ll work on it.”

Here’s the thing that both you and I logically know but so often ignore: Not everything you do will be knock it out of the park awesome. The perfectionist in you may disagree, or argue that average is not an option. What if instead of defining less than your big vision as average, it’s a stepping stone to amazing? 

tap into the power of showing up

When I was a kid, we had a creek in our backyard and we called our tiny portion of the trickling stream Polin Creek. The river bank on the opposite side from our home was much too far to cross in one large step, but there were rocks sticking out of the water like an invitation to discovery. Some of the rocks were dry and easy to stand on with two feet and others were slippery and you could only stop there for a second before hopping to the next. Ultimately, all of us made it to the other side and had a whole new forest to explore and it was amazing.

What happens when the fear of average gets in your way of showing up at all? 

Not every stepping stone is a slippery rock. Start from a foundation of showing up before you miss out…

… on connection

… on opportunities

… on meaningful action

… on new ideas that build on the old

Change and growth require you to start somewhere and grow from there. It’s one thing to make a huge leap and another to accept that each leap is a stepping stone that will take you closer and closer to your destination.

I’m still recovering but have bought into my self talk of “I need more time” and “I have so many places to start” for too long. If I want to get stronger, and I do, I plan to do that in relationship with you, my readers.

See you next week. I’ll be showing up. You?


{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Blair Glaser December 11, 2015 at 10:50 am

Welcome back AP! And I’d say, after all that hemming and hawing, you did it with a bang. This is a terrific post that is reminding me about how showing up is more important than doing it perfectly. Thank you for that. And GREAT infographic! I hope you continue to recover and share your great stuff with us.


Alli Polin December 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Big thanks, Blair! It’s easy to lose sight of the power of putting yourself out there in the quest to make every step the right one.

Really glad to be back!

~ Alli


Brenda Pace December 11, 2015 at 11:48 am

Hey Alli! So great to see you back! I’ve missed you!

This is an inspiring post for many. We can’t always be perfect but we can always show up! Get better soon!



Alli Polin December 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Truly! I think in most cases, we are our own worst enemies with the stories we tell ourselves. Show up and take it from there!

Thanks, Bren!


Ryan Biddulph December 11, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Good to see you back Alli! Hope you’re doing well. Kinda did away with the perfection thing 4 or 5 months back. I just have fun, let go pretty much, and leave things at that because attachment to outcomes leads to all types of problems. And blogging for fun leads to really neat opportunities and all types of prospering. Have fun, and ship!



Alli Polin December 11, 2015 at 5:35 pm


That’s exactly where my head is… When it’s fun, that’s when the good stuff happens!

Thanks so much!

~ Alli


Joy Guthrie December 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Welcome back Alli!


Alli Polin December 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Happy to be back, Joy! 🙂


Chrysta Bairre December 11, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Love it! I had a blogging break, too, and getting back into the swing of things was almost like starting over with a brand new blog. My writing skills were rusty and my first few posts back were just okay. But just like starting my blog the first time, my posts improved quickly through the practice of writing, sharing, and commenting.

Welcome back! Glad you’re showing up!



Alli Polin December 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm

I love your blog, Chrysta.

Also, completely understand what you mean by rusty. I discovered that I needed to find my flow once again. Also, starting up absolutely brings renewed energy and a freshness too – all good!

Thanks so much!

~ Alli


Jon Mertz December 11, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Welcome back, Alli! I hope you are doing well, recovering and re-engaging in body, mind, and spirit. Being in present in all three makes life more enlivening! Welcome back to a spirited world. Jon


Alli Polin December 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Thanks, Jon! It actually took all three, mind, body and spirit to catch up with each other until it was time for me to re-enter the world of blogging and my work with others. Physical healing is only one component.

Grateful for your support and connection!

~ Alli


Grenae Thompson December 12, 2015 at 9:18 am

Glad to see you’re blogging again, Alli. A reminder that perfectionism is the enemy is always needed. Especially during this season when we (I) imagine visions of Martha Stewart in all that we do. In reality, have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have a staff to make me look good, it’s all on me. Will my children and grands remember the decorations or that we turned little footprints into reindeers with paint and glitter?

Thanks for showing up to remind us to live our lives and stop waiting for things to be ideal!

Grenae (@DGGT)


Alli Polin December 12, 2015 at 11:29 am

I have been away from my family for two months and have wrapped presents for the holidays in preparation and gone shopping (online) for them. I think that their favorites will be the games that we’re going to play together – Uno, Connect 4… spending time together instead of making everything look like a magazine.

Even when things are wonderful, most people seem to wonder how they could be even better, or notice the little things that went wrong. Enough of that! Time for a more joyful way of living… and showing up.

Grateful for your comment and connection, Grenae!


Louei Ali, MBA, CITP (@LoueiAli) December 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm

You were truly missed Alli; welcome back!


Alli Polin December 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Means a lot, Louei. Thank you!!


Kaarina December 14, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Oh my goodness, I had no idea! After my hiatus of almost a year, I’m just now getting back to my writing and photography, and getting back to those I’ve been so out of touch with. I’m wishing you well as you move forward in all the wonderful things I know are in store for you. Take good care. I’m sending love and support your way. Cheers! Kaarina


Alli Polin December 14, 2015 at 10:10 pm

It’s hard getting back into the swing of things after an absence, isn’t it? You have brought a whole new energy with your return and I hope to do the same.

Thanks, Kaarina!


Cynthia Bazin December 15, 2015 at 8:08 am

I am SO glad you are back Alli! You are so amazing and are coming back stronger than ever! Blessed to know you!


Alli Polin December 21, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Feel the same way about you, Cindy! Your positivity shines across the ocean. Thanks for shining your light here.


Karin Hurt December 15, 2015 at 8:20 am


So delighted you’re back! And BTW, you NAILED this. Fantastic. We need you.


Alli Polin December 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Thanks, Karin! Feels wonderful to re-engage – grateful to be ready to make it happen.


LaRae Quy December 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Whoa…welcome back! You have been SO missed!

And a wonderful blog to start off your new season in life—this was just a great blog on leadership. The biggest part of success is just showing up!


Alli Polin December 21, 2015 at 8:20 pm

It feels that way, LaRae – like a new season in life. Look forward to the journey ahead. Thanks!


Carl December 16, 2015 at 11:23 am

Welcome back my friend,
Enjoy the holidays with a nice warm Christmas



Alli Polin December 21, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Grateful, Carl! Very happy to be back! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you 🙂


John Bennett December 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm

So very glad to have you back posting pieces that truly help each of us to continue to grow as a contributor to ourselves, our family & friends, and to people in general. So pleased that your medical issues are in control.

Think about the following scenario: There is a situation that needs addressing. Wanting to do our best, we plan, understand, maybe test small ideas, reflect, learn some more, plan some more, have doubts, learn some more, … In our desire for perfection, we ignore being our best – and in the process, miss the constraints and criteria. WE HAVE LET OUR FIXATION ON PERFECTION / THE IDEAL KEEP US FROM ENGAGING. The purpose of addressing situations is to get to a useful effort and to know perfection is never achieved.

As you suggest Alli, of course we need a plan. But that plan needs only to be how to get started, enabling us to engage. Our own self-assessment will be so much more valuable as we assess those efforts; and of course, the feedback from others will be so valuable as well. AND there’s another important component of ultimately successful efforts: Failures will occur (IF you are seeking optimum impact) but will be a tremendous impact on those outcomes assuming assessment and reflection on what happened.

For that scenerio, how ludicrous is it to assume anyone can make all the appropriate choices in any plan to lead to useful outcomes? It’s made even more ludicrous when we acknowledge the uncertainty that cannot be planned for, ignored, or controlled once we’ve engaged.

Welcome back!!! Have a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!


Alli Polin December 21, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Another exceptionally insightful comment from you, John. Thank you. Wow. I’ve seen it and I’ve been there on the quest for perfection. I think you’re right, that quest stops us from engaging in our full life and take on a tunnel vision mentality.

It’s such a waste of energy to beat yourself up about failures and bad choices. Learn, reflect, grow! It IS ludicrous to think that we can somehow control everything. What we can do is be prepared to engage, flex and shift.

Truly appreciate your contributions here and connection in 2015. Look forward to much more in the coming year!!




John Bennett December 21, 2015 at 8:33 pm

LRG –> Learn, Reflect, Grow! Sounds like a great plan… Thanks for the kind words!


Tom Rhodes December 16, 2015 at 9:18 pm

So great to have you back Alli. Being there…seems like such a basicouple idea, yet it’s seems we miss it at work and often at home or in relationships. It all definitely starts with being there not just physically but mentally, emotionally and with real communication. I think we can all improve in the “being there” realm. Definitely a goal for 2016.


Alli Polin December 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Thanks, Tom! You make such an important point. We think that just because we’re in the same room, that qualifies as being “present.” Too often there’s emotional distance and brains and thoughts still at the office. Showing up takes all of you. Big yes.

Thanks so much!!



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