You can’t just be physically present, but mentally and emotionally too.

By Shanta Crichlow

Athletes know what it means to Show Up. Be it on the track, the court or field, to Show Up means that you come ready to work. Every practice is a chance to step up, improve, learn and maximize the value in themselves and the program they represent. Every game is a chance to prove their hard work, show off what they’ve been working to accomplish and, yes, improve some more.


I am very familiar with this concept. I had the privilege of running track for the Georgia Institute of Technology on a full scholarship. I had a love-hate relationship with track and field. I loved to see improvements, I loved to win, but I hated putting in the work. It was hard; it was exhausting, and it hurt most all the time. But it was necessary.


It was not enough to be physically present at practice, because I was obligated. (The obligation helped because it closed off my innate urge to run away and never look back). I had to be present in mind and emotion as well. For years, I let the conflict between my obligations, desire to be excellent in my sport, and disdain for the pain run rampant in my mind. It was a warzone until I came to accept the reality of my circumstances. I’d made the choice to be there. I wanted to be part of that team, I wanted my scholarship and I wanted to be excellent. For all of those reasons, being physically present was necessary. And, for all those reasons, being mentally and emotionally present was necessary too. I just needed to get there.


To Show Up in life beyond athletics is to make the choice to be present and get the most out of every experience. No matter how small or insignificant the opportunity may appear in the moment, it all works together for our good.  It’s not about the specific outcome but the output. You could be extremely talented in your job or business or you may have much room to improve, it’s about HOW you approach the job and the task at hand.


The spiritual journey to live life with God requires the same level of intentionality. We may say that we want to peruse God or a relationship with Jesus Christ without realizing that effort required. It’s more than merely showing up to church or joining a Bible study. We have to Show Up. Be present in prayer, actively listening to what God is teaching you from your church attendance and other experiences and choose to put the things you’ve learned into practice when the time comes. We don’t want to be like those Jesus referred to in Matthew 15:8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” We have to be all in in our faith practice ­(yes it’s practice, yes it’s work ) same as we are in life beyond athletics. Show Up!

    1. If you played, what did it mean for you to Show Up in your sport.

    2. What does it mean for you to Show Up in a responsibility that you have right now?

    3. What strategies did you use to Show Up when it gets really hard and you honestly can’t stand what you’re doing?
Leave your comments below and continue this journey with me. We’ll harness insight from the sports we know, love, and play and implement them in life beyond athletics. We’re all still going pro even if it’s not in our sport.



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