If you haven’t yet, check out this clip of Prince sharing a stage with several other musicians at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2004.
I get chills watching this. Prince is doing anything but dialing this performance in. Can you predict what I’m going to say? Prince is teaching me here to show up one hundred percent. No matter what everybody else is doing, no matter the occasion, no matter what, have the courage to show up with everything.
Be overdressed rather than underdressed. Be enthusiastic rather than apathetic. Show the courage to revel in the full joy of the moment.
As a writer, I can choose to bring everything I’m thinking and feeling to the page. I can be honest and tell stories that share difficult truths. I can try so hard to do my best work that it’s impossible for me to cop to not having tried when that work is criticized or rejected. It would be a lot easier if I could shrug off failure as the natural consequence of work I didn’t show up to all the way. I could say, “Oh well, I wasn’t even trying that hard.”
If I show up I’m risking failure that hurts and I mean for real.
So what? Don’t ever be too cool to show up.
God knows Prince never was.