I remember someone once saying that 90% of getting anything accomplished is in just showing up. Whoever you are, I’d like to thank you for that critical piece of information. Because people who’ve done great things rarely start out expecting to be so fabulously successful. What got them to great things was doing their 90% and just going from there.
I share with you three treasured stories which fit my unabashedly liberal soul. They are useful to remind myself why I will do my 90%:
Rosa Parks, years after her decision to take a seat on the bus lit up the South and began the movement to end the injustice suffered by souls too numerous to count, said once in an interview that she wasn’t looking to start anything, she was just tired and wanted to sit down.
Joan Baez began performing on campus steps because she wanted attention, with no expectation her voice would carry her so far. Or that the ballads she chose because they suited her voice would set her up for the freedom songs that would become her trademark.
Pete Seeger retreated to schools and sang songs for children when the Weavers were black balled and couldn’t find a venue that would book them. That would be the Pete Seeger who wrote “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, taught us This Land Is Your Land,” “Kumbaya,” “We Shall Overcome,” and in his retirement years organized the effort to save the Hudson when it had become more of a cesspool than a river.
I’d be pleased if you’d like to borrow them. What would please me more would be you finding your own treasures to spark you when showing up feels like it couldn’t possibly be enough.