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  • Writer's pictureJason Townsell

Half the battle is just showing up

Over the last few months I have heightened my focus on being more environmentally conscious and less wasteful. In keeping with this I recently told my wife I would no longer use plastic coffee stirrers but was genuinely perplexed about how I would now stir my coffee. She laughed and said “that sounds like a first world problem, I am sure you will figure it out”. Embarrassed at how petty I knew that sounded I uncomfortably laughed and agreed with her. As I think about it now the vast majority of my “problems” could be termed “first world problems” (in other words they are not really problems at all).

It was on a trip to Nigeria in 2017 when I was first burdened by the non-first world problem of not having access to clean water. This problem wasn’t new to Nigeria nor was it the first time I became aware of it, but it was the first time I felt the overwhelming need to do something about it.

When I boarded the flight to come home to the US I was full of determination to do something. A few minutes after being filled with determination I became inundated with the knowledge that I had no clue what to do or where to start. I also became cognizant of all the reasons I was not qualified to address this very real and daunting challenge. I distinctly remember the voice inside my head saying things like “your not a geologist, your not a humanitarian, your not a philanthropist, you have no idea what to do or where to start and you have no resources, how are you going to do anything?”

All of these things were true at the time; however, I was determined to do something. So I did what I know how to do I talked a lot. I talked about my new burden and the problem I wanted to be a part of solving to anyone and everyone I could and amazingly those that did know what to do began to show up and offer insight. Despite my absolute lack of qualifications (in fact I was uniquely unqualified) and know how I showed up for the task.

Ive rarely been the smartest or most talented person in the room or on the the field (in fact far from it) but I have always been the guy that puts in the work (the one that goes to every practice, puts in extra study time and rarely misses school or work). I am what some would refer to as a grinder. I subscribe to the “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” ideology. I have learned that many times just showing up and being ready and willing to to take on the task (no matter what it is) is more than what most are willing to do and that willingness and readiness goes a long way in regard to qualification.

So like I did 3 years ago I will continue to show up, embrace the grind, and see what happens.

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