Just Show Up


Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.

I spent 15 years working at nonprofit organizations. I have worked at large organizations (50+ on staff) and small ones (5 on staff). I have volunteered at countless others and I continue to do so today. I have seen nonprofits function in all types of environments with all types of goals.

And I have seen one common trait unite them all: a constant need for volunteers.

In fact, I have never worked at a charitable organization that wasn’t desperately in need of volunteers. There is so much good that needs to be accomplished in our world, but the resources (financial and human) are almost always lacking. At one company, we used to have a saying that went like this, “If you’re available, we have a need. No experience required.”

Sometimes, the only requirement is availability. And sometimes, the most important step is to just show up.

Six years ago, I began writing about minimalism on a blog called Becoming Minimalist. It was free through WordPress and took only minutes to set-up (I have since upgraded to Bluehost).

At the time, I had no experience in minimalism, I had no experience blogging, and only a little experience writing. I only knew I wanted to own less and write about the journey.

What I lacked in experience and reputation and talent, I made up for by simply deciding to show up and get started—which reminds me of my experience at nonprofits: If you are available, we have a need.

I know there is a good you want to accomplish in this world (those who live for only personal gain have long since given up on this blog). There is a positive influence you desire to create, grow, or harness. That being the case, never underestimate the importance of just showing up.

  • Are you trying to declutter your home? Remove one large bag of stuff.
  • Are you working to build an organization that will accomplish good? Take the next step.
  • Are you hoping to have a positive impact in your community? Start by being present in it.
  • Do you dream of making a difference through your church, charity, or club? Offer to volunteer.
  • Do you desire to align your career with your passion? Start slowly.
  • Do you want to change the world? Become the change you desire to see.

Just become available. The experience will come. The talent will grow. And the opportunities will increase.

But first, you need to show up.

Editor’s Note: I am a Bluehost affiliate which means the company offers me a commission every time someone signs up via one of my links. This does not influence my recommendation. I have used Bluehost from the very beginning for this blog and continue to do so today.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    “Become the change you desire to see”… that kinda sums it all doesn’t it? My family and I cultivate the Tao. It is a long and often misunderstood road and many do not understand how we could possibly give up so much, how we can give so much of our time, how we can chose to be happy with less. But we do, and we do and we can… and by showing people it’s possible, we make the biggest impact because it gets them thinking!

    Wonderful post!

    • says

      I totally agree with Yanic that it all starts with us. And nothing is more powerful than having your own story showing to others than you have been there and done that, and that if you can do it, so can they.

  2. says

    I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately. “What does it take?” One foot in front of the other….. Great insight!

  3. Judy says

    Thank you, Joshua. Great post. Just to share one little thing I do…as I walk my dog, I pick up one piece of litter a day. Doesn’t seem like much, but I often think that it’s 365 pieces of trash in a year that doesn’t litter my community and makes its way to the recycling bin. Also, I feel the wildlife deserve better. They don’t need to live with our laziness and lack of respect. I always wonder…”Who pitched this?!” Seems so disrespectful. Especially in rivers/lakes for some reason. My pet peeve.

  4. says

    When I first started my photography business four years ago my mentor told me. “Reach out to other businesses and organizations. Ask what you can do for them .” So I reached out to our local animal shelter. They were in need of quality photos of their homeless pets. It is a well know fact that a good portrait gets an animal noticed. So many have been saved . Some who sat in kennals for over a year were suddenly wanted. My love for animals and photography came together for a beautiful purpose. Flash forward to today and by business has grown. And at its cornerstone in the volunteer work I do for the shelter. And continue to do. Anything worth doing takes time . And as you said so beautifully. Just showing up is the first step. I love your posts . They inspire me every single day!

  5. says

    The reason I love your posts are because they are about such simple, but profound ideas. This reminds me of a surfing lesson I booked after much apprehension. I felt like cancelling the lesson due to fear but Thenix prodded me to just show up. You can always leave if you don’t like it, but you have to try at least once.

  6. says

    I’m reminded of Woody Allen who said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” So true. You and other minimalists have inspired our household. Recently we sent off about twenty garbage bags full of “stuff” to the Sally Ann and gave away or sold numerous large items of furniture. After giving it away, I am hard pressed to even remember what it is we gave away! Anyhow, thanks so much for your site and this post. Indeed, it all started with our commitment to just show up (with a bunch of garbage bags) and go for it!

    Peter in Vancouver, BC

  7. Gail says

    Just show up. I volunteer at a small humane society. If we had 4 people willing to give 2 hours/calendar quarter to do vet transport or dog walking or picking up supplies, what a load that would take off our few regular volunteers. Of course, we hope for volunteers willing to do more hours and more emotionally involved work, but just helping with these few listed tasks will be such a blessing.
    Everybody can drive a car or walk a friendly dog, no special skills involved. I am sure other charities have similar, basic tasks they need help with.

  8. says

    Brilliant post. I think this is one of main reasons people don’t go into blogging. People feel they have to be someone special to start a blog. In fact this is true about any business. They have to realize that the perfect moment that they are waiting for is never going to come. You just have to dive into it. The Ready, Fire, Aim approach is the one that has personally worked for me.

  9. says

    This is very profound post. This brings back my old memories where I did my first volunteer work at Habitat for Humanity back home. Honestly,it was a hard work for a teenager like me back then.And we’re only compensated by having free potluck meals shared by everyone and fun doing it especially for homeless family. It feels great when you do something good and don’t expect anything in return.

  10. says

    This principle applies to relationships too. “Just show up” and keep showing up I might add. Be there, with the people you care about. No fancy clothes, food or knowledge required. Show up and pay attention to those you are with. Thanks Joshua.

  11. loretta morandin says

    We started giving ourselves and our kids “I showed up” medals after feeling left out of pretty much every award ceremony at school ever. Just turning up for school every day is an achievement for our anxiety ridden family. Or showing up at formal family functions, etc. I support what you’ve written in this blog.

  12. Kristen says

    How true! I was an active volunteer at a local non profit and was hired in January to pull off one of their major events–it’s this weekend and we have 170+ vendors and are expecting 7,000 people to attend. I’m a lifelong volunteer and now I’m being paid to do it!

  13. Anne says

    So true…For a couple of years I was a volunteer at the school here in the little town where I live. Before I knew it I was asked to apply for a job. After a decade of being a stay-at-home mom, with nothing to put on a resume anymore- I stumbled on work so wonderful and worthwhile!

  14. says

    How can I possibly be a minimalist if I “show up?” If I show up, there will just be one more thing cluttering up the place.


  15. says

    Very encouraging article. Often time I find myself needed to “simplify” in my work, and what I miss is that I need to simplify all around. You definitely have a new reader!

  16. says


    I posted a blog piece this morning all about showing up. It is about a personal experience, but it is certainly in line with what you write about here. We have given ourselves too many resources to explain away our absence and not enough to assure our presence. Well done and thank you for showing up. Here is my piece: http://wp.me/p4FLcS-dJ

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