This is something my dad said to me often growing up. I never really understood what he meant until I started running my own consulting business three years ago. As I entered the vast and whizzing world of entrepreneurship and consultancy, I was shocked by the number of people who just didn’t show up – for deadlines, meetings, emails, action items…you get the gist. As I began building my business, it became clear to me that one of the real distinctions between others and me is that I am a big believer in the importance of showing up.
It’s not just about being physically present somewhere, it’s about doing what you say you’re going to do and following through. Your ability to show up reflects other qualities such as motivation, reliability, and accountability. Moreover, it shows that you take action. Action makes all the difference. It’s easy to talk a good game, but can you actually deliver? That’s the true test.
There have been countless nights when I’ve entertained excuses to skip a networking event because I was too tired, or bail on a coffee date because I didn’t have the time. There have been deadlines I was sure no one would notice if I missed, or ideas that weren’t my responsibility to capture and share. And yes, I’m not perfect, everyone once in a while I succumb and lay on the couch drinking wine and watching Netflix. But more often then not, I’ve followed the principle of “just show up”. Stay for one drink, talk with one person, write up and send out those notes (even if no one asked for them). Why? For one, nothing can happen unless you take action – period. Secondly, part of success if serendipity – you can’t predict who will refer you to your next gig or throw your name in for your next job. Thirdly, it’s impossible to stand out if you’re just following the status quo along with everyone else – if you want to be noticed you have to do something different.
It’s easy to tell yourself into believing that no one will notice or care. That rational is partially true, so if you want a different result you’ve got to SHOW UP.