Showing Up

In an episode of “West Wing” the writers had the President say “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Woody Allen has been reported as saying that “Eighty Percent of Success Is Showing Up.” Others have said it is closer to ninety percent. Anyway you look at it showing up is important.

It is important during an election, for meetings at work, for just about anything were decisions are made or there are people to be influenced. People who sit on the sidelines and leave the decision making to others are at the mercy of those who do show up.

It is always important with ones job. Companies value people who can be depended on to show up. And not just on regular hours. When something extra ordinary happens and they need people to show up for it that is particularly valuable. Showing up for optional events is respected. Going the extra mile to “be there” is a powerful action.

I was at a lunch with a number of people after a conference one time. I was talking casually with the people there (most of whom were involved in planning and running the conference) and the issue of other companies in my industry came up. One of the other people said (roughly) “But you are here and they are not. We notice things like that.” Now I had done a little more than just show up – I was on a panel and had set up a booth with information – but the thing that made the biggest impression was that I was there and talking to people. That struck me at the time (and more so as time when on) as important.

I was at an event that Microsoft helped sponsor in Denver last month. Everyone was happy for the money but the really impressive thing to people was that we showed up in person and helped out. I went to a school play last week at the school where Mrs. T teaches. The kids and their parents were most pleased and impressed with the teachers who took the time to show up. It made a difference!

Many organizations I have been involved with have said that they value donations of money and material. Christian organizations always say they value prayer (and they do.) But they all make a point to say that they value people’s time – that they show up. I’m on a number of advisory boards and time and again I hear from them how glad they are that I show up for meetings.

While it might be cool to have influential names on a roster of an advisory board the real value is provided when people show up to help make decisions and recommendations.

So when thinking about showing up or not for something think hard. Think very hard. You just may want to show up after all.

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