In motivational circles, there’s always a lot of talk about “showing up” (and it’s dreaded opposite: hiding out or playing small). The idea is that all you need to do is show up and your success is virtually guaranteed. In fact, many argue that it is our duty to show up and embrace our greatness.
There’s much to be said about the truth in showing up, but for the purpose of this post, let’s assume we all are in agreement that showing up is necessary and instead of debating the merits of whether or not we need to show up, let’s focus instead on HOW we are showing up.
You see, we fool ourselves into thinking we are showing up when we step into that discomfort zone. We can point to our action and say, “See…this is me showing up like I said I would.” We walk into that room and quietly skulk over to the corner or shake a few hands before settling into the comfort of familiar faces.
That is what halfway looks like. Doing what you know you need to do, but only enough that your mother can’t nag you for not doing it. But we know the truth. We know that we didn’t actually show up. Worse, we went to all the trouble of appearing to show up when really we would have been better to just stay at home in our pyjamas.
Halfway is NO WAY to show up.
Yes, I am going to tell you to go big or go home. Success isn’t for wimps. If you are going to go to the trouble of getting yourself into that room (whatever THAT room is for you), walk in with a flourish and fricking own it. Talk to the VIP guest, the one you know could make a huge difference to your success. Make an impression. Do what you know you need to do.
A little personal story…
The very first networking event I ever attended as a brand new, shiny entrepreneur was for a local tech incubator. As a marketing copywriter focusing on tech companies, this was my prime target market. The room would be full of tech companies who likely desperately needed me and as luck would have it, new guests were given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the room.
The only problem was I was deathly afraid of public speaking (don’t worry, I’m over that now, but back then, the thought of having all eyes on me was my version of hell). The call came out for guests to introduce themselves and I had minutes to decide if I could do it. If I could stand up and speak to this room full of strangers (mostly men) and talk about myself.
Then I realized that if I didn’t do it, I would have wasted all that effort to get there (and trust me, it was an effort because I hate anything that starts before 9 am and this was a bright and early 7 o’clock meeting). So, I watched as the new guests stood to say their piece and when it came my turn, I held my breath and stood up.
And you know what? It turns out I was the most popular girl in the room. Not because I was one of the ONLY girls in the room, but because I was the only person in the room who could help these tech companies. Everyone else was in the same industry. They were all suffering from the same challenge: communicating to their target audiences in plain English.
The rest, as they say, is history. Because of that one effort, I didn’t have to seek out prospects at the event. I had people coming to me, demanding my business card and telling me how much they needed my help. From that one action, I went from being a brand new, shiny marketing copywriter to a viable business (which by the way, is still in operation today…hint, hint, tech companies).
Halfway would have been going to the event, smiling as people introduced themselves, and handing out business cards to the few people I was able to connect with directly. Halfway would have allowed me to go back to my home office and deceive myself that I had done a good job. Halfway would have made what followed a lot harder because I would have missed out on those key contacts who had sought me out.
Deciding what counts as really and truly showing up is up to you. You don’t need me to tell you how to show up because you know when you are doing less than you should. If you take nothing else away, take this: you never know when showing up fully is going to make that huge difference so always show up. You owe it to yourself.