Friday, June 25, 2010

The Magic of Showing Up

A Woody Allen quotation says,
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Like many, I generally chuckle when I see this quote. Maybe it's because the bar seems to low. Nevertheless, it's a quote that you see applied to many contexts including success, motivation, dedication, friendship, even love. Woody Allen in an MTV interview in 2008 seemed almost embarrassed about the quote when he said, "That thing has been quoted 20 million times. It's one of the least-witty things I've ever said."

A recent experience caused me to consider the magic of showing up. My team was approaching a deadline and I frankly had little to add to the project. Nevertheless, I showed up, to support, to eliminate distractions, to encourage focus. It was all that I could do. Did it have an impact? You can't really tell. Any impact was immeasurable. But the team was successful.

But I was curious so I sought out experts who had written on showing up and found several.

For example, leadership consultant and coach Tim Porterhouse concisely summarized the magic of showing up when he wrote in Leadership is Showing Up:
By Showing Up you send a message that says:
  • This is vital to me and the company
  • I care about your work - and I want to be part of it
  • I won't ask you to do something that I would not do myself
  • I want to lend a hand - no matter how small my contribution.
Even management guru Tom Peters added a twist to the notion when he wrote about the impact of showing up. He cited a modification that he sourced from the PersistenceUnlimited blog.
So increase you chances by 80%. Show Up!

The twist in the Allen quotation makes a compelling case for the magic of showing up.

Thanks for reading. Please show up and lead quietly.

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