One book I love to read every year is Bill Gates Sr.'s "Showing Up for Life." The book is part-memoir, part-lessons learned, but in short, the message is that Mr. Gates Sr. attributes much of his success simply to "showing up."
In his book, Gates Sr. talks a lot about raising Bill (Trey) and his siblings; life with Mary (his first wife) and Mimi; his childhood and his career. Over and over, his stories reaffirm that throughout life, people will ask you to show up. To speak to a group of people. To come to an event. To be there for family dinner. To plan the family summer vacation.
To be present.
It sounds like such a simple thing to do, right? But as life goes on, people to the left and right of you are looking for excuses to not "show up." "I'm not good enough. Fit enough. Smart enough. Confident enough. Funny enough." We've made it so commonplace nowadays to hide behind the biggest excuse: "I'm too busy" or "I don't have time for that." More and more, the people who can actually 'show up' and see things through are few and far between, making them that much more special.
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I take the concept of "showing up" everywhere and in everything I do. As someone who's produced events in a past life, nothing sucks more than when people don't show up in the very literal sense of the word. For that reason alone, I try to be honest when I say I can come or not come to an event. If I say I can make it, then I try my damnedest to be there.
When people ask me how I got into blogging or social media, and how I've built a following. Usually the best answer I can give them is "I just kept doing it." I just keep blogging. Keep writing. Keep tweeting. Keep updating the Facebooks. Keep myself open to meeting new people who I might learn from and vice versa. As people are now starting to notice a difference in the way I look, they ask me how I can keep on a meal plan or keep getting up for 6:00a.m. workouts (I am NOT a morning person, by the way.) I just tell 'em that I keep doing it. I'm not perfect, and fall off the 'eating healthy' or 'working out everyday' trains all. the damn. time. BUT - I get right back on and keep going.
I don't talk a whole lot about my relationship, but Jacob and I have been dating for many years now. People ask us how two young people can keep it together, especially with two totally ambitious minds and careers. How do we ever have time for each other? We get on each other's nerves and piss each other off all the time, but we still show up for each other and work on this every single day. And we show up for Spike, of course :)
One area that I feel I have a lot of work to do is in friendships. It's hard trying to be at and do everything your friends are a part of. I do a lot of things and write a lot of posts that I'm hoping my close friends read and show up for, but it's insane to expect them to be there all the time. I've found that the best, most fruitful friendships are those where you may not see or speak to each other in awhile, but there's a mutual understanding that you're both on your hustle. When you do see each other next, you maintain that level of closeness and realness with each other. None of that awkwardness or "I thought you were mad at me." When times get tough, they tell you when they need you, and you do your best to be there.
It might not be a grandiose or groundbreaking message for some, but to me, it's become an essential way to approach life, love and business. One big piece of showing up is to show up again and again over time.
Persistence. That's the fundamental difference between a flash in the pan and someone like Bill Gates Sr.
Which do you want to be? How are you showing up for life?