Is “showing up” enough?
If you’ve ever heard of the old saying, “Just showing up is half the battle” or “80 percent of success is just showing up”, you’re not alone. These messages have been replayed and recycled throughout my entire life. I think they’re good messages and encourages one to consistently work at a certain thing. But as an adult, I believe just showing up isn’t enough. There’s more to just going through the motion and expect results. If that was the case, there’d be a lot more successful people running around. What I’m talking about is showing up AND having a purpose for it.
Why a purpose?
Purpose is a game changer. Purpose defines the “why” in which allows us to make sense of what and why we are doing what we are doing. Purpose gives us meaning and calibrates the end goal for us. When you are doing something, do you have a purpose that aligns with that action? Basically your north star that gives you guidance.
What is purpose suppose to look like? If you’re a kid just showing up to class every day, will you learn anything worthwhile if you just “showed up”? A lot of us would agree that the education we received in school was just for memorization. There’s not much room for practicality. What if every time we went to class, we knew our purpose; in this case, learning. Now we can get more specific into what types of learning, but in this scenario, our purpose is to learn every time we come to class. Why is this so important? Isn’t this supposed to be expected every time we come to class? I don’t believe so because we expect the teacher to give us information but rarely do we take it upon ourselves to learn.
When your purpose is to learn, you start to become proactive instead of reactive. You’ll start to take actions that leads to more learning and thus the compounding cycle starts to begin. Now compare that with just coming to class and listening versus asking questions or doing a little extra research to satisfy your purpose. There might not be a huge noticeable difference at first but the act itself is in incomparable.
We can take other examples like going out to socials or professional events. If you kept showing up to these events, people will recognize you but you won’t build a stronger relationship than if you showed up AND have the purpose of connecting with these people. What used to be “it’s who you know” now becomes “it’s who you know and what they know you can do”. You begin to build a reputation and then it becomes your brand. Hopefully it’s a brand of trustworthiness and skillfulness.
Take it to the next level?
I do understand that being in a constant mode of purpose-driven mentality is tough, but the main key isn’t be at 110% at all times. What want to do is to turn our purpose into a habit, in which we no longer need to think about it, we can just put it on “autopilot”.
When establishing a habit, there’s a great deal of effort, both mental and physical energy. You have to be conscious of every step. But as it turns into a habit, it’s now the norm for you. If you continue to practice purpose-driven actions, it now becomes the standard for you.
The next step is to continue to push the threshold and make that the new standard. The pattern becomes do a little more, adapt and let that become the new standard, and repeat it. The trick is to not do so much that it drains you. Just a slight increase or decrease in whatever direction you want to take (again, hopefully positive).
The bottom line
While I’ll always push for doing more than just showing up, it is much better to just show up than to not be there at all. When you’re not even there, there’s isn’t an attempt at progress. Even if you’re dead tired, the probability of you learning something or doing something is significantly higher than not showing up.
If we think about it, we are all playing the long-term game with just showing up, with or without purpose. I’d figure if you are playing long term, why not get more out of it? Why not see improvements quicker and change your mindset on the ways you do things? The more you learn, the more you realized that you don’t know a lot about things.
So find a goal to start and let it gradually evolve to a purpose. Do more than just show up, be more involved and attend. You got nothing to lose with this em
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Originally published at https://scottnguyen.substack.com on August 27, 2021.