Do you give up, or show up?
There is no more mythical creature in the forest of accomplishment than that of the “overnight success.” To be clear, overnight success doesn’t exist as there are always – and I mean always – months and years of toil leading up to any recognition. I’ve always loathed when the term “overnight success” has been applied to people as it insinuates that any achievements they have realized or victories they have won are the simple result of being lucky.
From a very early age, I was taught the importance of showing up. To me, consistently “showing up” means that despite any roadblocks, challenges, inconveniences, disappointing results, or outright defeats, I keep pushing forward. And, trust me, I’ve had my share of setbacks:
Losing far more RFP’s than I have won
Being “asked to pursue career excellence elsewhere” by HALO Branded Solutions in 2008
Downsized out of a job in 2013 after building a robust promotional division at the 5th largest office products company in the nation
The horrific and death of my brother-in-law in 2014
Applying to speak at industry events only to be rejected
Watching “great” marketing ideas fall flat
Not making it as a finalist for a Pyramid Award for my blogging
My wife’s “heart incident,” as we euphemistically call it in 2016 (she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, and I had to administer CPR for over six minutes)
Regardless of all these stumbling blocks – and, trust me, I could fill five pages with my failures – I have continued to show up. Take blogging, for example. I have published a blog at least once a week since November of 2014, which means that I have shared over 470 individual pieces of written content as of this writing.
To this day, I remember how much not winning that Pyramid Award stung me – more than I really should admit. I could have stopped writing, convinced myself that the world was against me, and given up. Alternatively, I used that private (until now) disappointment to fuel my desire to get better. Instead of writing less, I wrote more. Rather than publishing one blog a week, I pushed out two. In lieu of focusing on business, I began to share more raw, candid thoughts about all aspects of my life - personal and professional.
The results were incredible: The engagement on the social postings of the blogs skyrocketed, I began to receive messages from people thanking me for sharing my thoughts, and instead of asking to speak at events, organizers began to approach me. If I had stopped writing – stopped showing up – none of that would have happened.
Showing up means pushing forward, arriving early and leaving late, pushing away the lure of laziness to pursue growth, and being willing to keep a stiff upper lip in the face of failure.
The simple fact is life will hurl all manner of curveballs at you – that’s just the way it is. The real test is how you react when those disappointments happen: you can either give up or show up. I’m here to tell you that showing up is the far better option of the two.