#1 on my, 99 Life Tips – A List is: Show up. This is 90% of a job, a relationship, parenting, you name it. Be present.
Allow me a few paragraphs to explore more of what this means. First, to show up is more than being physically present. There is little value in showing up with your body when your mind is somewhere else. Show up both physically and psychically whenever possible. When physically separated from loved ones by circumstance or distance, show up psychically. At all times, show up with your mind fully engaged.
Second, this tip includes the idea of perseverance, which was not mentioned in my 99 tips, but is implied by the full meaning of ”show up”. If I rewrote the tip, I would borrow from the Greek present participle idea of continuous and repeated action and say: Show up and keep showing up. Your consistent presence – in people’s lives, in your community, on your job, in your online space is the only way to create genuine connection. Otherwise, the group as a whole won’t grow or thrive, and the neither will the individual parts become all they could become.
Lastly, these combined ideas are shown in the middle of a bible verse, Ephesians 4:16:
”…joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love…”Ephesians 4:16, Amplified Bible
Every labor relations board and HR department in the country should study this verse for the insights. Without diving too deeply into full blown exegesis, notice the beauty of what is stated in this passage. A body becomes more than the sum of its parts when each part is showing up, fully engaged, working properly, joined in the proper connections. This is the full, final result of what can happen when we show up.
I cannot help but think of a band, which means I cannot help but think of the Grateful Dead. Each member does his part, listening to the others, blending with the others, conversing musically with the others, and the whole becomes alive. But each member has to show up for that to happen, and this means more than being physically present.
For a final metaphor, the old saw, ”Make like a tree…and leave.” is not only tired, it does a huge disservice to trees. Trees don’t leave. They stay. If nothing else, they show up. And by showing up, they begin to interact, interconnect, and in sufficient proximity to other trees, they become more than the individual sapling that started showing up to begin with. They form joints and bonds, begin to share, and in time…there is a forest.
So, you too, show up!…and keep showing up. Do you part. Play your role, whatever it is, in whatever area, like a rock star! Or maybe this is more your speed: Make like a tree…and stay!