In a commencement speech given at the University of Texas, Admiral William McRaven said, “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
The first step in showing up is getting up! Admiral McRaven’s comments speak to the importance of accomplishments, starting with the first one of the day. You’ve gotten up and made your bed. Now go conquer the world. Or at least get some coffee.
In the spirit of New Year’s lists, I have identified, in no particular order, some opportunities to show up in 2019.
Review your commitments.
Take a good look at your calendar. How many things are you involved in? Too many? Not enough? Are you spending your time and money on the right things? Are you showing up when and where it matters, or are you being busy for the sake of being busy? Are your commitments worth your time and effort? Take some time to answer these questions and make adjustments as needed.
Make real connections.
Sure, you faithfully show up at Business After Hours networking events, but do you make actual connections? Sharing a glass of wine or seltzer with the same people once a month is hanging out, not networking. At BAHs, introduce yourself to strangers. Ask them about their businesses- people love to talk about themselves and their passions.
Even better, find ways to connect beyond the BAHs. Does the organization or chamber have committees or boards you can join? These provide much better opportunities to move beyond the superficial connections of brief encounters. Want to meet someone in particular? Find out what they belong to and join that group, if possible. Working with people is the best way for them to get to know you, see you in action and learn about what you do.
Visit old friends. Or old clients.
There was an iconic United Airlines commercial where the CEO told his team he was flying to visit a 20-year client who had fired them. He’d taken the client for granted and lost touch. That commercial was made in 1990. In today’s world of emails, texts, voicemails and other e-ways of communicating, we can easily lose those personal connections that made our client relationship valuable. Is it time to go visit some old clients?
Get mentors. Be a mentor.
Find people who can help you become a better you. People who will advise, support and challenge you. There’s always something to learn, and always something to learn about yourself. Give back. Share your wisdom and experience with others. You’ll learn from them, too.
Be a good listener.
Showing up means being fully present. Ask questions and listen carefully to the replies. Listen with the intent to understand, not reply. Being a good listener is a secret superpower.
Take the next step.
Take a look at your prospect list. What do you need to do to turn prospective clients into actual clients? Do you know why they might need your product or service? Make an appointment to find out more about their business needs to determine whether you can offer solutions. Take relationships to the next step.
Get on the mat.
That’s what you’ll hear from yoga practitioners when people come up with excuses for why they haven’t practiced. Too tired. It’s been too long. I don’t know where to start. You start by getting on the mat and doing at least one thing. Odds are you’ll do more. It’s getting started that’s the hardest part. Remember, you got out of that nice, warm bed and made it!
Spend time with people who make you happy.
We meet a lot of people in our work lives, and some of those people become friends. I treasure the wonderful friendships I have made over the years. Make time to meet for a cup of tea or a drink after work. You’ll be happier, less stressed and in a better frame of mind for the experience. Just writing this reminds me that I’m way overdue to visit my very first supervisor, mentor and friend. It’s now on my calendar for Friday.