In The Trenches

Show up.

Published on January 21, 2019 Back to blog
Extended Family Eating Dinner

This weekend, I found myself in Toronto, Canada. To be completely honest, I really didn’t want go. The thought of laying low at home during the snow and freezing cold, with the only planned activity of watching the Patriots game with my son from the comfort of my living room, seemed like a much better option. But, family obligations called, and off we went. 

Now, on the way home (actually sitting in the airport where the flight has been delayed for several hours), and reflecting upon the weekend, I’m glad we went. It was fun to hang out with (and, in some cases, meet) relatives that I rarely spend time with. The weekend was filled with great moments, conversations, food, drinks and entertainment (with and without the extended family). 

I share this with you not only so I can give a shout out to the Toronto cousins (who told me that they actually enjoy my blog posts), but more importantly to emphasize the importance of just showing up – even when you may not want to. Here’s why:

  1. Relationships don’t get built while sitting on your couch watching TV. Relationships are the fuel to life. Every time you go out is an opportunity to fill the tank.
  2. Fun is contagious. While it helps to show up with a smile and positive attitude, there is no denying that the attitudes/emotions of those around us can be contagious (for better or worse). Showing up at places where people are in good spirits will surely help put you in one.
  3. Getting out of your comfort zone builds character (and skills). While it may not seem it, I am generally an introvert around people I don’t know well, and it can often take effort to engage. But the more I do it, the more comfortable it becomes. 
  4. It’s not all about you. Let’s just say that, if I didn’t go, my wife (and kids) would have been a bit disappointed. Sometimes, you need to show up not because you want to – but because those who depend on you want (or need) you to.
  5. If you don’t go, you will surely miss what happened. Some call this FOMO (fear of missing out) – and, after being in Toronto this past weekend, I am certain that the pictures will never live up to the actual experience. Don’t be the one who wasn’t there.

I’ve heard of people (many of whom are very successful business professionals) who commit to accept every invite they receive, and force themselves to attend, as they recognize the importance of showing up. I’m not quite prepared for that level of commitment. However, as we begin this new year, I encourage us all to do our best to show up when we can. We’ll all be better off for it. (And, perhaps a topic for another blog – if you’re not going to show up, don’t say you’ll be there – or even worse, that you “might” be there. Just be direct about it.).

Finally, just in case you were wondering, we made it back to our hotel room in time for the 4th quarter of the Patriots game where my son and I clenched our hands together until the final touchdown. Amazing! Admittedly, I was a bit distracted during the family dinner from 6-9PM, as I balanced the game updates on my iPhone with dinner conversation, but I think most everyone understood (even though it wasn’t a hockey game).

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners