How do you show up?

Beginning a practice of reflecting on how I want to show up.

Every single day of my life I participate in at least one event where I’m interacting with a group of people. I’m sure this reflects most of us who work in an office setting. It could be a conference, a run-of-the-mill meeting or a late night dinner with friends. Whatever it is, I’m joining other people to contribute something. Going into 2019, I wanted to make a bigger effort of thinking about how I approach these events. Specifically, how do I show up?

Reflecting on the past year of my life, I can confidently say that I attended events kind of like a jellyfish at times. I’d set up a tremendous amount of events and then I’d float between them as necessary. I’ve honed the skill of determining which events are worth my time and push me towards my goals. That’s a discussion for a different day. However, gleaned from my end of 2018 reflections, I realized I had a massive blindspot — I’ve ignored thinking about how I want to show up to the events.

I fear “Show up” is a bit of a loaded term. It has this weird #hustle vibe attached to it. At least it does from my perspective. Worth noting that I don’t subscribe to any of that. “Show Up” to me means how I prepare and calibrate myself for a particular situation.

I’ve committed to thinking deeply about this problem in 2019. I’m committing to reflect before each event I attend to ensure I’m bringing the best me. I’ve been asking myself a set of questions lately before each event…

  • What one word do I want the attendees of this meeting to describe me as?
  • Am I aware of anything that’s occurring in the life of an event attendee that I should consider as I try to communicate with them?
  • Is there anything going on in my life that I need to disclose so others understand me best?
  • Am I leading this event? If so, what type of leadership is needed based on the attendees?
  • Will this event be emotional? If so, what words do I want to avoid.
  • Will this event be joyful? If so, how open will others expect me to be.

The above list of questions is absolutely not comprehensive. However, working through this set of questions has already been extremely helpful. Specifically, I’ve noticed that I quickly shed most pre-meeting anxiety when I reflect honestly about my role in the event.

Reflecting honestly on 2018, I too often found myself entering an event having not thought about it all before being there and in the moment. I was forcing my emotions, thoughtfulness, and open-mindedness to play catch up as I processed the situation in real time. I was unintentionally putting myself on my heels and increasing the chances of a flop. Talk about getting out of your own way.

I’m excited to see what a few minutes of pre-event reflection will do this year. I’ll share an update soon and if you have a pre-event ritual I’d love to hear about it! ✌