It Was My Party and I Cried
I remember throwing a slumber party for my 11th birthday. I invited at least 8 girls, but only 1 friend showed up. Her name was Tanisha. I was happy that she came for my party and I was happy to have a friend stay over. However, I was beside myself and heartbroken that no one else came to my party (i.e. event).
- I was tearful.
- I cried and cried and cried.
- I didn’t understand why no one else came to my party.
- I was struck by thoughts like-
- “no one likes me;”
- “my friends aren’t my real friends;” or
- “I should have done something different..not a slumber party.”
- Perhaps I wasn’t popular enough.
- Maybe someone else had an event the same night and I didn’t know about it.
Ultimately there was nothing to be done. The only thing I could do was resolve to have fun with the friend who was there. The one who showed up. After that, Tanisha and I continued to be the closest of friends…until we went to high school and her family moved away. A few years later we lost track of one another. I have never forgotten her though, and I never forgot the lessons I learned on my 11th birthday.
It’s Important to Show Up
I still think about how important showing up is whenever someone close to me is having an event like a wedding or a big birthday celebration or even when someone loses a close loved one and a ceremony is being held.
I learned how important showing up is and what it can mean to someone when you don’t show up for them.
I also learned that I could have a great time with one person there.
We got to do more stuff. My mom took us to the mall and we did a little shopping. Something we would not have done had there been 9 or 10 of us. We went to a movie and out to dinner instead of ordering pizza and watching videos (VHS tapes).
I think everyone has their own set of memories about people showing up or not. We all have our own incidents around not attending an event; or not calling to say we would be late or wouldn’t be there at all. In business some incidents of not “showing up” can be about whether or not someone is properly inducted into the service itself. What I’ve learned is that most “not showing up” is about what is going on with that person and not about you.
Professional Conversations about “Showing Up”
Most service providers learn to contend with the most essential challenge of getting started in – and remaining in – business: “having clients/customers.”
I often find myself in professional conversations that center around “showing up.” These conversations are about but not limited to the following:
- Keeping appointments with others.
- Others keeping appointments with you.
- Scheduling much needed appointments for oneself.
- The prioritization of appointments for others.
- Enlisting/enrolling people in services like live workshops or webinars.
- Addressing how attendance or non-attendance will be managed in therapy, supervision, consultation, training, coaching and so on.
Showing Up is a Commitment
When it comes to business and holding live events; or holding seats for someone in a group; or setting aside one’s time and availability to hold a webinar or whatever service it is…it is critical to take into account the level of commitment that is required:
- for the average person to enroll/register
- to sign up and pay,and
- to then follow through by showing up for a service or event.
For most of us….conditions have to start out and remain optimal. Clients and customers have to notice our business, or get referred to us, or seek out and find your business based on our current advertising or marketing. Then clients have to follow up. Then wait for you or your representative to follow up. Then they decide. All of this before happens before the service ever transpires. And in the midst of all of this:
- Everyone has competing priorities and interests.
- Everyone has unexpected events that pop up or illnesses to be managed.
- Everyone has, on any given day, a mindset that allows them to either show up and be present or not really present.
Sometimes people cancel their whole day and stay in bed. Depending on what is going on in someone’s life whether they are battling depression and anxiety; or a loved one is diagnosed with a major illness; or their car breaks down on the side of the road….there are so many factors people that determine whether the person makes it or they don’t.
You may not think about “showing up” as a commitment. But it truly is.
For some people reading this, the issue of “showing up” is not an issue at all. They decide, act, and follow through…perhaps based on a personal code or discipline. However for many others, showing up is merely an idea…it is something they may or may not do on a given day at a given time.
It is Always an Honor When People Show Up
If you are planning to offer events or services, it is best to be prepared for the inevitability that sometimes enrollment in services will be slow or low. Other times it will be steady and high. When we offer new services in order to reach initial enrollment there is a maximum energetic output that must occur.
In other words, most people don’t offer an event or service and have immediate capacity enrollment unless that person or business has already developed a built-in proven audience and customer for that service.
In my work as a facilitator for live events for the past 12 or 13 years, I have held events even if there is low enrollment. The one time early on that I did cancel an event, I found out that someone showed up who did not receive the notice. They had traveled and made arrangements for their day in order to be there.
Because of that and my 11th birthday lessons, I honor those people who show up even if there are 2 people. They are just as important to me as the participants in a sold out event. In some cases they are more critical to my business. These are the people who will get even more one on one attention. They will hopefully gain value and they will tell other people about what I provide and also come back themselves.
Show Up, Even When You Doubt the Value
If you believe in what you do, make sure that you show up for it every time. People can feel that energy. They notice whether or not you are grateful and happy to be there with them, or if you are peeking over their shoulder wishing some more people were there so that it will have been worth your time.
Don’t let it be the case that people showed up for you and you did not show up for them. If you enlist in a service that you truly believe could benefit your life and/or your business, show up. Be committed in your actions. Stay committed to yourself. As a friend of mine says “either quit or commit.”
Copyright © 2018 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.