Woody Allen is famously credited with the expression:
80% of success is showing up.
There is some good news and bad news about showing up.
Bad news first…
It’s hard to fix tardiness, a poor wardrobe choice, or a lack of preparation at a moment’s notice:
- Oversleep or miss your bus – you can’t turn back time. Yes, you can postpone the job interview or profusely apologize, but the reality is that you’re late and you probably won’t land that gig.
- Walk into a black tie event dressed in blue jeans and a hoodie – you are going to stand out and not in a good way. Even the tuxedo t-shirt you are wearing under the hoodie won’t make up for your faux pas.
- Show up for the meeting having not done your homework – your lack of preparation or inadequate skills will reveal themselves and people will begin to question your leadership.
Now for the good news…
If you define showing up only by these three conditions (on time, in the right attire, and prepared), you’ve arguably left out a big piece of the showing up equation. This missing piece is the part that left unchecked will erode the value of the other three pieces. It is also the component that, if genuine and appropriate, has the potential to make up for some deficiencies in the other areas. Most importantly, you can chose to change this thing in an instant.
So, what is this component that great leaders bring to every conversation?
The right attitude for the situation at hand…
Stay with me for a moment.
Your attitude really matters. Think of the last meeting you attended or challenging situation you confronted at work.
(Seriously, think about one.)
What attitude did you bring to the situation?
I’ve prepared some possibilities to help jog your memory.
- As a leader, was your attitude appropriate for the situation?
- Did you make things better and help advance yourself, your team, and the organization?
- If not, what attitude should you have brought with you?
Here’s a challenge. The next time you are about to walk into a meeting or confront a situation (at work or home), Pause, Reflect, and Choose the right attitude.
You and those around you will appreciate the way you show up!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.