Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is showing up.” Showing up means I have not given up. I am willing to do whatever I can do to succeed or to help you succeed.
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• When people show up for you, it means you are not alone. Someone is willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, no matter what.
• Showing up is easier during good times than it is when things go haywire. If your spouse or another great friend makes a significant mistake in his or her life, you need to be there, in person, not by telephone. You don’t have to talk a lot when you arrive. Being a patient listener may be the most important thing you do. Sharing the same space is an act of love; and sometimes you don’t have to say a word. At least make the offer to show up as soon as you get the telephone call that your friend is in need of you.
• There have been a few occasions when I attended a memorial service for someone I hardly knew or didn’t know at all. I showed up because one of their loved ones asked me to be there or to give the eulogy for their loved one. To show up for someone you love is always the right thing to do.
• When your child has a 12-word part in the school play, you show up because his or her role in the play is more important than watching your football team. You have heard your child practice the 12 words, over and over, and now it is time to support his/her effort.
• Showing up for your marriage is more important than showing up for court.
• Do not put tennis, golf or drinking with friends before your spouse or the kids. If you put hobbies before being with your spouse or kids, it means your priorities are screwed up. Spending more time on tennis, golf or drinking means your spouse is alone and resentful. Please don’t act surprised when she asks you for a divorce.
• How do you show up for work? Do you play video games until 2 a.m. in the morning and expect to be productive at work? Are you dressed like a bum or street gangster? Are you on time or late again? If you answer “yes” to all three questions, you are unemployed now and should be.
• The idea that 80 percent of success is showing up does not apply to politics. You have to do more than just show up to be an effective and worthwhile politician.
• I remember my college professor, Dr. Foss, saying, “Compromise is the art of politics.” He stressed that nothing goes forward if compromise is seen as a duty word by politicians. Constant stalemates in any political scene means both parties and the voters lose out. I have always seen compromise as a sign of maturity. Compromise in marriage, work and politics is accomplished by mature people who want results.
• Ego-obsessed people must always win, and they must always get in the last word. They absolutely cannot accept the idea that the other person’s truth is as important as their own truth.
• Ego-obsessed politicians see all differences as a war, and to compromise is to “cave in” and lose. They believe “victories are more important than moving forward or gaining results.”
• Ego-obsessed people also see marriage as a test of wills and victories. Getting in the last word is more important than compromise or mutual respect.
• At the next candidates’ night you attend, ask the candidates how they feel about political compromise. If it takes them more than 30 seconds to define compromise, it means they don’t believe in the concept and that stalemate is perfectly OK with them.
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.