How Are You Showing Up?

By Jalene Case

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” You’ve no doubt heard this popular quote by Woody Allen. But I would add that how you show up matters. Your interactions with others, and even with yourself, can shift from ineffectively blah to purposefully engaged when you’re thoughtful about how you show up. It’s palpable to everyone in the room.

My first coach taught me this strategy for getting the results I wanted from meetings. In addition to setting a clear agenda, she suggested asking, “Who do I want to be?” Think of this as defining how you want to show up, the energy you want bring to the space, the character traits that you want others to see and feel from you. I’ve taught this to many clients over the years, and they’re always surprised by the impact of this seemingly simply preparation step.

Now I use this technique before all my meetings or high-stakes discussions. Here’s what it looks like in action. I plan as much as possible before the interaction and then I ask myself, “Who do I want to be?” Some of the words that come up, depending on the situation, might be bold, courageous, intuitive, curious, open, inquisitive, a good listener, or authentically me. Just before the meeting, I remind myself of a few key words. Intentionally setting the atmosphere in advance influences how I speak, interact, and listen.

Here’s the caveat: Tuning into who you want to be requires your cup to be full. To fill your cup means to replenish your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical energy. It means that you need to refill your energy stores so that you have enough for yourself, as well as enough to share with others. You might be able to power through getting tasks done, but when your energy is sapped, it takes a lot of extra umph to fake who you’re being. That’s not enjoyable or productive for you or the other person!

In a Harvard Business Review article, Alyssa F. Westring wrote, “Ample research has shown that nurturing our brains, bodies, and spirits can help us be more effective at whatever we put our minds to.” She goes on to share that to start figuring out how to nourish yourself, you can pay attention to when you feel invigorated and when you feel drained. For example, notice when you feel energized, excited, joyful, focused, or peaceful. These are indicators that your cup is full. Conversely, notice when you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depleted. Look for patterns. Get curious. Experiment. Observe what works and doesn’t work for you at this point in your life. It’s possible that what recharged you in the past doesn’t anymore, so keep a look out for outdated habits.

Consider building faithful habits to recharge your energy in these four areas: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says that in order to create a new habit, it needs to be obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.

Start by declaring one thing you’ll do in each of the areas above. For example, feed yourself:

  • Mentally by reading to learn for 5-30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Emotionally by journaling every morning, starting with 3-5 things for which you’re grateful.
  • Physically by doing 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week.
  • Spiritually by listening to a guided meditation daily for 10-30 minutes.

As with any new habit, start with one and start super-small. Give yourself full permission to expand what’s working and let go of what’s not working.

How you feel is only part of the equation. The other part is the people around you. Once you’re aware of whether you’re feeling vibrant or drained, observe the people around you. Internally ask yourself questions such as, How is she responding? How is she showing up? What has changed, or not, about our interaction? In other words, be aware of how who-you’re-being effects other people.

I think of this process of choosing who I want to be (aka how I want to show up) as wholehearted being. defines wholehearted as, “Fully or completely sincere, enthusiastic, energetic, hearty, earnest.” Consider defining who you want to be at work, at home, and in that next meeting. I’d love to hear your experience as you focus on who-you’re-being. Send me a note to Note: This is part four in a series of nine blog posts exploring the Self-Leadership Blueprint. You can read the previous three blogs here.

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