How did you show up today? How did you show up for your partner? Children? Work colleagues? In a meeting? At the grocery store? At the dentist?
You choose how you’re going to show up in any situation throughout the day. Yes. You.
You choose if you smile, or not.
You choose if you say hello, or don’t.
You choose if you ask someone a question, or stay silent.
You choose if you listen attentively, or pretend.
You get the picture. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You know it’s your choice how you show up.
Have you ever stopped to think about how you are actually showing up for other people? Are you conscious, mindful, intentional about it? Do you need to be?
Everyday leaders are intentional about how they show up, because they know it affects others. I’m not talking about our deep and meaningful relationships here, I’m simply talking about when we get on with our day, how we show up and interact matters. It impacts others.
A few years ago I was walking home from the yoga studio. A young child, I’d say around 7 years old, was walking with her mother towards me. As we passed the girl stopped and said hello to me. She asked me how my day was. I said it was good, especially since I’ve just done yoga I said, with a smile. That’s great she said, then handed me a card saying I’d like you to have this. As she walked away with her mum, I called out "Thanks" after her.
As I walked home I could not stop smiling. Wow, what a lovely girl to stop and ask me how my day was. When I got home I opened the card. It was a picture of flowers. The note from her Mum read “Thanks for stopping and talking to our daughter today. We are teaching her some simple acts of kindness, such as saying hello to people, and appreciate your time. We hope you have a wonderful day”. How lovely. I was in a positive mood all evening.
Now I’m not going to argue the elements of stranger danger in this scenario because this could have been any scenario of a brief relational transaction. The point is, how you show up directly affects others, in either a positive or a negative way.
Nor am I suggesting we are responsible for what others think, and how they feel all the time. We can choose our actions that may have a positive impact on them, which will affect how they feel in that moment.
Here is another example: I teach fitness classes at 6:00 am in the morning. If I showed up grumpy from lack of sleep, how do you think that would affect my class participants? Now don’t get me wrong, I do tell them when I haven’t had much sleep, but always turn it into a positive motivator, and an element of engagement for the class. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, I always try to be intentional to greet each person who walks into the room, and show appreciation to them for turning up so early. I simply smile and say hello! Partly because it’s my job, yes that’s true, but also because it motivates me and drives the energy up in the whole room. We work hard and have a great class.
What is important here is not to fake it. Still be authentic to who you are. I understand not everyone is expressive and extroverted like me. But everyone has the ability to smile and say hello to someone – we can all be everyday leaders in creating positivity in our day, and someone else’s.
This 5-minute Ted Talk from Drew Dudley helped me be more intentional about how I show up each day for others. It's a constant work in progress and every now and then, I watch the video again as a little reminder. Check it out...
We have the ability to impact people in positive ways, starting with the small notion of how we show up! Choose to be a little brightness in someone's day.
Be a leader today and decide how you going to show up next time:
At the grocery store?
At the gym?
In the line up?
At the hairdresser?
Paying your council tax?
Have a wonderful day.