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What Does It Mean to “Show Up”?

Some people intrinsically have the ability to show up; it’s inborn in them. And some people have to grow it, nurture it, practice it their whole lives — work at it every day.

The people who already have it, their life’s work is to keep stepping in bigger and bigger, staying on their edge to create more impact. These people need to work at keeping themselves sharp, growing, and accountable, while helping others to do so as well. Their job is to lead, teach, and pay it forward.

The people who are learning how to show up, and maybe even struggling with it, their job is to just do it, to surround themselves with the right people, and to focus on the bigger vision for impact for what they want to create and make to help them move through it.

No matter where you are, I believe your job is to continue working on it, showing up bigger and bigger, using your super powers for good, and expanding your range for leadership and joy in your life.

[wcm_restrict]Showing up might mean that you do all you can to lead your life. You take really good care of yourself. You consider at all times whether you’re contributing to things going better or worse in situations—especially the ones you can’t control.

It might mean that you take risks, swing out, fall on your face, and all the while practice self-love and compassion.

It might mean you show your vulnerability as a leader and ask for help.

It might mean that when these things don’t add up, or you completely forget about them, you quickly recover and climb back on—not making yourself wrong and bad for forgetting, but rather practicing that compassion and mining the precious learning that’s come from all of it.

It might mean you say “I’m sorry” — but only in the moments you truly have something to be sorry about.

It might mean you partner with your life, your challenges, your problems, and even your nemesis to move forward in a way that feels right.

It might mean you’re there for your organization, your clients, and your team in a way that honors all of you and does good.

It might mean you look at the culture you have and the culture you want to create — in your organization, your family, or in your own being — and you create it… starting with you.

So, what does showing up mean to you?

Make your list — make your own “Credo of Showing Up.”

The Five Components of Showing Up (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

Let’s break down Showing Up. You know what it is. You have your own version of it, whether you are aware of it or not. But how does it really break down?

Showing Up breaks into five main components: intention, energy, presence, action and skills, and impact.

Creating leadership that thrives (and therefore a culture that thrives) requires that you “Show Up” first. The five components of showing up and creating impact all work together. Enter at any point. For best results, start with “Intention” as it fortifies and accelerates every single component.

  • Intention is what you want to have happen, a desire. It’s what you plan to achieve, a determination. You have to own that intention and be clear on it. It’s also about the intention and regard you have for another human being. How do you see this person? What do you believe is possible for him or her? Do you see this person as another human being? It serves big time to own this intention and be clear on this as well.
  • Energy is how you take care of yourself as well as what you bring to the table. It’s how you set yourself up to be the most thriving, sustainable, powerful instrument of change possible. You have tremendous control here. People often underestimate their power in this component of showing up—this is low-hanging fruit!
  • Presence is how you show up, how people experience you, how present you are to your life right now and to the person in front of you. It’s right here, right now, in this moment. Presence also includes the more traditional forms of presence like stage presence, appearance, charisma, physical presence, and leadership and executive presence.
  • Action and skills are what ensures that you move forward and accomplish your goals. These allow you to show up and create positive impact and pleasure in your life. Action is where you make things real. Your skills and action are always being impacted by your intentions, energy, and presence. In fact, your presence often speaks louder than your actions or words (but you know that already).
  • Impact is what you make happen. It’s what happens overall as a result of applying great intention, energy, presence, actions, and skills to what you wanted to create in the first place. We’re always having an impact — good, bad, ugly, pretty, negative, positive, ineffective, rockin’. Impact, done extra well, starts with an intention. It’s a cycle.

The better you do these five things, the stronger your leadership presence and the more effective your impact.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]


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About the Author

Anese CavanaughAnese Cavanaugh is devoted to helping people show up and bring their best selves to the table in order to create significant positive impact in their lives. She is the creator of the IEP Method® (Intentional Energetic Presence), an advisor and thinking partner to leaders and organizations around the world, and author of Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization that Thrives (McGraw Hill, 11/15). Follow her @AneseCavanaugh.