I was listening to Brad Stevens on an interview recently, and he said this about one of his players:
"When Marcus is here, you know he's here. You know he's in the room, you know he's in the game, you know he's in the drill...He's got a presence about him"
I have spent a large portion of my life believing that humility was the most important trait one could have. I don't know that I could have always articulated that, but I think so much of what I did centered around the idea that pride and self-promotion were to be avoided, and humility was to be developed in all circumstances.
In addition to my focus on humility, I was very easily embarrassed and did not like too much attention placed on me at any time. These two characteristics permeated everything that I did. They affected how I interacted with others, how I engaged in class, how I saw myself, and how I performed in sports.
On most occasions, I would say that my focus was entering and exiting a room WITHOUT anyone knowing I was there. Aside from the fact that I'm 6'4'', I probably accomplished that goal more often than not. I'm not sure why I was shy, or why I felt like being a presence was the opposite of being humble, but I think I probably missed some opportunities because of it. Primarily, the opportunity to grow in given situations, and the opportunity to fully contribute to the things I was involved in.
So I really like this idea of: "Let 'em know you're there"
I'm not going to be a yelling, screaming, in your face motivational speaker any time soon, nor do I ever envision myself being the loudest guy in the room. But I am working on doing a better job not trying to blend in, in every situation I enter into. It's a work in progress, and against my nature, but I think it's worth the effort.
There's a saying/belief that states that showing up is half the battle, and I don't disagree. But I think after we master that, we have to expect a little more of ourselves. After awhile, just showing up isn't going to cut it. And I know a lot of people that live their entire lives, both personally and professionally, and all they ever do is show up.
For the enlightened crowd that reads this blog, I believe that our teams, organizations, and communities need us to give what we have to give. In other words, we have been given valuable gifts and ideas, and we need to share those valuable gifts and ideas with others. It's not enough just to show up. We need to let them know we are here.
When I was playing middle school basketball I played for a guy who was way too intense to be coaching middle school basketball. And he called me in one day when I was in the 7th grade and he said, "Hendley, you have been doing a great job of not doing anything stupid (he was really good at motivational speeches)...Now, I want you to focus on doing something positive when you get into the game"
He's right. If we want to focus on just showing up, and not doing anything stupid (which sometimes is a very good idea), at some point I think we need to set the bar a little bit higher. We've been selected for the team, hired for the job, joined the family, or volunteered for the committee for a reason, and most likely, it wasn't to fill an empty seat.
My encouragement is that you not hide behind your values, and be anything less than you fullest, best, most authentic self. God designed you the way that he did for a reason. Whether you recognize it or not, you have valuable gifts and ideas to share. It's time to start focus on doing something positive when you get into the game.
It's not enough just to show up. We need to let 'em know we are here.