Showing up is great, but engagement makes you relevant. We put a premium on attendance. We’ll provide certificates and trophies to kids who don’t miss a day of school or who attend every soccer practice. At work, we’ll hoard personal time or extoll the nose-to-the-grindstone-ness of the employee who hasn’t taken a vacation in years. And while attendance is great, you know, it’s fine, it doesn’t clock actual participation.
Showing up may be half the battle, but what’s the point? In the scheme of a life, why just “show up.” Why attend if all you’re doing is a lap, a smile and an exit. Because, engaging is scary. It takes work, personal effort and maybe some discomfort, but it is the color of existence.
The framework doesn’t matter - work, relationships, beliefs. I know people who have worked at a place for a lengthy amount of time. They do their work, they’ll complain about others and they go home. These people don’t actually do anything to fix the situation or offer solutions. They operate within a small box and never outside it. They show up and mostly they’re color-less. Some people live the same way in their relationships. They’ll go years without communicating with children or spouses. It’s easier. It’s a non-choice. These same people will lament world events, politicians and leaders but will do nothing more than shake their fists at the screen.
Get up, dress up and show up used to be all that was asked of you, but no longer. The world requires you to connect, engage and participate. We are each a universe unto ourselves with singular experiences, views and perspectives. We need your you-ness. It is time to be present.
It won’t be easy. You’ll think it strange. It’ll feel like wearing clothes that are too small. To participate is to fail, and that is a grand, good and colorful thing. It's important and should be done frequently. Don’t over-think it. Just speak up. Speak out. Offer a solution. Make the call. Dance. Greet the stranger. Take a stand. Connect.
Stop being un-relevant.
LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics headquartered in Charleston, SC. Her company uses theatre strategies to help humans grow more profitable conversations with other humans.