Woody Allen says it best – “70% of success in life is showing up.” Showing up is what sets you apart, provides the opportunity & setting to DO something of value. But it’s what you get DONE that’s the other, essential 30%.
The older I get, the more clear this becomes. I think of my Dad, someone my oldest brother tags a work-aholic because of the long hours he put in working at a Philadelphia lumber & millwork company. Peter remembers a childhood ruined by a father who was calling on customers & making deliveries when he should have been with his family, or who dragged his wife & children with him. My brother swore to never be like that, that he would be present in & focused on his children’s lives. Which he did. My brother showed up. But what did he do with the other 30%?
Our father was forever changed when the Great Depression devastated his life expectations. His dreams on graduation in June 1929 crashed five months later, as his father lost his fortune & his step-mother lost her’s trying to save Gar’s. Instead of studying engineering at Haverford, he went to work for the father of his best friend from prep school. Dad was notoriously late coming home for his children’s events & he did invariably go into work “for just a few hours” on the day we were supposed to leave for a week at the lake – I can remember, as a very little kid, keeping my eyes glued on the end of the road for the sight of his company car coming into view. It’s true he often wasn’t present, but, for me, he showed up in how he provided for his family.
Peter showed up in his children’s lives, at sports events, theatrical performances, concerts, school programs. At his children’s schools, he was the parent you could count on seeing in the audience, on the sidelines, cheering them on. He showed up, but how did he do as a provider, as making sure their lives were financially stable, at providing for the basic needs that our Dad focused on, to the detriment of his time with family?
Jen Sincero notes that “the important thing is that you keep showing up.” Show up & swing away. My brother showed up; to him, our dad didn’t. But I can tell you, without hesitation, which of the two made the best use of the remaining per cent, which one tackled the unglamorous grunt work necessary to help provide the basics for his wife & children.
Neither Peter nor Dad were ideal fathers, but both did the best they could to provide the life they thought their families deserved. But that is not enough. We can’t just show up, we need to both show up & deliver. Show up in order to take our next best swing & then our next. That’s when – whatever our age, stage or state – we connect with life & hit it out of the park.