I used to know two types of people. People who show up and people who don’t. You know the friend who always agrees to everything but then cancels at the last minute. I simply stopped inviting them and now I only deal with people who I know will show up and are committed to doing what they love.
I recently talked with Shalini Khemka, founder and CEO of E2E, an entrepreneur 'match-making' company. She told me about her struggle to get capable women to show up to her events as speakers.
"E2E supports the Mayor of London's agenda to ensure female representation on speaker panels, however, we find it difficult to achieve this as only a select number of established female founders show willingness. We would like to call for action of 50% representation of women on each panels."
Why are women unwilling to show up? Why do we cancel at the last minute?
I believe the answer is two-fold.
Firstly, we women are people-pleasers. Our survival has for too long depended on making sure everyone in the herd is happy. Pleasing the alpha males was key to survival. You think the old cave-man theory no longer holds, and it shouldn't. But, has anything really changed since our mothers were young?
To avoid conflict and to show loyalty to various groups women say 'yes' when we really want to say 'no', and then end up cancelling. Cancelling on manning a stand at the school bake sale will not be a problem for your dreams, other than losing friends. But is that how you want to live?
We people please so that we don't have to spend time within ourselves honouring our own dreams.
And that's the real issue.
The big problem is that we keep cancelling on stuff that is related to our dreams. We let fear step in the way of our own success.
When we don't show up to our dreams we don't ever have to face any potential obstacles or failure.
So next time when you put your name down for a panel discussion, show up (even if you feel you aren't ready). Or if you're thinking of writing a book and starting a writing course, show up. Or any other event, meeting or a call. It's time to start showing up even if you aren't ready.
The only thing you need to do to achieve your goals and your dreams is to keep showing up, repeatedly. Each time you show up half of the task is done – you showed up. It is as simple as that. We just want to make it more complicated and keep coming up with reasons why it's better to cancel.
Women have a master's degree in coming up with excuses.
"I can't because my husband's travel schedule is unpredictable."
"I can't because my son has a piano practise."
"I can't because I have to stay in the office late to finish this report for my boss."
We excel in putting everyone else's needs first but our own. Sure, life always throws in a curveball. But if you want something badly enough... if you are serious about that side project, or taking your business to the next level, if you want to make an impact or create financial abundance... then you have no choice but to show up.
The Habit of Showing Up is a Mindset
The first step is to create a habit of showing up. It's a mindset. I'm a person who always shows up, that's just who I am. I've completely internalised it. I don't use any drama as an excuse to cancel. Showing up is not a discussion for me. I don't re-negotiate with myself each time I think if I should do something that is important for me.
Protect your goals and your dreams from everyday life
In order to build that mindset, you have to start protecting your 'soul' environment from the demands of others. In its simplest form, this means creating slots of time in your calendar where you can be together with your dreams and your goals.
But because most of us tend to cancel meetings with ourselves it's best to agree to meet other people who share similar desire to build a bigger life who are willing to support you and keep you accountable.
These appointments have to be regular and you have to protect them. Don't let others override these appointments. This is what showing up to yourself means. Showing up.
At DrivenWoman and our online program Doers Academy, we keep showing up together.
By having a regular monthly schedule and keeping each other accountable we call each other's bluff, and it works. This week our members have committed to showing up in different ways, exactly when they were about to cancel. Here are just some of the comments and experiences that happened during one exercise we did together in our online community group.
Nevo said she was worried about going ahead with her fashion event in case nobody would show up. After our exercise, she understood she had to go ahead if she was ever going to make her dream a reality: "Even though I am worried and feeling slightly insecure, I WILL SHOW UP!"
And Marisa committed to an important AI event in Switzerland: "As much as I am not so eager to spend time away from my family Wednesday - I COMMIT TO SHOWING UP! I'll be supporting my friend with organising this event and I will show up as the ambassador for Switzerland."
Padma was just about to cancel on an opportunity but decided to stick around instead: "I have volunteered to locate sponsors and advertisers for an upcoming community event. My task is to identify the decision makers. I was thinking of passing it on to someone else because I don't feel confident to initiate the first step. However, me connecting with these prospects will be a brilliant skill set development as well as networking for me."
We activate thousands of these little 'aha' moments globally every week. At DrivenWoman we all benefit from surrounding ourselves with people who cheer us on, and having a monthly structure helps us to show up for our own goals and dreams.
Click here to learn more about joining the Doers Academy -We look forward to welcoming you to our tribe.