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06/16/2003 - Showing Up

Show up

I'm sure you've heard this a thousand times and it has most likely been printed in a thousand different motivational, inspirational or "success-in-thirty-days" books worldwide. But I'm going to state it here as a key to success because it is just that. Those who show up have an immediate advantage. Why? Because they're there! That's all there is to it! How are you going to win the game if you don't even show up to play!? It doesn't work that way I'm afraid.

Most of us have been broke at one time or another, and then all of a sudden, we come into some big money. Most of the time, the big money is temporary. I'm talking thousands, not millions of dollars here. But what usually happens in this situation is that the word spreads and friends we didn't even know we had "show up" at our door wanting to hang out?! But this is the wrong kind of "show up." These people showed up at the wrong time, see? They should have showed up when we were broke. If they had done that, then we would have surely been their best buddy and taken them out for some beers on us, right?

But those friends of ours who were there when we were broke, those are the ones we want to be with when our ship comes in because they were there through thick and thin. They were there when we couldn't sit on a nickel much less stand on a dime. Why? Because they showed up!

It goes much deeper than that and I'll give you a few personal examples. I recently had a birthday party in which I invited well over fifty people. At that point, I was neither rich nor famous, and none of my screenplays had been produced yet. And I was never the "popular" type, and I didn't do drugs or drink like a fish. I'm just a casual, intellectual with a few close friends and many more acquaintances. And I very rarely have parties. Make that never. So the very fact that I decided to have this party was a huge deal. Writers are generally reclusive in nature and I'm no exception to the rule.

So a very interesting event happened on that day. Not one family member attended the only birthday party I have thrown in my adult life. Wait, it gets even better. The only person from my family that even called to wish me a happy birthday was my mother. You can always count on mom, I guess. In this case it certainly wasn't just a clich?.

Even more interesting was the fact that of the ten people who did show up, two of them had to be there because they were taking care of me. What really surprised me was that three of my friends who did show up had only known less than three months. They knew me more based on my talent than my personality. But as is the nature of my work, it is almost one and the same. My work demonstrates my personality and my inner nature as a whole. So even though only a few people showed up to my party, I was truly honored because it was a recognition of who I really was as an artist. It wasn't about who I knew, or how powerful I was, or some other superfluous reason. They showed up because they were my friends, and they believed in me as a filmmaker and a writer. It didn't matter how long they knew me, or whether or not they were related by blood. And to be true, I feel they're related to me in spirit.

They "showed up" and it really meant something to me. Knowing that, if and when I ever hit the big time, it'll be those I remember. For the very same reason, I always try my best to "show up" for those friends whom I really care about, or believe in. Showing up goes both ways and that's something you need to remember next time you're invited. And even if you're not invited, crash the party dude!


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