Showing Up is Over Half the Battle

Show up for your appointments

When we moved into our current home, over twenty years ago, we elected to enlist a service to mow our lawn and do some other basic maintenance on the large yard. We went through several services before finding one we would stick with for many years.

The most common cause of failure was actually very disappointing. While we expected the quality of the work to be the determining factor, it was something else entirely that had us more often than not looking for a new provider.

We ended up making our evaluation on what seemed the simplest of things: did they even show up regularly, as promised, to do the job?

Too many times the answer was “no”.

… McDonald’s providing first jobs to millions of teenagers, many troubled, over the years, has successfully taught most of them the one lesson they most need: to show up reliably for responsible work.

Charlie Munger, billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s right-hand man

Clearly our yard maintence crews had never worked at McDonald’s.

While our yard maintenance problems have settled, we’re now facing a similar situation attempting to complete some interrupted remodeling work on our home. A outside contractor stated that the work could be done in April. I’m writing this in May, with no start date committed to. The contractor has now established a record of making assorted promises — everything from “I’ll get back to you on Friday”, to “We’ll start on Wednesday” that go unmet without much, if any, comment.

He’s not showing up.

The dilemma, for us of course, is how long to let this go on before investing more of our time and energy in finding a replacement that will (hopefully) show up, and (hopefully) do a good job as well?

Just show up.

I would advise everyone to remember, embrace, and commit to showing up.

Make commitments you can keep, and then keep them.

Commitments to others, of course, but commitments to ourselves as well.

We show up every day. We might do it only because we have to, to keep from getting fired. But we do it. We show up every day.

The War of Art — Steven Pressfield

Honestly, I’m convinced this is one of the most telling differences between successful and failed entrepreneurs: their ability to show up every day to do the work. Without that boss to fire you it’s simply too easy to pass off today’s work until tomorrow.

Pressfield calls it “Resistance”.

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

The War of Art — Steven Pressfield

Getting started is the hardest part.

Showing up. It’s all about showing up.

Whether it be for your job, your commitments to others, or your commitments to yourself, show up.

You’d be shocked at how many do not.


Munger, Charles T., et al: Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition

Pressfield, Steven; The War of Art

4 thoughts on “Showing Up is Over Half the Battle”

  1. Charlie Munger is one of the wisest people on the planet. Search out his YouTube videos and buy his books. Charlie is the vocal wisdom behind Warren Buffet.

    I learned about Charlie Munger through Tai “Lamborghini” Lopez ads.

    Thank You Leo!

  2. Just a quick note. Mike Rowe of “Dirtiest Jobs” fame has formed a program called mikeroweworks that is designed to help people who want to enter the trades. Suggest you check out his website especially the S.W.E.A.T pledge in which Number 7 speaks to showing up. This is one of the few non-profits I whole-heartedly support.

  3. Agree 100%! If a handyperson, tradesperson, or contractor doesn’t call or respond when they say they will, that tells you everything you need to know about the work they will do. Thanks, no thanks, move on!

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