Several years ago, I read a book by Bill Gates' father called Showing Up for Life. At the time, my business was humming along, I had a bunch of clients and everything seemed to be falling into place. We had recently hired a full time employee and had a few consultants working with us too and that gave me time to go out, network and land even more business.
I really enjoyed attending events - whether it was a holiday party, movie screening, or conference where I appeared on a panel or moderated a session. I also loved getting together with close friends and family and even planned a night out in Manhattan with my high school girlfriends. At the heart of it, I was happiest when I showed up, met new people or reconnected with the people I adored.
Over the last two years, the structure of my company changed considerably. For a while, I decided to give up those networking opportunities so I could work from home and save money. But what I didn't realize is that the more I got back to doing the things I loved most--being around people---the more my chances for new business leads flourished and the happier I was overall.
Over the past two months, I've been attending more networking events, cocktail parties, a charity gala and even got to see close friends at a cozy Spanish restaurant in Brooklyn. We also just celebrated Thanksgiving at our house with 16 family members - many whom we haven't seen in a few years and then had some more family members visit a few days later. I have to admit that being around people is so much more rewarding than sitting behind a computer monitor for hours on end.
Bill Gates Sr. was totally on the money about the importance of showing up for life. We were not put on this planet to spend our days toiling away at our workstations or standing desks. Sure, it's important to get your work done but I find that I'm at my best when I get to meet in person and we brainstorm ways we can work together. I also love to reconnect, reminisce and enjoy a great evening out with friends.
If you're feeling like you're in a rut, it's time to start getting out more. If you're invited to an event or holiday party, show up even if you don't know anyone there. If there's a conference you're interested in participating in, invest in yourself and spend the money to be there. If you've always dreamed of going on a retreat with your friends or co-workers, then just do it. Life is meant to be lived in person and not online. So go forth, get out there and make things happen. You never know what can happen if you just show up.