I first learned about the power of showing up during my early days as an Entrepreneur. Having started my first (ad)venture in China I didn’t get a single thing done at the beginning. I was struggling with the basics and couldn’t understand why my project didn't make any progress at all. It was so frustrating. Luckily, at some point I realized that I couldn’t use my normal work attitude any longer. Coming from a Western country I was used to the simple procedure of exchanging money against goods. The degree of social interaction when doing business was minimized.
But this approach didn’t seem to work in China, a country that is still almost exclusively built on personal relationships. So I had to rethink my way of working and simply started showing up. I showed up for almost every tiny little thing one could imagine. It was ridiculous and honestly speaking a pain in the ass. Roundtrips in the city took around three hours, if you were travelling within city limits. Three hours in a city with millions of people and smog everywhere is super exhausting and pretty much the end of a work day.
Luckily people realized that I was being serious and willing to put as much effort into getting my things done as possible and I wouldn’t stop until I had what I needed. They were starting to respect me for my endless efforts and my persistence. That’s probably why we started bonding and built up some kind of relationship. In exchange they tried their best and made huge efforts to help me get my stuff done.
Now you might wonder what this example has to do with our Western world. Well, quite a lot actually. We live in a digitized world that allows us to contact millions of people with a couple of swipes or clicks. Surprisingly we get frustrated and start moaning when we never hear back from people we tried to contact via phone, mail or message. We assume that these people ignore us or don’t care about our stuff. But why do we actually think that way? Because it’s convenient for us to not follow up once more and just settle with a “no” instead of trying a bit harder to get a “yes”. Everyone has thousands of things to do each day so we prefer to not follow up or show up because it’s just so convenient. But if we’re not able to get our own shit together why do we expect someone else to get it together for us? Right, it doesn’t make any sense.
There are so many ways to turn a “no” into a “yes” if we just try hard enough and start to realize that personal relationships actually still do matter a lot in our society. They are one of the best keys to success in an over-connected and under socialized society. They facilitate so many things. So don’t settle for a “no”. Go and follow up as often as you can and as soon as you can. Get out of the building, show up and try every single thing there is on this planet earth to build up personal relationships with the people you want stuff from. And never forget to give back. Or even better: give back before you even receive things. This will help you boost your reputation tremendously.