Leaders: Showing Up isn’t Enough

Leaders: Showing Up isn’t Enough

skastrul's picture

In 1977, Woody Allen was quoted in the New York Times as saying that “80% of life is just showing up.” It’s taken on many variants since then, but I disagree with it in all forms. Maybe for the majority of the population showing up is enough, but for us, it’s more than just showing up, it’s being present.

Over the course of the year i.c.stars hosts events to engage our community in meaningful dialogue in whats next in business. One of my favorite things about our events is hearing what the intern experience was. There are oodles and oodles of anecdotes, new found friends, mentors, and even some reconnections.

Our interns have been geeking out around the clock in the proverbial bubble with one another driving towards building solutions for their client. Popping out to be hosts of such a large and powerful event wakes up the senses in such an incredible way.

One of the most remarkable things an intern shared after our Capitalize event, was that she realized that she had gone from being an intern to a colleague with a room with over 200 executives and that she had to be present and own that experience in a way that she hadn’t realized she was ready for.

You determine who you are. When you show up, who will you be? To recognize that BEING isn’t a just something that is, it’s something that you make. No one becomes anything by just showing up. You have to acknowledge that the truth of your life is what you show up and stand up for. Not just putting on your shoes and showing up there, but staking claim to what is yours empowers presence.

Claiming what is yours can be as simple as an intern saying that this is my table, this is my contribution, this is my gift, and I’m showing up because I belong here. Or a CEO who stands for transforming her organization to be diverse, inclusive and equitable. You don’t need anyone’s permission to BE THE ARCHITECT of both your WORK and PERSONAL LIFE. The only difference between you and perceived superstars is that they are realizing who they are and they are showing up for their lives.

I hate plastic tablecloths, I hate things that don’t last or contain memories. I hate things that are disposable. I hate it when people don’t say goodbye, hello or acknowledge one another as people who are all just working for something greater. Showing up for my life means that I can demand better of the world and others.

People have long accused i.c.stars of being a cult. That is because we emphasize what it means to show up. Be fully present and taking ownership of this experience. We always tell our interns and alumni that i.c.stars exist because we need them. It is true. We need them to own all that i.c.stars is now and what it will be in the future. When you are the maker of something, you are more likely to fully committed to it. i.c.stars is made by the people we serve and has evolved with every new intern that blesses our space.

The truth is that power rests in how we show up for our lives. It is critical that we don’t stand by and watch and wait for someone to tell us what to claim or who we are. That is for moviegoers who stand by and witness the story. You owe it to yourself and the world to make your movie where you are the leading character.

It’s not what happens to us it’s what we make happen, because what I’ve learned is that what happens to us is what fuels us. Some of the worst people of my life have fueled the creation, the making of incredible things, because instead of letting them just define me, my purpose and all that I can and do claim, I stood up to do something about it, to show up for my life, I have chosen that these challenges do not beat me, they fuel me.

So, what will you stand for? What will you claim? When the end of time has arrived, and your biography is released, what will the narrative be? What incredible things did you make of your life and the lives of those who witnessed it? How do you show up?

High Tea Sign Up

About Sandee

Sandee Kastrul's photo
I believe that the definition of leadership is making opportunities for others. I am a leadership geek and find that the richest opportunities for all of our futures lie in education. I am a believer in reciprocity in education and that as educators we are both teacher and student. I believe that the world can be a classroom if we open ourselves to the notion that application, concatenation and liberation start with listening. Schedule Sandee to Speak

About i.c.stars

i.c.stars is a non-profit organization in Chicago for adults with a high school diploma or GED. Using project-based learning and full immersion teaching, i.c.stars provides an opportunity for change-driven, future leaders to develop skills in business and technology. To learn more go to www.icstars.org

A Measurable Impact

Initial placement rate:
Industry retention rate:
College attendance rate:
Alumni actively engaged in their communities:
Average 12-month earnings before program:
Average 12-month earnings after program: