It’s been said that 80% of success is showing up. I believe it. Lots of people dream. Far fewer people consistently show up to make their dream come true. Of course it’s not about just showing up it’s also about doing the work. But ask any writer or creative professional and they’ll tell you showing up (aka “getting started”) is way harder than the actual work.
I’m such a believer in this that I wanted to form an event around the concept. Getting inertia going is difficult and something to be rewarded.
It was not until *after* the event that I realized you could interpret this event in an entirely different way. I was telling someone about the event and they chuckled, “ha ha. You’re literally giving out participation awards. Funny.”
Crap. I hadn’t thought of that interpretation.
- It had to be early in the morning. That way it has some challenge. Plus, imo, winners start their days early. The early bird gets the worm. 8:30am on a Saturday seemed like a good sacrifice for these future winners.
- I wanted them to see the awards table out in a field. Like a mountain on the horizon that they are endlessly walking toward and determinedly focused on for hours. That would give it some drama and highlight the significance of this important moment in their lives.
- I would dress up as professional as I could. This mean finding my tie and remembering how to tie it.
Below are the details and promotional video for the “Did You Know? Ancient Austin Pyramids” event as posted to the public. See more detail here on the Big Weekend Calendars website.
Show Up And Get An Award
This event is part of the Austin Events 2020 wall calendar’s Secret Unpublished Event Series.
It’s been said that success is all about showing up. So this event is all about showing up. You show up, and I give you an award for showing up. That’s all it is about.
Things to know:
- This is for real.
- This award is free but you have to show up.
- People are going to be really impressed with you after you show them this award.
- The award is NOT a calendar. It is a piece of paper that I put your name on. Selling calendars is how we pay for the awards
Here’s the official promotional video:
Once again, I set up in Patterson park. There’s a huge open field and I put my table out there with a nice tablecloth. I hade made a nice looking award and printed them at FedEx on nice paper. I had my usual business cards and event promotion cards. Plus a chair just in case I got a break from the masses of people who were constantly showing up to be awarded.
It’s 8:00am I’m there. I’ve showed up. Award given to self.
It’s 8:30am I put out the sandwich board.
There’s some people walking their dogs while looking over at me. They are possibly wondering why some guy in a tie set up a table in the middle of their dog park on a Saturday morning. But more likely, they are staring because people who show up are impressive and worth attention.
Within a few minutes I see someone biking across the horizon, dipping in and out of the bumps and holes in the field, wobbling toward me in an unrelenting effort of slowness. I had pictured the long distance being dramatic and challenging for the participants but here I was being challenged to watch one pedal toward me through the bumpy grass. Pushing down hard on one foot at a time. Slowly turning the cranks. Oh another bump. Oops almost fell. He’s very focused. Still coming at me. Methodically plodding along. I wait. I wait some more. He’s still going.
Finally he is here.
Here to claim his award and establish himself posteriously.
And he’s also here to make a prepared speech. What?
The first recipient was Dave. I know Dave. He lives in the neighborhood and he has graciously helped out with a few calendar events I’ve held. Dave shows up.
As he shouts his speech into the wind I write his name on the award, then sign it to make it official.
Just in time to take a photo of the occasion, my friend Emily shows up. Dave is recorded in pixels for all of future time and I start to fill out an award for Emily. She is curious about what Dave said in his soliloquy but the moment has passed.
As the three of us hang out and discuss how we’re really good at showing up, another friend, Ann, shows up and gets an award.
Then, from the side (in a markedly less dramatic fashion than from across the horizon) two people are walking toward us.
And I don’t know them. None of us do.
Their names are Tatiana and Atlas. Atlas is on the email list for the calendar and is here for an award.
Tatiana just wants to know why Atlas woke her up early on a Saturday to go get an award from some guy causing a small scene in a dog park.
But after Tatiana sees the high quality of the award she is impressed by her own ability to show up and is excited to be acknowledged for a thing that she did without even knowing why she was doing it.
All of the dog walkers had been keeping their distance so far (clearly understanding the need to defer space to such an important ceremony) but then one cautiously approaches. With a little coercion and a lot of confusion we get him to take an award. The look on his face indicates he does not feel that he deserves such treatment. Unfortunately, we are unable to help him overcome his modesty and he demurs to have his photo taken. I hope he’ll buy a calendar this year.
At 9:30 I pack up and headed home. On the way back I see a couple of friends walking their dog. I stop the car and asked them if they are showing up for an award.
They don’t know what I am talking about.
What a dilemma. Here they were, not showing up for an award for showing up and I was there with about 50 awards for showing up and no one to give them to.
I mean, from my point of view they sort of “showed up” from out of nowhere. That’s qualifying enough, right?
I put the flashers on, get out of the car and congratulate them as I walk over to them with their awards.
It was right then that Dave shows up on his bike, coming back from the ceremony, despite having left 30 minutes ago. Apparently he was even slower getting out of the park than he was getting into it. Dave graciously takes photos for us and I offered him a second award. He declines. This man doesn’t need an award to tell him he shows up. He’s that good.
Here’s a video recap of the event and some other photos.