A key part of the Dale Carnegie course was weekly presentations drawing from our life experiences. Each presentation started with me introducing myself by name and three show-up words. The first time, many of the students were confused and asked for context: what exactly did show-up words mean?
Well, they can be nouns, adjectives, or a set of keywords. Picking these words is an exercise in self awareness and recognizing one’s principles. What are the qualities or traits for myself that I want to bring to the table for the situation I am facing? What are the words that define, not just the person that I am but the person that I really want to be? We were just picking three concepts, but the question was big. How does one summarize everything they are and aspire to be into such a brief summary.
What is the benefit of picking these concepts and making them tangible? When you stand by them, give yourself a pat on the back. When you don’t, change the regret into a resolution or a lesson; grow from it. When you don’t know what to do, revert back to these ideas and what they would have you do. Self awareness in any given moment can help you to be a better version of yourself.
This is not a quick exercise. Here are some ideas for awesome show-up words that were used by students in my class or I thought should belong on such a list, and some descriptions to indicate why.

  • Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
  • Kindness: being friendly, generous, and considerate to others
  • Persistent: steadfast in doing something despite difficulty or delay in success
  • Growth-orientation: looking to go beyond what you are today and recognizing its potential and importance
  • Resilient: able to bounce back from adversity and overcome setbacks
  • Caring: doing good things for others and showing them that their welfare is important
  • Hard working: nothing can replace a strong work ethic in getting us to where we want to go
  • Learner: always be a student of life because it will never run out of things to teach you

One thought on “How Do You Show Up?

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