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Leader: Sometimes you need to just show up

The start of a four-year journey
At the beginning of the Covid lock-down, my athletic wife got me started on my CrossFit journey. The gym she was going to immediately pivoted to free Zoom classes. My life of travel as a business consultant had come to a screeching halt, I finally had time to get serious again about fitness, and I followed my wife’s lead on joining these on-line classes streamed to an iPad in our backyard.

I hid from my coach the first several weeks I did CrossFit
What I didn’t realize at first was that the coach didn’t just instruct us in a daily set of body-weight exercises, he actually wanted to watch us – via Zoom – do burpees, air squats, push-ups, sit-ups and a variety of other exercises. At first, I tilted the iPad screen or focused it on my wife or anything I could so that the coach couldn’t see how bad I was at these exercises. It became a reoccurring game of hide-and-seek between Coach Justin and this embarrassed participant.

Consistency builds momentum
But, in the ensuing weeks and months, I slowly got back into shape. Our gym re-opened, I found a community of friends who loved fitness, and I came to believe what Coach Justin had been saying all along: “just show up” – just show up and let the process work.

Four years later, I’m reaching fitness goals I haven’t reached in decades. At the beginning of this year, I set two ambitious fitness goals for myself. I hit the first one – a bench-press maximum I hadn’t reached in more than 30 years – before the end of June. My second goal is still in front of me, motivating me to just keep showing up.

Jesus prepared his friends and disciples for their future as leaders
Those of us who aspire to follow Jesus will remember he spent three years molding a group of his followers – most of whom initially showed very little leadership potential – into world-changing leaders. These followers didn’t know it at that time, but they were doing their own version of “just show up” as they spent time with Jesus, building momentum that would circle the globe in the next two thousand years.

As his earthly time with them was drawing to an end, Jesus asked these friends of his what they had learned about him. Peter’s response? “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matt. 16:16). Peter’s awareness after three years was in some respects “the beginning of the end” of them just being followers of Jesus. Now they were also being commissioned to be leaders of God’s new movement to change the world.

Leadership Consistency builds Leadership Momentum
We are fifteen years into growing our small business. What looked like very little when I started leading our efforts years ago has grown to a $5m/year local business with a maturing management team, more than 175 team members and the ability to serves thousands of customers annually.

When I see what we’ve accomplished, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Bill Gates, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” To paraphrase Gate’s quote for leaders, “Most leaders overestimate the impact of their influence in one year, but underestimate the impact of their influence over ten years.”

Fellow leader: Where do you need to just keep showing up? What evidence do you see that momentum is starting to build?