Just Showing Up

80 to 90 % is Just Showing Up

The Front

The Front (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Woody Allen has been quoted as saying that 80 to 90 % of success is due to “just showing up.” Apparently this quote is controversial, as I found out when I searched for it. Some people think that “just showing up” is not to be applauded. They say that we should strive to make a positive difference by contributing more value than our mere presence would provide.

I can understand the different opinions about the value of merely “showing up.” However, I have experienced many circumstances wherein being in the right place at the right time made all the difference. In fact, I have often stated in training before large audiences that “if you want to get lucky and be in the right place at the right time, BE IN A LOT OF PLACES.”


I remember two examples of situations where being there was extrememly valuable. (By the way, I really like the movie, “Being There,” with Peter Sellers and Shirley McLaine.)

In the 1990’s I attended the first presentation in our city of a new network marketing business. It was held at a Holiday Inn. I went to find out what it was all about. I happened to bump into an acquaintance in the men’s room at the hotel. I asked him if he was there for the presentation, and he said no. I invited him to attend it with me. We both signed up, him under me, and we built one of my top five legs under him. We both made five figure monthly incomes from that leg, and he became one of my three top leaders.

Right Place at the Right Time

I met one of the other top leaders among my top five front line in that business in a parking lot where I recognized his name on the license plate of his Lincoln Town Car. Formerly I had noticed his name in a directory of a barter organization I belonged to. I approached him (took action) and invited him to have coffee at a local restaurant. I could go on and on… All of the other three top leaders on my front line were met in similar “lucky” situations. I knew NONE of them before. By helping those five succeed, I earned approximately $500,000.00 gross income in the next four years from the $15,000,000.00 collective sales of the 17,000 people who came into our networking business under those five lucky “strangers.”

Serendipity is a major factor in the success of many “winners.” If they are honest, most highly successful people, like Bill Gates, will tell you that luck had a lot to do with their success. But Bill also commented that he was not the only one in that place at that time. He recognized the opportunity and he acted on it. It has been said that success happens when preparation meets opportunity.


Recently I showed up for a business networking “meetup” at a nice restaurant. The only problem was that the organizer did NOT show up. My wife and I were the only people who showed up. Fortunately we benefited from serendipity and were rewarded for showing up when we found ANOTHER DIFFERENT networking group meeting at the same place at the same time. We did NOT go home disappointed. We adjusted our “sails” and took advantage of the situation in which we found ourselves.  It turned out that by a fortunate “accident” we were in the right place at the right time. We met some like-minded  influential entrepreneurs who resonated with our philosophy, and we were very glad to have been there to meet them. “We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”

“Serendipity is the faculty of finding things we did not know we were looking for,” said Glauco Ortolano.  Business is transacted between people, and it helps to go out and circulate among the people.  Make it a point to be in a lot of places. Sometime you will find yourself in the right place at the right time. If you are prepared and recognize the opportunity, you may be as lucky as Bill Gates.

Bill Gates

Cover of Bill Gates

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