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A Short Story About Show-Up Barry

A group of people in a convention talking in groups in a salon with big windows.

Here’s a short story about show-up Barry. It happened a few years back that had a profound impact on me.  I was part of a small cohort from a large group of lawyers that had won a contest.  The prize was a sit-down interview with a very successful and famous business owner/entrepreneur where we all got to ask any and all the questions we wanted.

Well, we were all so excited on the day of the event that we didn’t pay attention to really anything else in the room.  Turns out this meet and greet were put on the main calendar of the larger group of law firm owners that were attending the conference.  Enter Barry.  Toward the end of the session, the attendees – there were about 20 of us – all went around the room to talk about what we learned about ourselves and others in the contest that we could apply to our lives and our businesses.  When we got to Barry, he puzzlingly stated, “I didn’t even enter the contest, was I not supposed to be here?  It was on the calendar, so I just showed up.”

The rest of the room lost it with laughter.  Not only was Barry uninvited, but he also turned out to be the star of the show.  The focus of the room quickly shifted towards hilarity and admiration for the guy that just showed up, and away even from the featured guest.  (You may have been expecting some resentment or anger from the room – but that’s why it’s important to be careful who you surround yourself with.  These were all positive, can-do business owners, and if Barry showed up on accident and got to take part in the event, good for him).  We decided to dub him Show-Up Barry and to all learn a lesson.

The truth is, I hardly remember what else was said in the room that day.  But I do remember the lesson from Show-Up Barry.  Barry saw an event on a calendar, and he showed up.  He didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to be there.  No one asked him to leave.  No one noticed.  He learned something that day, and so did everyone else.

I have heard before that 80% of life is just showing up.  That quote seemed too simple and didn’t resonate with me until the day I met Show-Up Barry.  Now, anytime I hesitate to go to an event or if I’m feeling shy about entering a room of people I don’t know, I think of Barry.  Just showed up, and amazing things can happen.

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