Watermark Learning Blog

Try to Show Up Every Day

Deadlines, changing priorities, and relentless distractions make it challenging to bring our professional best to every task at work. Some days are frustrating, some infuriating. No one feels like they are hitting on all cylinders in terms of creativity and energy 100 percent of the time.

But what about those core values that characterize our personal best? We should filter every interaction in any situation based on our personal code of ethics that we expect of ourselves every day.

Recently, I found myself reflecting on what exactly those core values are for me and decided to put together something that spoke to my values and intentions to use as daily guide posts for my behavior. I wanted something that would be easy to remember and that I could use as a mantra of sorts to focus at the beginning of the day.

The individual ideas captured in this mnemonic aren’t new, original, or complicated. They are simple, familiar ideas packaged in a way that personally resonates. The expression is a helpful reminder of what to reasonably expect of myself no matter the circumstance, conflict, or obstacle encountered. Today and every day, I make a commitment to SHOW UP.

S    Speak the truth

Leading with this reminds me of the importance of speaking the truth as a cornerstone of self-trust. This is a good reminder, too, that “I don’t know” is a good answer when it’s the truth. No one goes wrong with regular commitments to being honest.

H    Honor the absent

I borrowed “Honor the Absent” from a school here in Minneapolis. What do I say about those who are not present? My personal commitment to speaking well or not at all of people who are not present keeps me from engaging in the negative, and often tempting, gossip.


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O    Own my decisions and actions

For every decision and action I take, I need to be prepared to take responsibility for it. If I can’t raise my hand to own it or sign my name to it, I won’t do it or say it.

W    Weigh all perspectives fairly

In the face of conflict or different opinions, I will remember to disagree with ideas, not people. I will take all perspectives into consideration and weigh them based on merit and context, not politics or personal bias.

U    Understand others’ motives

We all know there are two sides to every story. I find myself forgetting that sometimes because it is easy to get consumed with the story immediately in front of me. Before passing judgment, I will truly make an effort to understand where others are coming from and why.

P    Participate positively

With every interaction, every word, every exchange, I will seek to do so in a way that contributes positively. I may not have the answer or solution, but I will try to shed light on the situation, add a perspective not yet considered, provide new information, ask good questions, or just stay silent if the situation calls for it.

I have this posted where I can see it and challenge myself to SHOW UP each morning. How about you? Did you SHOW UP today?

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