There is a well-known saying that 90% of success is just showing up. I learned the truth of this at a recent event being hosted for a private group, at a private club with a really famous artist as the main speaker (ok, it was Grayson Perry). After the event, I spoke to the organizer who told me that around 20 people who had RSVP’d did not even show up or call to cancel and there had been a waiting list of around 80 people. Lot’s of people had been invited but only a small number could attend. Super annoying! I wondered if any of the people on the waiting list had just tried to show up randomly to see if there would be space. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about blockers – you know, the people who are always saying “no” and wrecking your flow, people who cancel, people who make things tougher. What if the only blocker was you?
I have found that half the time, if you show up you’ll end up in a way better position than if you had sat back waiting for permission. When I wanted to go to grad school, I tried to organize a trip to LA with my classmates to attend a graduate school fair. Nearly everyone said no and one guy came along just to hang out. I had a good time (even though I had to drive through all of the smoke coming from a massive fire in the area) but more importantly I was able to network with admissions staff from several schools. Well, shocker, shocker when I got into a great school a year later and most people in my class seemed to be contemplating whether or not to move back in with their parents.
Don’t take it too far
Now, I am not saying that you should run around crashing dinner parties you haven’t been invited to or get in a fight with the bouncer when you’re denied access. However, you should think about opportunities to meet people and how this could impact your goals. Sometime it pays to show up and see if there is room for one more or if there has been a cancellation, etc. If you are there physically in person at the door, it is probably going to be a lot harder for them to say “no”. The next time someone tells you that “there is no room left in the inn” just stick around and see what happens next – you might get into grad school or meet someone famous!