Showing Up

If you are involved in a wedding, you know how hard it is to get people to RSVP. I’m not sure why–are they holding out for a better date, a more exciting plan? For some reason, people who know how important it is to respond, don’t.

RSVPIn the case of the class today, I had a full class signed up. Then two people dropped out. They told me, and I adjusted. Last night I packed and loaded papers, inks, gloves, brushes, glues, gesso–enough for all the people who signed up. It filled a Rubbermaid container big enough so I needed a hand-truck to roll it into the store.

And then, to my surprise and disappointment, only two people showed up. They were the nicest, smartest, and most delightful people any instructor could ask for, but the rest of the people didn’t show up, didn’t call, and didn’t notify the store.

To make matters worse, I had not asked them to pay ahead of time. And I always do that. This time, I had some trouble getting the PayPal button to stick on my website, so I just asked for checks. Each person said they would pay at the class.

That’s a red flag right there. I like trusting people and believing the best will happen. In this case, it didn’t. And I own the responsibility for making a basic business mistake–not getting paid up front.

thousands-of-fast-food-workers-walked-out-of-work-to-protest-low-payA fast calculation shows me I earned about $7.00 an hour creating and presenting this class. That alone is incentive enough to remind me to insist on payment up front. Having paid, participants remember better, don’t look for other things to do, and, in a time when it’s not something people do easily, they commit to showing up.

Showing up is important. It’s a sign of character,  credibility, reliability, and responsibility. It’s who you want to be. It also keeps the balance of trust and easy-going behavior alive. People who don’t show up create instructors who tighten up their rules and hone an edge of protection onto their attitude.

We show up in the world with our character showing. Make yours something people talk about behind your back with admiration.

Quinn McDonald learns something every time she runs a class.