The other 20 percent

Woody Allen told us that 80 percent of success is showing up. So after we show up, we fill the other 20 percent with everything else. Much of the time, we fit things in. Fill in the cracks. Push the boundaries. We’re taught, even, to portend busy-ness even when we’re not.

But then, we’re left with following up. And like development work that often gets short-shrifted at the end of the project, so does the follow-up. And following up is, in fact, perhaps the most important act of all.

Following up — after a call, a meeting, a Skype chat, an email, a chance meeting on the street — is not optional. Henry Petroski reminds us that ordinary objects must evolve into useful things. Seth Godin reminds us that every interaction could be the whole thing. The start could be the end. Sometimes we don’t have a choice. Other times, we do.

See also:
Free advice: If 80% of success is just showing up, 90% is showing up early

In a culture where we fit as many meetings in as we can, get as many appointments as we can, add as many names as we can to modern-day Rolodexes, we forget that getting is only the beginning. If showing up is 80 percent, then in that 20 percent we must leave room for the follow up. And if we don’t have time to, then we don’t have time at all.

Getting your foot in the door is meaningless unless you can close with grace and meaning. And you don’t have time to start unless you have time to finish.