My friend Marina is like a celebrity in our local running community. Everyone knows her.
During recent races, as I’ve run alongside her, we can’t go far without someone cheering her on or calling out her name. I stand quietly beside her before and after races as many friends greet and hug her. I don’t blame them — she’s easy to love, and her infectious personality draws everyone closer.
I’ve noticed that when race photos are posted to Facebook albums (typically more than a thousand at once), her smiling face is nearly always tagged by the time I find it, which helps her find her pictures easily; meanwhile I scroll and scroll, looking for a glimpse of my form.
The difference between Marina’s experience and mine related to our running community highlights an important lesson for me: It’s good to be known. It also carries a question: How do you become known?
The only way to be known is to show up and engage. Marina is known because she’s joined local marathon training programs, attended training runs faithfully, and participated in dozens of races each year. She’s also well-loved because she’s engaging. She goes out of her way to express encouragement for others and is generous in expressing her care for people.
You become well-known when you show up consistently over time. Marina’s not new to the local running scene. She’s been actively and consistently involved for several years. Building up a presence and becoming known takes time.
Reinforcing your in-person presence with online sharing increases your memorability. Marina not only shows up in-person, she also shows up online. By contributing to running groups through social networking, she becomes more widely known and recognizable, which makes it easier for people to remember (and cheer for her) when they see her.
When you are known, your joy in life’s experiences is multiplied. I enjoy going to races and experiencing the excitement of the day. I know some people and it makes me happy when I see and greet them. Perhaps this is only because I’m an extrovert, but I’m betting that being more well-known and seeing more familiar faces has a multiplying effect for Marina. More friends equals more fun!
The lesson “It’s good to be known” extends far beyond my experience in the local running community. It’s powerful for anyone wanting to build a business presence. If you want to build a strong business presence, you need to be known. In order to be known, you have to show up and engage with the people who can gain value from their connection to you. Both in-person and online showing up is important for increasing your presence. Once you are well-known, your success will be multiplied — as will your joy for the journey.