Show Me!

show-meSometimes the only way to prove yourself is to persevere. This applies across the range of experience. If you are young and you want others to listen to you and to trust you, then live in such a way that makes trust possible – and not just for a week or a month – but for as long as it takes.

Do you want to be “discovered” and appreciated on your job? Then be that employee who sticks with his or her work; be the one who can be counted on. Do you want to have a voice in this culture, to have a platform to say or communicate what you feel must be said? Then, you have to earn that platform by sheer endurance, integrity, and hard work.

The Apostle Paul, writing to his apprentice Timothy – who would be labeled as a “Millennial” today – gave clear instructions: “By word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity, stay at your post.” Resilience. Steadiness. Patience. These are the ingredients that lead to a life of influence, of “being heard,” and effecting change.

If Paul were writing today, to either a young Millennial or to those of us who are older, he might allude to a good, Midwest example to prove his point. He might say, “In the end, everybody is from Missouri,” because Missouri has the best state motto of the whole American lot (except for New Hampshire’s). Missouri is the “Show Me State.”

The folklore behind that maxim, if it’s to be believed and I can’t see why it shouldn’t be, originated in Joplin, Missouri. Sometime in the 1800s a group of miners left there to go to work in the silver mines of Colorado. The Joplin miners had been mining lead, not silver. Not only was it a different type of ore, the Rocky Mountain terrain and different mining techniques proved initially troublesome for the Missourians.

These Joplin workers weren’t dumb, unskilled, or incompetent. They were simply new, and they required some orientation and instruction. The Colorado pit bosses began saying things like, “That man is from Missouri. You’ll have to show him how to do it.” Other Missouri miners didn’t wait for their supervisors to get involved. Eager to learn and get to work, they showed up on the job with, “Show me!” being the first words out of their mouths.

The motto stuck, and while its original use was a sort of slight or a sneer, it has become nothing less than a compliment. Missourians – literally or figuratively – are those persons who operate pragmatically and honestly. They have to have their hands on the truth, and see “the proof” for themselves.

When it comes to credibility, everyone is from Missouri. You must live and act in such a way that “shows your work.” How else will you demonstrate that you have anything worth saying? So, stay with it and at it – whatever “it” is for you – and remember, that the best way to prove yourself is to persevere.

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