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Choose Yourself Story: Showing Up is 80% of Success

Showing Up is 80% of Success, Woody Allen famously said.

It’s true, I’ve experience it first-hand. In life, you need to show up to create opportunities for yourself. Nobody ever accomplished anything by watching TV. You need to meet a lot of people to take an idea or business of the ground. Just start showing up and you will win big in life and business.

Woody Allen Success Quote

I’m a big fan Woody Allen. I opened my recent book, SEO Like I’m 5, with his famous ‘80% of success is showing up‘ quote. After all, marketing in 2014 is not much different. You need to show up when consumers search for your product or service on Google, when you are spoken about on social media, or when you receive a review or a comment.

Why? Because showing up equals cash: 80% of consumers search for a product/service before purchasing it; 70% read online reviews before making purchase decisions; websites that blog regularly receive 55% more traffic and over 80% more leads compared to websites that don’t.

How To Make Millions Without Selling Out w/ James Altucher

james altucher how to make millions

Yesterday I had plans to go to a comedy show. At 3:22pm, a fellow soloprenuer Mike Fishbin sent me this note on gmail:

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 9.54.32 AM

I jumped on my feet, purchased the ticket to James’ talk hosted by the Phat Startup, and changed my plans for the night in a heartbeat. I had never met James before, yet he’s been one of the most influential mentors in my life and business. James rarely speaks publicly, so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.

The magic of showing up

If you knew anything about James Altucher, you would know that he is vary hard to get access to. He doesn’t use cell phone nor read his email. Getting face-time with him is just not an easy feat. Yet, I was able to have a meaningful conversation with James and his wife Claudia Azula Altucher, pitch Search Decoder to him in front of the entire audience, and give him a copy of my book.

How did I do it? I sat behind James and introduced myself. I opened my mouth and the words followed. That’s it. Second, when the organizers called for 10 entrepreneurs to introduce themselves, I stood up first and lined up. I didn’t think about it. It’s an instinct. You do things. You show up. You talk about them. You make friends. You win big. The choose yourself and show up‘ formula James and Woody introduced me to works like magic.

I don’t measure success by whether James remembers me or ever opens my book. I follow his teachings to live in the moment and detach myself from outcomes. I did best I could with the opportunity I created for myself. James preaches to be present, free from regrets of the past and anxieties of the future.


You show up, you do your best to create opportunities and seize them, and you move on. I don’t spend time worrying about the future, I am too busy creating opportunities in the moment.

Besides, I feel like I already won big because James and I technically ‘spoke‘ at the same event.

matthew capala james altucher phat startup how to make millions

The power of choosing yourself

I lived in Poland until the age of 23. I moved to New York 10 years ago, where I’ve led several lives: construction worker, scaffold operator, waiter, office manager, Internet marketer, entrepreneur, professional speaker, professor, and executive.


I never really intended to get involved in speaking in front of large audiences until a couple of years ago when my life took a dramatic turn: I was out of job, and struggled to make ends meet as an entrepreneur. For the first time in my life I was overexposed to debt and new contracts were slow to get signed.

I was looking for new ways to gain exposure and expand my network. I researched successful entrepreneurs in my industry, those I wanted to emulate, like James Altucher, and came to one simple conclusion: successful people are confident public speakers.

I was not comfortable speaking in front of large audiences. And, I was keenly aware of my thick Polish accent. English is my second language, so I never really believed I could become an effective speaker in America. The only way I could keep the audience captivated — I believed—was the entertainment value of watching me embarrass myself. And I did. But that’s ok. You learn from those experiences, and then you hop onto the next opportunity to grab the mic and do better.

james altucher choose yourself quote

The anxiety from deciding to become a public speaker was significant, but weighing that against the anxiety of not overcoming my situation was far greater. I have always lived my life by failing forward and have never walked away from a challenge, realizing early on in my career that: Invisibility is a fate much worse than failure.

If you are looking to improve your public speaking game, I shared couple tips on Medium on How to Become a Confident Public Speaker. If I can become I keynote speaker, anyone can.

Showing up leads to wealth. Both online and in the physical world. It will help you build your network and relationships. It will help you get new business, job offers and increase your social media presence.

Showing up has allowed me to take my life and business to an entirely new level, with access to people and places I never had before. So, whenever opportunities presents itself, just do it.

Last night I made multiple meaningful connections. I am glad I showed up.

What’s your choose yourself story?

17 replies
  1. Ryan Biddulph
    Ryan Biddulph says:

    Hi Matt,

    You are so inspiring! Having known you for a year or 2 now I can assure you, you show up more than almost anybody out there online. I learned so much about outreach from you and feel grateful for that opportunity, to meet you, and to observe you in action. Awesomeness.

    I worked a series of jobs I didn’t like at all; software sales rep, data analyst, secretary. My last job was that of a security officer n Port Newark, New Jersey. I was let go from that job when I was downsized. I too ran into heavy debt and financial problems, and even though it felt freeing yet so uncomfortable to me, chose to run online businesses. I wrote blog posts, shot videos on youtube, wrote eBooks and push myself to show up because like you, I take the Woody Allen quote to heart.

    I feel James rocks too; he’s brilliant, and an inspiration for being present, showing up, doing uncomfortable things and growing.

    I’ve no doubts that speaking where James spoke had an influence on both he and the people you were meeting with dude, because you have that type of energy.

    Thanks so much for sharing Matt.

    Tweeting through Triberr.


    • Matthew Capala
      Matthew Capala says:

      Thanks for the note Ryan, and I am grateful for any – even the tinniest – inspirational impact I can impart on you and other readers of my rumblings.

      Funny like it really all boils down to SHOWING UP. It seems be an almost natural order of things.. as someone smarter said in the past:

      Success is the difference between action and inaction

      I may add…

      Success is the difference between showing up and staying home

      You def chose yourself long time ago my man, and continue to rock the web from Fiji!

      Thx Ryan

  2. Harshajyoti Das
    Harshajyoti Das says:

    I have read James Altucher’s book “Choose Yourself” last February. It’s damn hard to catch him via email or phone but I try to follow his Twitter Q&A session on Thursdays. I am really grateful that he takes the time to answer our questions at least once a week. His time is worth millions.

    80% success is about showing up or taking the courage to do explore all opportunities.

    Matthew, I landed on your site today after reading Ryan’s latest book on “Blog commenting”. Signed up for your mailing list. Looks like an interesting site on SEO. I am a retired SEO’r, or you can say I was forced to retire to pursue my love for writing. It has also led me to author a book called, “No SEO Forever”.

    I will see you around. Catch ya later…

  3. Catherine Holt
    Catherine Holt says:

    If you plan on being a success, you definitely have to ‘show up’. There is no point in lingering as no-one is going to take notice of you and it wont get you anywhere.

    Showing up means moving out of your comfort zone at times, being committed to your goals but also committed to your followers.

    Showing up allows you to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. None of this can happen if you are popping in and out.

    If you are prepared to put in the hard work, then others will start to take note that you are the one consistently showing up!

    Tweeting through Triberr 🙂

  4. Louise Swift
    Louise Swift says:

    Loved this post. Really inspiring and interesting, especially the mentions of some of your life experiences so far. And it’s timely advice, too, as I’ve just started scheduling a lot more of the essential ‘showing up’ work for my business. Always good to get a reminder of why it’s so important.


  5. vera @ frankaboutcroatia
    vera @ frankaboutcroatia says:

    So glad I’ve stumbled across your post at Triberr, Matthew, and that I’ve read it. This is a very inspirational post. Love the fact that you overcame the accent barrier. I am not making videos for my blog for that exact reason, my Croatian accent is just too thick to start with. Haven’t heard of James Altucher before, but will check him out. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Deborah Tutnauer
    Deborah Tutnauer says:

    Hi Matt,

    Great topic. “Showing up” can occur on so many levels. You showed up for James’ talk because you know “luck” comes from seizing opportunities. From your story it sounds like you have worked hard at the part most find the most difficult – showing up for yourself. Your story and paths you have chosen point this out most clearly.

    One chooses their story by actions and decisions on the external. Internally, choosing one’s story is about changing the filter – observing and then letting go of the baggage. We all have many stories built within us from our earliest moments on earth. As we grow and change, we get to DECIDE which parts of the story are precious and which parts no longer serve us.

    We “show up” for ourselves in the present moment, but learning how to see ourselves through a different filter – and not allowing stories that no longer serve us to have power over who we are now and into the future.

    Your blog was suggested to me by Ryan Biddulph. Just in what I’ve read this evening, my first time being here, I know I’ll be back to learn more about you and what read what you share.

    Hope you are enjoying your weekend Mark!

    Deborah Tutnauer

    • Matthew Capala
      Matthew Capala says:

      Thanks Deborah, and cheers to Ryan for connecting us.

      You clearly ‘chose yourself’ and I love how your build a business around helping frustrated entrepreneurs get real about money and growth. I think you have put down a lot of valuable advise on your blog, let me know if you would ever like to post your ‘choose yourself’ story on search decoder. Cheers!


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