Super Mario Bros. provides one of the best examples of the difference between participating in our positions and simply showing up to hit the flag at the end of today's round. It doesn't take much to recall the images of Mario jumping up and down collecting coins, and hopefully, saving the Princess in the end. In much the same way that Mario had options for how he completed his tasks, we too have a choice in how we participate in our career.
In the end, when the fireworks go off and Mario has walked through the castle door, it doesn't really matter how he chose to get through the round. All the better if he chose to collect his coins and gather the fire power needed for the next round. But if he simply got through it and avoided the pit falls, well he still got to walk through the blackened door. Imagine this analogy playing out in our positions, but instead of a Mario who collects all the coins, finds the free life and all the mushrooms while still beating the clock, and a Mario who just shows up and walks through the door at the end, you have two workers showing up for their work day. The difference is in the participation.
Why would someone pass on the chance to collect all the benefits of their opportunity, skip over the offer of adding substance to their career and simply show up rather than participate? If the outcome is the same at the end of the round you may be asking yourself why not? Here's why not; the long run. While both Mario's leave the round the same no matter their participation, they are not both prepared for what's next. If you are showing up to work and filling a position or title and not actually participating in the organization you are a part of, then like the Mario who just got through the level to say he was done, you won't last very long in the next round.
Participating in our positions means that we are invested in what we are doing. No team wants to work with someone who isn't on board or giving value to their process. Success, real success over your career will be hard to sustain when you don't have the substance that participating ensures. When there's a meeting, be prepared for it. When you see an opportunity to correct or avoid a defect, take the initiative. Own the pride that you have for your position and the people you work with. Be a PART of what you do and where you do it.
If all else fails ask yourself, would you rather go into the next level of your career prepared and fully stocked with experience or would you prefer to move forward having just shown up. It's the difference between a fighting chance against those slippery fire breathing flowers and a certain short fall on that first jump.