We recently had an issue making it to religious education on time on a Sunday morning. The cause – one of the kids, maybe a certain young man in particular, was “working” hard to make the polar glaciers look like fast moving landslides!
When we finally made it into the car to head over to the church I used the time to have a little conversation with the kids. I explained to the offending party that since we were all riding together that not only would this reflect poorly on him…er, I mean them, but also on his, er… I mean their siblings.
I told the kids a true story from way back in the 5th year in my career as a financial advisor. By that point I had had an opportunity to meet and work with numerous wealthy individuals in & around our community. I had found over the years that some people could be very inconsiderate with regards to my time.
There was one wealthy gentleman, in particular, that was so inconsiderate of my time, on numerous occasions, that I eventually just stopped doing business with him. A couple of times I would actually be at the designated meeting place and 15 minutes later he would still not be there. Finally, I would call him on his cell phone – and he would just say that lunch wouldn’t work for him that day – and we would have to try again some other day. No apology or anything!
In stark contrast, there were other individuals that were always respectful of my time. George Akel, was one such individual & true gentleman.
…but if you don’t care enough to manage you time and calendar and all the other variables that you have some control over to make sure you’re not late – then you really just don’t care~Chip Williamson
During that 5th year in business, my wife and I had agreed to reach out to people that we respected and held on high esteem to request they mentor us. I reached out to George, who I had known for just a couple of years and had met through a colleague. He was a prominent businessman & was a very well respected member of our community. He remembered me – and I was very honored that he agreed to meet with me and serve as a mentor.
One time that year we had a lunch scheduled and I was waiting over at his offices. Our routine had become that I would drive over to his office and then we would ride together to wherever we were to have lunch. While I was waiting there the office phone rang and the receptionist answered it. It was George calling to let me know that he had just gotten out of a doctor’s appointment that had taken longer than he expected. He explained that he would be right over.
I was so impressed by this simple act of consideration! Here was a prominent & important man in our community – and not only had he been gracious in giving his time to mentor me – but went out of his way to let me know he was running a couple minutes late. Yes, he was just a couple of minutes late – despite there being circumstances that weren’t even under his control! Wow – that really made me feel respected and valued!
Well, we continued on have our famously long & animated lunches for another 12 years or so before he passed away. Never in all those 12 years was he late again.
So this man of stature & prominence was considerate to a fault with regards to my time – a young (ok – younger) man of little to no consequence in our community. How could I not learn something from this experience?
Being on time is a way to demonstrate more than just a courtesy to another person. It is about mutual respect. When two people make an appointment to meet – they are both carving time out of what might be a very busy day for them. To show up late, or even never at all, is a very stark and raw declaration that your time, problems or both are more important than their’s.
I realize most people don’t show up late on purpose – but if you don’t care enough to manage you time and calendar and all the other variables that you have some control over to make sure you’re not late – then you really just don’t care.
The most respectful among us even make reasonable efforts / provisions to account for the variables that are outside of their control such as traffic and other people.
Oh – and when in doubt – better early than late!
The Shoe on the Other Foot…
So the kids where competing in a Rube Goldberg competition (See my post: ADVENTURE UPDATE # 031: “DADDY, I WANT A GIRAFFE THAT POOPS SKITTLES!!”) and Gracie was anxious to be there on time. She was really concerned that her brother would make us all late. Her concern was real (and well warranted) because she was talking about this WEEKS before the competition. Gracie wanted us to set an alarm for Dominick for 4:00 AM so we could make sure we were there by 9:00 AM.
Well, we were EARLY, very early! In-fact, we were the first ones there, other than the organizers and staff.
So we waited,
….. and waited…….
Eventually people started to show up – bus loads of student teams. The Event start time soon passed and the competition had yet to start. Someone was very annoyed.
No Not Gracie – but DOMINICK!!
Seems that he doesn’t mind when other people are waiting for HIM – but he sure didn’t like having to wait for anyone else!
I told Dominick that i estimated that there were about 340+ people waiting for the event to start. And the reality of it was that there was probably ONE student on ONE team that was holding up that ONE team from getting there on time. And the fact that that ONE team was not there was holding up the ENTIRE competition and the 340+ people there for it!
ONE kid …. who was probably trying to squeeze in a little extra sleep, a second bowl of Fruit Loops and a game or two of Mario Carts (or maybe a Dan TDM video)….
Yes – the competition FINALLY started about 50 minutes late!!!
We are all busy, but that is no excuse for failing to have enough respect for someone else to at least be on time!
Don’t let the message that you send others before you even show up to be one of indifference, inconsideration and disrespect. Rather, show them through your actions & promptness that you respect both them and their time.
When you have a meeting set up with someone else, or an event to attend, there is no better way to demonstrate & covey a genuine message of respect for both them & their time, than by being on time!