Several weeks ago I was facilitating a sales workshop in Atlanta. We were having a discussion about professionalism and what that looks like when we are on a sales call. Someone mentioned how important it is to always be on time. It reminded me of when I was much younger and I always wanted to complete “just one more thing,” before leaving for an appointment. Of course, that meant that I was usually either late or rushing not to be late. One day, my dad said to me, “Don’t you get tired of always being so stressed out? You know there’s no law against being early. If you’re worried about getting somewhere too early, keep a book in your car. If you get there early, get yourself a cup of coffee and read for a little bit.” At the time, this was earth shattering advice. But, since it came from my dad, I decided to give it a try. What I found is that I was a lot more relaxed when I got to my appointment and I was more focused.
Later in life, I encountered the idea that how we spend our time is a reflection of our priorities. With that framework in mind, what does it say to someone if we are late for an appointment with them? That something — or someone — else was more important. One of my favorite quotes is from the Disney Institute: “We judge ourselves by our intentions; others judge us by our actions.”