Rule # 45: Showing up on time matters
” 80% of success is showing up” – Woody Allen
” Showing up on time is 100%”- Dad
Every morning I wake up at the same time 6:05am, seven days week- 365 days a year.
My process at this stage in my life is to go to whoever needs to be awoke for school, work or activity and turn on a light and tell you to get moving. Next are the dogs, whom are more realiable then me, waiting to be let out and fed.
Whenever you have traveled with me you have realized how obessive I am about getting to where I need to get on time. If we are due for an dentist appointment and we are running 10 minutes late it feels like my heart is coming out of my chest- because being late just seems wrong to me. I’m not sure how it got instilled into me, or why the anxiety is so strong when time is taken lightly, but I do know as a rule showing up – and showing up on time matters.
When I’m late for a reservation at the Olive Garden and having a minor stroke about it, you think I’m crazy, you think- who cares when we get there, the food will still be there.
BUT…I have figured out why it matters.
First is that time demands respect. You may be able to pretend it doesn’t matter, or that you are in control of how you treat time- but time has a way of flexing its muscles and showing you who’s boss.
Maybe it will be in simple early ways by getting demerits for being late and having to go to detentions to teach you its value.
Maybe it will be in you first lituarture class in college where the paper you have been puttting off since the second week of class is now due in 14 hours. Those 14 hours will make you know that you’re time’s bitch.
It could be when you start you first job and show up a couple minutes late each day because everyone else isn’t on time, and you are singled out and reminded that the raises and promotions will be hard to come by if you treat time with disrespect.
You could stubbornly ignore all these demands for respect and pretend that they are arbitary standards of people that don’t know how to keep time in check. But there will come a day when your rushing to the hospital to see someone you love, before they die, and realize that every moment stuck at a red light, time is mocking you and reminding you that it is in charge, not you.
Time will demand its respect from you, and the more you ignore it the more clearer time will make its importance known.
Second, time is valuable, prehaps the most valuable thing that you can give or receive.
When Stephen was growing up I’d always ask him what he wanted for his birthday- and he’d always answer, “a day with you”. I don’t know how he became so wise about time at such an early age- but I realized from his requests how hard it was to find and give time, and how valuable it was for both of it when it was shared. He valued time fishing, bowling or golfing more than anything else I could give him – and in return I got the gift from him to understand how valuable time is with someone.
As I have grown older I find myself asking for it more myself.
Time with Bobbi, time with the kids, time with friends all seem to mean so much more than anything else I can own or want. And each year the value has increase far faster than any investment I have made, it seems to be a logmatic cruve of value, doubling with each moment that is lost to time.
Finally, time defines us.
When others reflect on your life the most common thing that will be discussed is how you managed time, and if you showed up on time.
Yes, there will be people that tell stories about how you thrived at work, or achieved amazing accomplishments in seemly no time.
But the stories that will matter will be the ones that say, yes he was there where I needed him and when I needed him. He showed up at the right time.
As I was growing up and the 60’s generation was rationalizing less time on kids and family and more time on “me” things, the common expression was “quality time”. That quanity didn’t matter but it was the quality of time that matters. Basically I felt this was all “I’m ok, you’re ok” crap, I always thought is was a way of allivating guilt through rationalizing less time.
Let’s face it no one can be at every game, at every presentation and at every important life’s moment – you will have to make choices. But being where you need to be when you need to be there is everything- the priorities you set, the time choices you make will define who you are as a person.
How you use time will be the source of your greatest regrets in life.
Yes, you will have regret – and it will all be about time ( most of the real regret doesn’t hit you till about 50- that and long hairs from you nose and ears)
Regret is realizing you had the time to be where you should have been, but just didn’t show up on time.
Avoid it- it never goes away. Show up on time.