By Jessica Rector
I’ll admit, being on time was never my strength. I would always plan to leave on time, but something would come up (namely me thinking it wouldn’t take me so long to get ready, me “just” having to do something quickly, or sleeping just five more minutes which turned into 15). Then I’d end up leaving 15 minutes later than I planned. That was before I had a baby. So you can imagine how being a single mom to a newborn made that 20 times worse.
When my son was just two months old, we went to a football game. I planned on getting to the game after the first quarter. With a small baby, I didn’t want to be there the whole game. It was one disaster after another that morning, and I ended up getting to the game in the third quarter.
As my son got a little older, this changed. I figured out how long it would take me to get things together, then I’d tack on about 30 minutes extra…because you never know what could come up, a poopie diaper, his not eating quickly enough, or just a breakdown from things not going the way I expected (not that it happened often but you never know). I got better with being closer to on time, but still not quite on time…and you can’t definitely count out being early.
Then I went to a woman’s entrepreneur conference with the lady who is now my coach. At the conference, she said two things that really struck me. The first is, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” The second is taking personal responsibility for yourself. It’s easy to blame others or things that come up and not take responsibility for our own actions.
I thought I was pretty good at holding myself accountable, until I heard her relate it to being late. When you are late, you don’t hold yourself accountable. What does that say about you not only to yourself but also to your clients? Being late isn’t respecting your time, others’ time, or what you have left to do in the day. In essence, when you’re late to something, it throws off your whole day.
One time, I was meeting a friend for lunch and a playdate. The weather was bad, and I had to drive 3 hours one way to meet her. Why I was driving three hours one way for lunch and a playdate, I wasn’t quite sure, but I had agreed to do it. I woke up late, so I left my house late. Then I ended up getting to lunch about 45 minutes late. She was staying in town, so she wasn’t at the restaurant that whole time waiting for me, but she was still somewhere waiting to meet me.
I had a phone meeting that I had timed perfectly for my drive back. Since I arrived late, the phone meeting ended up cutting into the playdate time. So when I left late that morning which was the very first thing of my day, it had a snowball effect. Everything else in my day was late as well.
After listening to what my coach said about being on time, I realized I don’t want people to think being late (or really being disrespectful of others) is how I do everything in my business, because it’s not, so I needed to hold myself accountable to that. I’m not only doing a disservice to others, I’m doing a disservice to myself. I have a duty to respect other people’s time and my time as well.
Although I’ve never been late to an appointment with a client, when you are, you can lose them as clients. They will think if you can’t even be on time with them, what else will you not do that’s expected or professional courtesy?
Now, I’m on time (and even early many times), because I know I owe it to myself, to respect my purpose, and to hold myself accountable. I also know that how I do one thing is how I do everything.
As a single mom and founder of The Single Mom Movement, Jessica Rector knows how single moms are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed. With targeted private coaching, programs, and school, she connects single moms to happiness, fulfillment, and empowerment by using her proven strategies. Clients praise Jessica for getting massive results after one session.