“More Than You Have To” Is Better Than “Less Than You Should”

Our son, Mitchell – 16 at the time of this writing – hates to be late. Even more than my wife, Amy. And she really hates being late as well. Me, well, I don’t like being late either, but at times past, my results didn’t necessarily demonstrate that. In fact, for years my thought process kind of went like this…if I’m going to be late and I’m an hour out, I’m not actually late, or stressed for that matter, until the time of arrival has actually come and gone – even if I’m still an hour out! Funny, Amy never really liked that line of thinking.  And with her help, I’ve mostly corrected. 

Back to Mitchell, who thankfully, learned his habit of punctuality from Amy.

When Mitchell showed up to work 6 minutes ahead of schedule, his manager said, “Finally someone shows up early!”  Mitchell immediately replied to him, “I’m ALWAYS this early.”  Another employee, overhearing this conversation, asked, “Why are you always here so early?”  Mitchell responded, “I see it this way: you’re either working more than you have to or less than you should. If a manager of a restaurant went up to the owner and said, ‘We have two employees, and one needs to be let go. The first one works more than he has to, and the second one works less than he should. Which one would you let go?’”  Really good point.

Punctuality is a powerful life habit, and its foundation is rooted in an extremely important life attribute – integrity. You see, Mitchell made a commitment, by virtue of his job description, to be there on time. Part of integrity is honoring our word, our commitment. And our commitment level is measured against our performance, regardless of circumstances (otherwise known as excuses). Integrity matters to him and should to us as well. Being on time, or early, is just one small, but highly important measure of integrity.

A very successful business friend of mine used to say, “If you cannot be on time, be early!” Mitchell – you have that covered and I’m working on it!