How many times have you sent that text or email that begins with, “So sorry! Will be a few minutes late!” or the one that reads, “Be there soon!” or the silent “So sorry!” when you run into yoga and throw your mat down to meet everyone halfway through sun salutations.
Let’s be honest. Most likely, it wasn’t about the traffic, the metro, the weather or the call that went late or the meeting that lasted longer than expected. It could have just as easily been about you.
Here’s what I’m talking about: You get to be the one in charge of your life and you are responsible to make your life’s choices. Despite it seeming like some choices are made for you, they’re not. You always have a choice. Sure, things can happen that you may not have expected or intended, but there you are — late for the next meeting, encounter, class or connection.
I get it. I have been there and been late so many times in my life and likely disappointed, annoyed or frustrated a lot of people. There was no need to shame or blame myself for being late. That never helped. But, there was an opportunity for me, and now for you, to grow from it. You get to decide where you go from this moment forward — how you want to show up, not just for others but also for yourself, your life and your career.
The “Why” Behind Being Late
When people are constantly late or running behind, it often comes from a fear of living life without chaos or deeply-rooted beliefs about themselves that have either been learned or suggested to them. It can vary from a belief that the world is happening to them and they are always a victim, to a belief that no one else “gets” their life or incredibly important career, needs, etc.
I have worked on my own self-sabotaging patterns, including that of being late, and after years of working with clients in my wellness and empowerment coaching practice, I’ve found that many of these behaviors boil down to a sense of self-worth — a worth where you believe you can live and experience your life without chaos. It’s a trust that you are worthy of having it all and that your life can be less complicated and more graceful.
… I’ve found that many of these behaviors boil down to a sense of self-worth — a worth where you believe you can live and experience your life without chaos.
The “How” to Stop Being Late
If you are willing to acknowledge the choices you get to make and create every day, then you will see how you get to choose to start showing up. How open are you to shifting? Are you willing to look at your patterns? Do you want to stop being late? Can you ditch the excuses and own your life and your choices?
When you invest in yourself and you own your choices, even if it means being late sometimes, you connect to your emotional needs and your worth. That is where everything can change.
Here are some tips and exercises to get you started:
In the morning, make a list of all you intend or desire to do that day. The act of setting up your day before it begins can make all the difference in how you show up to it.
Just Say No
Be willing to say no whenever if feels right. If you have a hard stop for a class, your next meeting, an event or even getting home to make dinner with your bestie, be willing to say no to the other person who wants just a few more minutes of your time. Of course, there may be times when you say yes, but it’s just as important to say no.
Try leaving 15 minutes early and adjust your day to see how it feels to get places on time without the scramble. Key tip: If there’s one thing, event or person you’re always late for, make an extra effort to be on time.
There’s no need to overwhelm yourself by starting everything at once. Perhaps you try two new things every week to be on time for and then just observe how you feel arriving and receiving the peaceful entrance.
Try this exercise: Write out all of the things you are normally or are regularly late for in life. It could be lunch with friends, a business meeting or even a yoga class.
Now, write a (*) or (X) next to each item. A (*) goes next to the things you love doing and are late for anyways and an (X) goes next to the things you dislike or possibly even hate doing that you’re late for regularly.
As you look at this list, begin to write out and connect to what you make excuses for that you feel ready to shift. Notice if any feelings of chaos, frustration or sadness come up for you. What do you want to give yourself time for that you relinquish for other reasons? Look at what you are late to and see where you can make new choices.
There’s always choice. You are the leader, the decider, the achiever and the common denominator of your life. Nobody does late to you. It’s your time to show up for your life and your dreams. Don’t be late!
Is being late an issue for you? What steps do you take to be more on time?
Images via Monica Friese