With the new year upon us, there is one discipline that you should adopt and stick with above all else if you truly want to be successful. It is the foundation to successful athletic teams as well as a disciplined focus in the military. While I am sure you can find an exception here or there, I will make the case that in my 34-plus years in American business and acutely observing this discipline, people who focus on this discipline are predominantly more successful in what they do than those people who tend to ignore this discipline. Do you have an under-performing branch, department, sales team or company? I am a firm believer that this discipline sets the tone for everything else you set out to do and achieve.
It may very well be the greatest foundational discipline of all because….
It demonstrates personal accountability
It reveals your integrity
It builds your self-confidence
It highlights your self-discipline
It ensures you are at your best
The discipline/habit I am talking about is punctuality. I would describe punctuality as:
Being where you're supposed to be as promised
At the agreed upon time
In their article A Man Is Punctual: The Importance of Being on Time, authors Brett & Kate McKay, share the positive and negative impact on the discipline of punctuality. In this edited excerpt, I will highlight why this is the one habit you should adopt --and stick to without fail--if you want to be successful.
You see, we all get 525,600 minutes a year. No one gets more than you. No one gets less. That is why I will start with a little “tough love” on the effects of being late and move to the positives around the discipline of punctuality:
Being late is a form of stealing. That’s a tough truth, but it’s a truth nonetheless. When you make others wait for you, you rob minutes from them that they’ll never get back. Like the old saying, “Time is Money,” perhaps this is time they could have turned into money, or simply used for the things important to them. In coming to meet you at the agreed upon hour, they may have made sacrifices – woken up early, cut short their workout, told their kid they couldn’t read a story together – and your lateness negates those sacrifices. If you wouldn’t think of taking ten dollars from another man’s wallet, you shouldn’t think of stealing ten minutes from him either. Being punctual shows you value time yourself, and thus wouldn’t think of depriving others of this precious, but limited resource.
Being late disturbs the experiences of other people. Your tardiness not only robs others of their time, but of the fullness of their experiences as well. The student who interrupts a professor in the middle of his lecture; the family which climbs over you to get to their seats at the middle of the row in the theater; the man who opens the creaky door in the middle of a eulogy.
It demonstrates personal accountability. Essentially in life, there are two actions: performance or excuse. Being punctual gives you permission—to expect that others treat your time with the utmost respect. If you are not accountable for your own punctuality, how can you expect others to be accountable for theirs. We are all “CEO” of our own life and work, and as such, we must choose which action: performance or excuse, we will accept from ourselves and from those with whom we work.
Being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity. If you tell someone that you will meet them at a certain time, you have essentially made them a promise. And if you say you’ll be there at 8:00, and yet arrive at 8:15, you have essentially broken that promise. Being on time shows others that you are a person of your word.
Being punctual builds your self-confidence. Showing up on time not only tells other people you are dependable, it teaches you that you can depend on yourself. The more you keep the promises you make, the more your self-confidence will grow. And the more you gain in self-mastery, the more in control of your life you will feel.
Being punctual ensures you’re at your best. After riding someone’s bumper, speeding like a maniac, scanning for cops, and cursing at red lights, it’s hard to then turn your focus to making a presentation at a meeting or charming a date – you’re shaky and depleted from the adrenaline and stress. But when you show up on time, better yet a little early, you have a few minutes to collect your thoughts, review your materials, and get your game face on.
Being punctual builds and reveals your discipline. The punctual person shows that s/he can organize their time, pays attention to details, and can put aside this to do that – can set aside a pleasure to take care of business.
To summarize, being late hurts you personally and professionally. At Butler Street, we believe in punctuality as a core discipline and have made it an integral part of our Four Cornerstones to Success.
Contact us to incorporate the Four Cornerstones within your organization.