Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
FOCUS: Be Early
Disciplines: Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

"The early bird catches the worm."

Have you ever noticed that people tend to be consistently early, consistently on-time or consistently late? I've known couples where this is a major issue in the relationship until either they work out a conscious compromise or one adopts the other's style.

I've always been the right-on-time type myself. Somehow I feel good about my ability to calculate just what I can get done before leaving, just how much time it will take me to get there, and as I walk in at 1:59 for the 2:00 meeting, I smile, "Yes!"

A couple of weeks ago I accidentally got to a meeting early. A phone appointment was cancelled, and I just left when I was ready, arriving at the meeting sixteen minutes early. To my amazement, there were already several people there. This was like visiting a new country -- I didn't know what early people do. Well, I'm going to tell you. They have relaxed conversations, walk around, get settled, go to the restroom, talk on their cell phones BEFORE the meeting, and have more relaxed conversations. I was astonished and delighted.

So the next day, I purposely added fifteen minutes to what would have been my usual requirement to get to an appointment just-in-time. And good thing. Because there was road construction blocking the parking area, and I had to find a parking spot and walk two blocks, and I was only four minutes early. It seemed like this message was getting stronger.

I began paying attention to the energy of people with these various styles. The early birds are definitely more relaxed. The just-in-timers are a little tense, but proud of themselves. The late-comers often try to be invisible, yet arrive surrounded by a cloud of tension from the rush.

You may think of being early as a waste of time. Things never start on time, so why get there early just to wait? My answer is to have something with you so you can be productive while you wait, or use the waiting time to be thoughtful. Last week I was early to an appointment with someone who was late. I had thirty glorious minutes to organize my next couple of weeks.

Sometimes situations don't allow you to be early. This fast-paced world often sets it up so you have to leave one meeting early just to be late at the next. Many times, however, being early may require making only a slight shift in your head. I'm not committed to BECOMING an early person, but I think I'll try it more often. I challenge you to experiment with this for two weeks.

COACHING CHALLENGE: Be early to meetings and appointments.
1. For two weeks, make the shift in your head and your behavior required to be early to things.
2. Decide ahead of time when you need to leave your house or work space to get to the meeting or appointment early. Then do it.
3. Notice any differences you experience inside yourself and as a
ponse from others as a result of being early.
4. Decide consciously whether to be an early, on-time, or late person going forward.


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the topic of being early. Call Tuesday, March 7 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)
1-985-425-2620 X925 No need to register....just call at that time!

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

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