There is a workout class I attend every week and every week one woman, let’s call her Betty White, shows up 30 minutes late. The class is one hour long, so she misses half of the workout. The class begins at 5pm. She gets there at 5:30pm. Always.
At first, I thought that maybe she didn’t realize that the class started at 5pm. I just figured she always wondered why everyone was tired and sweaty before the class even starts.
But no, she knows when the class begins. I know this because she has started apologizing to the instructor for being late.
But every time she apologizes, the instructor, let’s call her Reese Witherspoon, responds the same way. The exchange goes just like this…
Betty White – “Sorry I am late.”
Reese Witherspoon – “You are right on time.”
The first time I heard that, I started to wonder if maybe Reese Witherspoon didn’t know when the class started. But that can’t be the case, give that it is her class.
Initially, this bugged me a little. Betty White was not on time. Wouldn’t it have been better if instructor Witherspoon would have said, “no problem”. Or better yet, “no problem, give me 100 push-ups.” That Witherspoon is a taskmaster.
But then I learned something that changed my outlook.
I learned that Betty White is a grandmother who takes care of her three young grand kids each day until their mom gets off work at 5pm. She can’t get to class any earlier than 5:30pm.
She is doing the best she can. And the fact that she even goes to a workout class right after chasing three kids around is impressive. Reese Witherspoon knows this and doesn’t want Betty to feel bad for being late. She let’s her know that 30 minutes is better than no minutes.
It would be easy for her to say, “class has already started, it is too late to go now.” But if she did that, she would never get a workout in. She has a lot going on in her life, but she does what she can to show up for half the class.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think I am too late to do something. I am too old to start writing another kids book. It is too late in the school year to set up a school speaking session. What is the point of starting now?
When I think like that, I don’t even start at all.
And when that happens, nothing gets done.
I need to be more like Betty White and show up no matter how late I think I will be. Who knows, maybe I will be right on time.