Dad’s Life Lesson
Growing up in Fremont Ohio, my dad instilled something in my four sisters and I so strongly, it’s still with us every single day. His golden rule of “if you aren’t early, you’re late!” was to him a key life lesson. (And by early, he meant by at least ½ hour!)
Sunday morning 8 am mass. Church was maybe an 8-minute drive away, yet we were all loaded in the car and backing out of the driveway by 7:30 am. Without fail. If we weren’t early, we were late. My dad hated, and hates, to be rushed. (Side note: His love of ironing, which did not get instilled in me, just proves that point!)
This “be early” lesson has followed me throughout life. I’ve been early for everything in my life. Jobs. Interviews. Parties. Church. School functions. You name it.
What Being “Early” (On Time) Has Taught Me
#1. Being in a rushed mentality is an awful way to live because the chaos of a rushed mentality overflows into every other aspect of your day
#2. An “ahead of time” mentality has allowed me to develop my own Perpetual-State-of-Preparedness processes that allow me to (most times) completely avoid #1.
If I was to be on the job at 8, you can bet I was there by 7:30 – dressed and ready to roll. I needed to set the parameters for my own day. Why not give myself a little space, time for a few deep breaths? Then I’m prepared to start promptly at 8:00 and feel confident in the fact that I am running my day; not the other way around.
A Gift to Myself
Did I expect to get paid for showing up “early” (on time)? Never. Really. The thought never entered my mind. No one asked me to be early. I was doing this for myself. That’s part of the way dad’s lesson really impacts all of life. The being early mentality set me up for success.
I do not understand how, when someone’s “shift” is 8 to 5, they come rolling into the parking lot at 7:59, only to rush in the door and totally scramble their day away. And if they are standing at the time clock at 8 am with their coat on, it’s guaranteed they are not starting their “work” promptly. I’ve seen people show up at 7:55, thinking they are “early.” So what do they do? Clock in and go put on some makeup, because they didn’t have time at home. Or grab something to eat quick. You read that right. They clock in first!
Prepping Time Leads to Success
Clocking in should never be the absolute beginning of anyone’s work day. The absolute beginning is the prepping. First you get ready, then you get set, then at your 8 o’clock start time, you’re ready to go. If your job starts at 8:00, that means being in your position, ready to fire sharply at 8:00! This is all part of the whole life lesson my parents gifted to me.
By teaching me that on time means being early, they set me up for success. Getting to my job half an hour early meant I was prepping myself so when I was on the clock I could do the best job ever. Prep time is an investment in myself, in my own success! If I can’t invest in my own success by prepping for a perfect day, how could I expect anyone else to invest in me?
There was no way I was going to start behind the eight ball and have it rolling after me all day! I wasn’t going to start my day out scrambling. That would be setting myself up for a day of never getting ahead. You know that’s what happens. You rush through the whole day, only to be so behind by quitting time, that now, you are scrambling to make sure you are able to clock out right at 5! (Staying until the job is complete is for another life lesson we can discuss later.) But just think, if you would just invest your time and energies to better preparing your day for success, your end of the day mayhem could have been avoided.
Above and Beyond Expectations
Did anyone expect me to be “early” (on time in the Frampton world)? No! I expected it of myself. For myself. I want to exceed. I want to shine. If you give me a goal, I smash it. And yes, even if it means using my own time to get myself there!
Does this mean I couldn’t get the job done in the time allowed? That the expectations were too great?
No. It simply means that I set myself up every day for success. I automatically carved out “cush” time, just in case something went awry. That way I was mentally prepared for my “normal” day. And that mental settledness gave my mind and energies space to better embrace any emergencies or chaos that might develop throughout the day.
Dad’s Lesson Impacts All of Life
I could slop through a day. And yes, some days it might have been fine. But others, I might have wanted to cry before the day was over. Slop in any area of your life leads to sloppy thoughts, sloppy execution, and running in circles.
I firmly believe if you start your day out prepared, you end the day with satisfaction. And that’s true no matter how hectic the day might have been in between.
There are so many negative comments in public forums about not having time to get jobs done, how the bosses are mean, how a team member got yelled at for not being prepared. I just want to repeat for them Dad’s life lesson: “if you aren’t early, you’re late!” And I want to ask them: “What have you invested of yourself, and given to yourself to excel? What have you personally done to elevate yourself?”
Believe me, no one is going to be interested in elevating you if you aren’t interested enough to elevate yourself. Commit to making your own day better. Start out by coming in a bit earlier and prep for your day. Watch what happens.
Do you want to be elevated within your current position? Do you wish for wage increases, growth opportunities, more time off, and the fabulous feeling of a job well done? Earn it. By learning. Invest in yourself. Invest your own time in order to grow.
Learn to be organized. Regulate your daily processes and your thoughts. Elevation and wage increases do not just happen because you punch a time clock.
Start implementing this life lesson in everyday routines. While my dad taught me to always be prepared, my mom did too, in her own way. Like tri-folding bath towels in a specific way that made the closet always look neat and organized. And making our beds as soon as we got up every day. To this day, I make my bed every single morning without fail. I start my day out and end my day as I want. And what I want is to not be rushed or hit with chaos.
Ask my four girls. I’m passing this lesson for life on to them too. They may hate it now, but like me, they are going to be so glad their parents gave them this beautiful gift. The gift of being early, prepared, and organized! The gift of success. Thanks Dad. Thanks Mom. I love you.