The traffic was heavier than usual, probably due to the late morning rain. When I finally pulled into the parking lot at the Tavern Grill, I was already 15 minutes late for a lunch meeting with a colleague. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find a parking space any where. When I finally rushed through the crowded lobby, I saw my friend seated on a bench waiting patiently for me. Because I was late, I had spoiled our plan of being seated in a prime location before the lunch crowd arrived.
My first words were, “I am so sorry to keep you waiting. The traffic was heavy due to the rain, I had to stop and get gas, then it took me forever to find a parking space. I just couldn’t get here any sooner.”
Then it dawned on me. She did not have any trouble making it on time. If I had only had my priorities in order and chosen not to respond to that last email and checked my gas gauge the night before, I would have easily arrived on time. This would have shown her that I respected both her and her time.
This reminded me of how easy it is to think that excuses result in forgiveness. Most problems can be resolved if we take ownership for our decisions and our actions by taking the time to plan ahead and prioritize.