Are You Waiting For Someone?
One time I had a meeting with someone I was introduced to via email. We had a nice email exchange and agreed to meet for breakfast at a relatively busy spot in midtown. I got there early and grabbed a seat at one of the tables as the waitress came over. She looked at me, poured me some water and asked:
Are you waiting for someone?
I told her I was and she went to get an additional menu and place setting. It was about five minutes until the meeting was supposed to start.
Then it was five minutes after . . .
Then 10 minutes after . . .
Eventually, at about 20 minutes with no notice, I started to collect my things. It was at that moment that she came in and promptly sat at the table. She reintroduced herself, whipped open the menu and called the waitress over ordering something pretty substantial for herself. I ordered some oatmeal and an orange juice. She didn’t tell me why she was so late or ask me anything, she simply launched into her
story about the business she was starting and how great it was. I politely listened and asked relevant questions and she just kept going. I like to refer to these meetings as “steamroller meetings” This is when someone spends the entire meeting selling themselves or a service as if you aren’t even in the room. In many ways, I felt like I wasn’t needed for the whole discussion because it wasn’t a discussion, it was a monologue.
Towards the end of the meeting, the server came over and presented the check. She looked at me and asked if it would be ok to split it. I agreed even though I had ordered something much smaller, and when I put down what I estimated was half, I was told that I hadn’t put in “enough”. I put down another few bucks and then she told me that she had to “run” to her next meeting. As she was running out she said that she was very interested in the work I was doing and would love to get together again.
Needless to say, we did not get together again.
As I looked back on that experience, it made me think more and more of this idea of waiting for someone. Had I decided that 10 or 15 minutes was enough, I may have avoided that entire ordeal. On the flip side, had that meeting ended up being a great one, I would have been glad I waited. There is certainly a factor of never knowing what a meeting will or will not bring, but in really thinking about that time and that wasted money I have come to the following conclusion:
Waiting for someone means making the conscious choice to give up some of YOUR time.
Now you may be able to get a few things done on your phone or on Twitter in the interim, but you won’t feel as fresh in the meeting because your mind will have been somewhere else for 10-15 minutes. Our time is our most valuable resource so it’s incredibly important that we pay attention to when someone else is controlling it.
This doesn’t just apply to meetings either. If you have a project and you are waiting on someone else to help you complete it, you need to be careful of letting that person take possession of your time. We are not able to get our time back. We can always make more money or take more meetings, but we can’t add more hours to the day.
I had that meeting three years ago and it still pops into my head, because it was a moment in which I let someone take time from me that I will never get back. So today, I want you to look at your projects and be honest with the answer:
Are you waiting for someone?
And more importantly . . .
Is it WORTH it?