“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
—Sheryl Sandberg

If you’re running late for a meeting, who are you thinking about? Probably yourself! You’re probably thinking, OH CRAP, I’m going to be late! Or worse, I’m already late!

Well, the most impactful connections occur when we’re also thinking of the other person’s experience. If you want to be the best version of YOU, get conscious to your thoughts and consider shifting them so that you consider the other person —the person who’s waiting for you or relying on you. Lean in to the problem, the challenge you need to clean up, with an intent to find a solution that’s a WIN for everyone—not just for you.

We often fill our days with “stuff” a lot of fillers and don’t take a moment to realize all the impacts to our time. We’ve become increasingly protective of our time; every second counts. Therefore, when you realize you won’t make a commitment on time PAUSE, perhaps pull over to make a call or send a text to say, “I’m still coming! I’ll be there soon.” This way the person knows she has a few minutes to check email, get a cup of coffee, or just relax. The person has a CHOICE!

September 21 is National Clean Up Day.
I find this hilarious: Does that mean we can be slobs the other 364 days of the year?

We tend to think of the Spring as cleaning time, but actually the Fall feels more like a fresh start to me. Maybe it’s the hot apple cider, leaves changing, hayrides, Halloween, or the start of a new schedule, and the crisp clean fall air. Maybe all of it! I always like to do a good Fall cleaning—of my house and also of my life. I reflect on what’s working or not. I pause and confirm that my actions are in line with my values. I look at whether or not I’m accomplishing goals. I ask, Am I GROWING! Or What do I need to change or CLEAN-UP?

Take a moment to think about yourself. Forget your house for a moment. Consider your joy or sense of fulfillment. What are you thinking about? What might you need to clean up in YOUR LIFE?

We can all make a mess of our circumstances, our relationships, our careers, etc. To create something different, we have to clean up the messes we make. For example, maybe you were not prepared for an important work meeting, or you were late, or worst of all you forgot about the meeting until someone called to let you know how disappointed in your, they are! Now that’s a mess.

These faux pas are embarrassing. They damage relationships. And most of all, they’re a blow to your integrity.

Why? Because when you make a commitment to someone, and you don’t honor that, you have lost integrity.

When you make a mess, here’s how to clean it up.
• Reflect: Think about the commitment that you made and the results. Was it a commitment to someone or to yourself? Did you miss it, half ass it, or worse blow it off?

• Find the WHY: Think and figure out why you didn’t honor your commitment. Did you not factor in external impacts? Had you committed to something that didn’t align with your values?

• Dig in deeper: If you found that there was a misalignment between your commitment and values, dig in. How could you revisit that commitment so that it does honor what’s innate to your being? A misalignment will trip you up again and again.

• Choose the best communication: When you’re ready to approach the person and clean up your mess, think about how best to do that. Yes, we’re all busy, and it’s quick to just dash off a text. But cleaning up a mess is best done in person—face-to-face. If you can’t meet, try a video or phone call. Try to avoid email and text; they’re more likely to make the mess worse, than to clean it up. Always use your most authentic form of communication possible while considering possible misinterpretations.

• Acknowledge: Acknowledge to yourself and to the other person that you made a mess. You might say, “I messed up.” Or “I didn’t keep my word.” To acknowledge something – TAKES GUTS. Don’t take the cowardly way out and avoid admitting you made a mistake. When you admit you made a mistake, the relationship will flow better, and you can both move forward.

• Watch your tone: Deliver the message with the tone you intend to be received. Be respectful. Considering thinking it over before you jump in. It’s best to respond vs. react.

• Consider coaching: Having a Coach to help you manage your life BEFORE there’s an ISSUE is ideal, although managing through things with your Coach afterwards is also powerful. Accountability for your change is also a powerful influencer. My coaching will help you stand in the space of integrity.

• Don’t minimize: Even if you don’t feel the mistake was a big one, keep in mind the other person might think it was. Don’t underestimate the impact the mistake had on her life. Validate her feelings and be understanding.

Here’s an example from my own life. In preparation to sell my home, I hired a professional painter to patch/fix a small section of ceiling where a water drip (which was mitigated) damaged the drywall. Upon completion, I saw a bubble had formed. I assumed it needed more time to dry properly. Well, that was my perspective. The bubble did not smooth out; therefore causing the buyer’s to have concern that the area was not cosmetic, rather a possible water issue. I had already left the state and was therefore eager for the sale to close. I chose to manage this moment by putting on my “buyer lens.” This allowed us to create a solution that worked for everyone. What could have been incredibly stressful, even messy, was managed effectively by pausing, taking a moment to see their perspective and creating a WIN-WIN approach.

• Explain DON’T Excuse: People generally want to know why you messed up. There’s a fine line between explaining and making an excuse. To explain is to communicate honestly what happened, to acknowledge what happened. To make an excuse often shades the truth. We know the dog didn’t eat your homework!

• Listen. Be open to feedback and listen. After hearing you out, the other person might not love what happened, but she might stay in a state of upset for a shorter period of time if she feels heard and understood. Try to put yourself in her shoes to really understand how she feels.

• Move forward: The ball’s not totally in your court here, but now you have to decide if you want to create something new with this person, to plan a new meeting or event for example. Or you both could decide to let the connection end and walk away.

• Plan for the future: Things happen, schedules change. Plan how you will keep your word and integrity better in the future. The key is to be flexible and stay ahead of changes as quickly as possible—AND ALWAYS COMMUNICATE! For example, if you’re running late for a meeting, call or text to let the other person know. We all know you have a phone or know someone with one; so there’s no excuse not to call or text.

My Mantra…..
I will maintain integrity, honor my commitments AND clean up the space when I realize I cannot keep my word.