The REAL Reasons Behind Your Pattern of Lateness

I spoke at a conference awhile back and the topic was, “If You Want Time, You Have to Make It.”  During the Q&A, a participant said, “I’m always running late, and I don’t know why. I try to be on time, but it seems like I never am.”  Then, she asked,  “Why is that?”  BIG question. Profound question.

The answer appears to be obvious: you need to plan better.  That’s a valid perspective — one that probably applies to many of us.  But, that response only scratches the surface.  There’s more to uncover.

Some of the deeper reasons lateness tends to be part of many of our personal patterns is that it’s often an expression of one or more of these four things:

  • Hidden, unacknowledged resistance. This might be your covert, passive-aggressive way of saying, “I don’t really want to be there!”
  • Worry and anxiety sparked by subconscious concerns about perfection, performing well, getting it right or fitting in. Worry, concern and fear might be driving you to find a way to delay facing possible embarrassment, failure or rejection.
  • You’re overwhelmed. You’re carrying that beastly burden of piling it on and bearing up under staggering pressures.  You always have too much to do…more than can be reasonably done in the time available. This may be because you don’t feel that you’re good enough, important or valuable unless you’re under pressure.
  • You lateness is fueled by a sense of superiority, conscious or unconscious, which conveys the message, “I’m more important than you. ”Or, “What I’m doing is more important than you or what we’re suppose to do together.”

Your mental “Border Patrol” doesn’t want you to see these less familiar, embarrassing, even painful, underlying drivers of your chronic tardiness.  While such mindsets, attitudes and beliefs are hard to acknowledge, if you want to be better and do better, they have to be uncovered and mindfully addressed.

The way to get to the bottom of any problem is to get to its root – its emotional root.  There, you’ll be closer to the cause, not just the symptoms.  When the problem is addressed at this level, real and sustained change can occur.


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