Monday, October 27, 2008

The Beauty of Margins

One of my favorite leadership talks to give is that of self-leadership.  You cannot effectively lead others until you are successfully managing yourself.  Of great importance in this arena is building margin into your life.  Margin is the extra time that you may need as you live this gloriously unpredictable life.

Case in point would be my life yesterday morning.  I was gathering my family together so that I could drive my husband to the airport to catch a flight.  We left plenty of margin within our schedule and it was a good thing as our battery was dead-graveyard dead-when my husband tried to start the van.  Time for plan B.  Because of the margin we had built into our schedule, we had plenty of time to go get another battery, install it and still get to the airport, after having a quick lunch, with time to spare.  This is the beauty of margin.  

I was taught early in life by my grandmother that tardiness is the highest form of selfishness because it communicates to others that your time is more important than theirs.  She always told me to allow more time than I thought I would need so as to NEVER keep others waiting.  And this lesson has served me well in life.  The slow traffic, dead batteries and coffee spilled in your lap as you pull out of your driveway can all be handled without costing others if you build margin into your schedules.  Try it this week.  It will bring you great freedom, cost you little, and speak volumes to others.  And if the unexpected doesn't happen, you will have a little extra time to create something beautiful in the margin of your life.


Eddie Taylor October 27, 2008 at 12:23 PM  

Excellent post. I have a little margin right now. Not enough for a phone call...just a little time to read a blog or two and freshen up. I'll talk to you later. Wish I had brought a fan :(

Rachel October 27, 2008 at 12:29 PM  

On the flip side, I always build in a margin...I allow whoever I'm meeting to be 5-10 minutes late without me getting bothered about it. This does not work with everything but it does keep me from feeling like a time Nazi.

Anonymous,  October 28, 2008 at 9:23 PM  

This inspires me! Now MIGHT be a good time to develop this habit seeing as life's about to get a little more complicated (in a good way) with baby #2...just thinking out loud.