“BUT DAD, our coach told us to be at the field by 9:30! It’s not even 10 minutes away why do we have to leave right now?” I groaned as my dad packed my helmet and extra-small shoulder pads into the car. It was only 8:45 A.M.
I was already pissed off. First, he wakes me up at 7:30 when I totally could’ve slept until 8. Now he’s making us leave a half an hour early to drive to my game that’s at most 10 stinkin’ minutes away?! What is this madness?!?
“If you’re on time, you’re late.” He calmly replied as he sat in the driver’s seat.
‘IF yoU’Re oN TiME YOu’rE lAtE’ I thought as I mocked his response in my head. What does that even mean, ‘If you’re on time, you’re late’? No. If you’re on time, you’re on time.
This was my childhood: Mom and Dad always — and I mean ALWAYS — making sure that whenever my brother, sister, or I had an obligation, we showed up fully dressed, prepared, and on time (a.k.a. 20 minutes early.) It was SO ANNOYING.
And what did I do when I was annoyed with my parents? Well, I thought to defy them. And how would I do that? Purposely run late…? No, no, that won’t work. They’ll only get pissed and ground me from seeing friends. Oh, I know! I’ll wake up extra extra early and be ready before them! Aha! They’ll be at a loss for words! I’ll be dressed and ready to go before they even wake up! Oh yes, this is genius; now I get to annoy them!
Smart-assery at its finest.
Well, of course I thought I was being smart. How naive was I not to realize the reverse psychology they had pulled on me? Whatever.
‘If you’re on time, you’re late’ became my favorite rule of thumb. I made sure I was always the first one up out of bed in the morning just to avoid the annoyance of being woken up by a tap on the shoulder. And still to this day, I do the same.
Fast forward to age 20. I was lucky enough to get hired for an intern position with NBC Universal for the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The first day on the job, I showed up an hour early, dressed to impress and ready to go.
“You’re here early!” said the coordinator as she introduced herself.
Not by my standards I wasn’t.
“Well, since you’re here, do you want to pick your work station for the week? You can be more behind the scenes, in the action, whatever you want!” I picked to work as a runner for the MSNBC set on E. 4th St., right in the heart of the convention.
That one decision, which was made available through my choice to show up early, led me to meet the following people:
- Lester Holt (NBC Nightly News)
- Tamron Hall (NBC’s Today)
- Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist (Morning Joe)
- Stephen Colbert (The Late Show)
- Colin Jost and Michael Che (SNL)
- Jacob Soboroff (MSNBC correspondent)
- NBC’s head of talent
And many, many more…
SO! When did I realize that small things matter? I realized a decision that seems small — like showing up early because ‘if you’re on time, you’re late’ — can open up the door for something big to happen — like connecting with incredibly influential people!
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