It’s not OK.

My friend was waiting patiently on the steps of my apartment, reading a book.

I was running late because I’d been working on a writing project that took longer than expected.

I rushed towards her, out of breath and anxious, spewing apologies for my tardiness.

She smiled and stood to hug me.

“It’s OK! Don’t worry about it.”

I appreciated her graciousness, but I shook my head.

“Actually… it’s not OK.”

Like many creative, driven people, I have a tendency to go “above and beyond” when it comes to my work — burning the midnight oil to add that “one final touch” to a project, or diving deep into a book that I’m writing, barely surfacing to breathe until it’s complete.

There’s nothing “wrong” with this tendency to over-deliver.

It’s one of the reasons I’ve become successful at my craft.

It’s one of the things I like best about myself.

Devotion is very sexy.

What’s NOT sexy is when my devotion swings out of balance.

I have plenty of devotion for my career and my clients, for example.

But when it comes to my friends, I find that I’m consistently running… just… a… little… bit… late.

For years, I’ve told myself things like, “Nobody’s perfect!” and “You’re still a great friend!” and “Be gentle with yourself!”

All of that is true.

But sometimes, it can be incredibly powerful to admit to yourself & others:

“Actually… it’s not OK.”

It’s not OK that I’m (almost) always a few minutes tardy when I’m meeting my friends.

It’s a small thing and yet it’s a big thing.

Even if they don’t really mind, I do.

Even if it’s OK with them, it’s not OK with me.

That’s not the kind of friend and human that I want to be.

But I’d never make a firm commitment to do better, without first beginning with those three uncomfortable words:

“It’s not OK.”

Honesty and devotion = progress.

And THAT… is definitely OK.

What’s not OK with you?