Sorry, I can’t be there. I’m going to a movie with my sister.

Believe it or not, I actually said that this week.  As a small business owner (I own Custom Software Design Global LLC in Woodstock, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, with my husband, Tim) that is a death sentence to a potential client relationship.  Normally I would never turn down a sales opportunity, but as I approach 50 I’ve realized how much more important family is.

My older boys, Matthew and Michael, are grown (27 and 25 respectively).  As I reflect on our brief time together as a family I realize they grew up and left while I was in a fog.  I was a young single mother for most of their lives, so I had no choice to prioritize work over family too often.  I blinked and they were gone.

I just don’t want to do that again.

Although I once again have two little ones, Isaac and Joy Ann (7 and 6 respectively), things are very different now. I cannot prioritize work over time with them.  I know all too well how quickly time disappears.

I miss Matthew and Michael tremendously.  They brought me so much joy in such a short period of time.  Now they are both living in far away cities and I rarely see them and their families.

When I got an email yesterday that a new potential client wanted to meet with me Friday my immediate response was “Sure!”.  Then as I settled into the routine at home last night I realized I had scheduled a ‘date’ with my sister for the same day.  We planned to go this Friday see the new movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” several weeks ago.

Years ago I would have called my sister to excuse myself for this potential opportunity.  However, last night I did not even hesitate.  I emailed and excused myself from the meeting with the potential client.  I truthfully explained I had plans with my sister.

I would never want a client or colleague to feel as though I did not value their time.  I would never deliberately inconvenience anyone.

On the other hand, my priorities have changed in recent years.  A lot.

Will I have another chance to see my sister soon?  Probably.  She lives in a nearby suburb of Atlanta as well.  However, time is not guaranteed and I truly value my time with her.

I may have missed a golden opportunity, but it won’t bother me one iota when I’m old and think about it.  I’ll only remember laughing hysterically at the movie with my precious sister.  Time well spent.

 

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