Control Your Effort, Control Your Schedule

In Orange County, California, the sun warms your skin like a campfire on a cool evening.

I was visiting for business, but accepted these personal pleasures that came with travel.

So, when the opportunity to ride top-down in a convertible along the Pacific coast to Los Angelos arose, I desperately wanted to take it.

But I had a problem...

My ride was about to leave and I had a meeting scheduled in 30 minutes. Miss the ride, make my meeting. Miss the meeting, make my ride.

I chose the ride.

We took off, found our way to Highway 1, and soaked in the scenery for the next two hours.


It must have been stunning. The ocean waves, the beaches, the west coast trees, the sunset, and the carved rock faces hugging the shoulder all must have tickled the senses.

But though I was there, in the car, seeing it all for myself, I don’t remember any of it.

I only remember the call.

That meeting I ditched? It was with a person. A real human being. Someone I admired and respected.

I had blown him off, believing my joy ride would be worth it while also believing my ability to ask for forgiveness would overcome any frustration he felt for having to reschedule.

It did not.

After explaining my actions (skipping his meeting to gallivant through the sunshine state), he said something that sticks with me 10 years later... something that overwrote every other memory that day:

“I rearranged my entire day to meet with you. If you’re going to make a commitment, be the kind of person that keeps it.”

Those words struck oil, and a geyser of understanding and wisdom shot from my ears upon hearing them.

I had put my integrity in danger, eroded his trust in me, and turned an eye toward becoming the kind of person who says one thing and means another.

When you fail to fulfill commitments that you freely make, trust is not the result. [...] It reinforces our conviction that we can’t do it all — that we can’t control our schedule, or even our effort.
— Whitney Johnson

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg


I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

Subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter on personal excellence and business mastery that one client called “The Owners Manual to an Awesome Life.”