A lot of it has to do with timing. Being both a pastor and a coach, working in the church world and the business world at the same time I realize most people in this world have little regard for timing.
I do not refer to extremes, like, "call me in 2014 and I'll see what I can do for you..."
There's a big difference between 2014 and next Tuesday.
I'm also not referring to emergencies. Obviously in a crisis, you need help NOW, not next Tuesday. The one caveat here is that a lot of people don't realize the true definition of emergency. I once had a lady call me about her marriage problems, during an important family celebration we were having. I told her I couldn't help her right then - we were in the midst of a family occasion. I offered to return her call the next day. She said, "but this is an emergency." I said, "How long have you had these marriage problems?" She said, "Since 1975."
Seriously, I don't make this stuff up.
I recently had a client ignore me for two whole weeks when I tried to set an appointment with her. Then at 4 pm on Thursday she suddenly said, "can you meet with me now?" No. No I could not. I had been trying to reach her for two weeks and it was like trying to nail jello to a wall. Now she wanted me to drop everything? I had appointments scheduled through Thursday night, and Friday is my sacred day. I did offer to meet her on the weekend, but most clients want their weekends off too.
Then I recently got a call from a missionary, at home. They called the church on a Friday morning, got the machine, so they immediately just switched gears and called my home number. Here's how the conversation went:
Me: [caught off guard] "Oh..... this happens to be my sacred day off so I'm at home. Did you try leaving a message at the church for me to return your call on Monday?"
Them: "I got the machine but no, I didn't leave a message I figured that this may be your day off so I got your home phone number out of the district book and called you. I have 300 calls to make today and I didn't want to wait to get this call done and cross it off my list. Calling you at home was easier for me."
Then they went on to give me a 15 minute spiel about what they needed. It was no emergency, just an update on their current project. While listening to this spiel I kept doing what I was doing before they called. I fed my dogs, took them out to potty, washed my hands, got a fresh cup of tea, took out the trash, wiped down the countertops in my kitchen, etc. It was easy to do because I wasn't the one talking for 15 straight minutes, all that was required was listening. They never came up for air. When they were done their spiel they said, "So, what do you think?"
Me: "Well to be honest my brain is not engaged in matters like this today. This is my day to decompress, a day to focus on things in my home, not a day to make decisions like this one. I'll consider this on Monday and get back to you."
Them: "Oh..............................um......................mmmkay. Well, like I said I have so many calls to make I just didn't want to have to wait."
What's more important? Not having to wait or getting the help you need?
Just a tip - when you are wanting help from anybody and specifically of the professional kind - be careful of the timing. Even in my relationship with my husband, the most intimate person in my life, I'm very careful about the timing with which I approach him about something. If I know he's tired, stressed, pre-occupied, I wait to ask him something. If it's something I'm wanting to talk about concerning the church I never bring it up on a Friday. The timing of my approaching something greatly impacts the outcome of what we discuss.
When I do call someone, I always say, "is this a good time?" If not I totally respect that and say, "when would a good time be, for you?"
Right now I'm in need of help from someone professionally and they've been so gracious to give it. They are giving me their time gratis, just out of the kindness of their heart. They are giving me far beyond what I dreamed and quite frankly more than I deserve. I deserve nothing, really. But they are investing in me. One of the reasons I'm convinced I'm receiving so much from them is because:
1) Each time they spend time with me, I let them know often how grateful I am. (I really am!)
2) I am respectful of their schedule.
These are two great principles to live by with anyone. And I'm convinced it's just one reason I'm getting so much. That, and the grace of God.
Try it. You might be surprised at how much watching the timing of things affects your outcomes.