We all know the scene. It is comical, yet frustrating. Our airplane lands, and the hunt to claim what is ours begins.
Within seconds, a human wall of hundreds is created around the baggage claim, each person with their shins pressed against the cold metal carousel. As bags emerge, the human wall shifts as each individual jockeys for “the best” position. They do not budge an inch until they get their bags from the spot they earned.
Meanwhile, the frail older woman with the cute pink flowered hat and dangling earrings is trying to wade through the chaos, obviously flustered. Through one of the few cracks in the human wall, she spots her beat-up olive-green suitcase. With a couple of “excuse me’s” and an “I’m sorry,” she gets the wall to part just long enough so she can grasp her bag’s handle. Others ignore her as she struggles to lift it.
Imagine what the experience at the baggage claim would be like if everyone changed their perspective by taking three steps back so everyone could see, and if everyone actually helped those around them with their bags. Not only would the spirit and environment around the conveyer belt be more positive for all, but it also would be far more efficient.
Then imagine what that same spirit of thoughtful awareness could mean for the world if we carried it into other areas of our lives as well.
It was the premise behind my first book, Step Back From the Baggage Claim, and a notion worth revisiting every so often, even for me. Our lives are a string of baggage-claim moments—opportunities to change our world through new awareness!
We all are trying to claim certain bags around the metaphorical baggage claim of life. We’re trying to claim happiness, money, security, love, friendship, recognition, and in many cases, just stuff we think we need. It happens in our personal lives and business lives—momentary lapses around that crowded baggage claim that cause us to get caught up in the madness and often lose sight of our ultimate purpose.
I challenge you with three questions:
- What in my work or life could use a “step back” to gain perspective?
- How can my team—work or family—be more efficient claiming our bags?
- How will I step back from the baggage claim today?
Here’s to hoping your three steps back allow you a deep breath, have renewed perspective and a more meaningful journey forward.
Jason Barger is the globally celebrated author of Step Back from the Baggage Claim, ReMember, and the newly released book Thermostat Cultures, as well as a coveted keynote speaker and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
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