Airports are a strange affair. Each one has their own culture. Some are friendly, some are dirty, some are pushy. And some, like Hartsfield International in Atlanta are just plain busy!
On a flight two weeks ago, I was positive I was going to miss my flight. There was an accident on the freeway that slowed me down. I was traveling with a box of heavy books that I was taking to the conference I was speaking at and when I walked in, I saw the longest lines I have ever seen in Atlanta. And I’ve seen some pretty crazy lines. So, I wandered, found the back of the mile long line and started waiting with my other nervous travelers. Stress weaved through crowd. I started mentally calculating how I would have to shift my travel plans if I missed the flight. And after about 30 minutes I got close enough to the front that I could hear the airport employees directing traffic.
I was in the wrong line! I was already running late. And now I had wasted 30 minutes of my precious time. And I wasn’t the only one. I heard other groans. Other complaints. Other words of frustration spilling through stress pressed lips.
And the lesson learned was worth every minute I spent in that line.
I had followed the crowd. I found the beaten path and I mindlessly followed and got in line. Then I felt robbed and abused when the beaten path didn’t give me the results I was looking for.
I noticed it when I got to New York as well. (Hartsfield International pulled through once again and I did not miss my flight.) The ‘Yes Ma’ams,’ ‘Ya’lls,’ and friendly smiles in Atlanta turned into crowded hallways, loud voices, and abruptness in LaGuardia.
I looked for a bathroom and found it. The line for the ladies was unsurprisingly long. And I wondered. “What would happen if I leave the beaten path?” I walked away from the people, found the most deserted area of the airport and then asked, “Is there a bathroom nearby?” Sure enough there was. And only 2 people were in it.
I tried it again at The Met. A long line of people stretched down the stone steps. I looked around. And there was another door with only half the amount of people. When I got into the museum the crowds were crazy. So instead of following the crowd, I meandered to the far back corner and was rewarded with some amazing modern art, and I didn’t have to wait for my chance to get up close and look at the textures of each painting. I’m kind of in love with texture.
We are so primed to follow. We are good at standing in line and moving along with the crowd. But is it really taking you where you want to go?
Want my 4 power questions I ask myself?
- Do you have any areas of your life that bring high amounts of stress and small returns of joy?
- Are you investing the majority of your time building the results you want the most?
- What unhealthy beliefs are operating in your mind that are keeping you from more progress?
- Can you shift from “have to” thinking and into “choose to?”
Life really becomes worth living when you stop living for everyone else.