How’s The View From Your Parking Spot?

Most people drive to work every day, park their car, grab their briefcase, start walking to their office, all while simultaneously firing up their smartphone to check email, voicemail, or facebook. If they’re really on the ball, they’ll take a quick glance to see if they parked on level 4, or near a lightpole, or in the orange section, so they can hopefully find their vehicle when the workday is done.

Humans will fight to the death for the closest parking spot to the building or exit or elevator. I’ve seen people wait six minutes for someone to pull out of a spot because it’s more convenient to their destination, while others zoom around them, park their car, get to the office, and gulp down their first cup of coffee in the same amount of time. Convenience is relative, I guess. Parking your car is a real hassle in a morning, especially if you find yourself running late. People should consider looking at other ways to commute, such as walking or using electric bicycles for example. Although, commuters do need to consider how far their home is from their workplace before changing their method of transport, but walking or purchasing an electric bike could save money in the long term.

If you drove in to work, think about where you parked today. What’s the view from your parking spot? Do you remember? Did you notice? Is it anything like this:
I can almost guarantee your parking spot didn’t have a view like this. Know how I know this? Because my car was the only car on the roof this morning.

I park in the parking garage across from our building, and every day I park on the roof. I’ve done this for years. Whenever I have to park in a parking garage, I’ll go straight to the top. Yes, I even do it when the garage is not full. It’s not out of habit, either. I do it intentionally every single time. Here’s why:

1. You can’t beat the view. Where else in any city can you be several floors off the ground without a roof over your head? There is something inspiring and energizing about being that close to the sky…especially when the sun is out and the sky is bright blue. And you don’t just get the view once. You get it twice! Once when you’re arriving, and once when you’re leaving.

Two of the best views of Columbus, Ohio, are from the roofs of two different hospital parking garages here in town: 1. The OSU Hospital parking garage has a view of the skyline that seems to rise magically from a city full of trees. 2. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital parking garage features a view that makes you realize how exciting and vibrant Columbus really is.

2. I get more for my money. Most parking garages charge you, right? What are you buying? A tiny space in a dark, damp, dirty garage OR a space with an amazing view and a free dose of Vitamin D (a.k.a. sunshine)?

3. There is always room at the top. This is true of life in general. Very few people travel the few extra minutes, make the little bit of extra effort that takes them to the top. Yes, I spend probably 5 minutes more each day to get up and down from the roof. But I NEVER have to hunt for a spot. And did I mention the view?

4. I never forget where I parked…ever. Enough said.

5. I get extra (much needed) exercise. I don’t always take the stairs, but I often do. Going up eight stories of stairs is probably all the workout you ever need. Even going down eight stories of stairs is good exercise. And it’s cheaper than a gym. If you take the stairs on your way into work, your brain gets extra oxygen to start the day. How cool is that?

6. It reminds me to take in the great moments of life more often. There’s something really exciting to me when I pull out of the dark garage and onto the bright, open rooftop. It transforms my attitude. I use it as a daily reminder that there are so many amazing moments in life and at work and I need to pay more attention to them. When I’m totally preoccupied with productivity, efficiency, profit, busyness, paperwork, email, and the gazillion other things that take my attention every moment of every day, I generally feel like crap at the end of the day.

But if I take a few extra moments here and there to appreciate the great work of a teammate, to realize how lucky I am to have the job I have, to actually enjoy my work, or to notice something super cool like the view from the top of the parking garage, I find myself much more happy and content at the end of the day.

I’ve actually toyed with the idea of throwing a folding table, a chair and a patio umbrella in my car and setting up a temporary office on the roof of the garage on really nice days. Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

Right about now, you’re coming up with excuses why you don’t park on the roof.

– “It’s a waste of time to drive the extra floors.
– “I’ll have to wait in a long line to get out.
– “I don’t trust the elevators in parking garages.
– “My car will get hot in the sun.
– “It’s too far to walk and my foot hurts.

Wah, wah, wah. The truth is, it takes a tiny bit of extra effort that most people just won’t take, even though the payoff is sooooo worth it. But then again, that’s why there’s always room at the top.

So, where are you going to park tomorrow?

Thanks for reading! See you next week.

BONUS VIDEO:



Just for fun, I whipped out my iPhone and created a little video from the top of the parking garage this morning to spark a little extra new thinking in your brain.

You can see more inspirational videos on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/sparknewthinking

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