Step Back from the Baggage Claim

This week’s article is by guest writer, Jason Barger – Author/Speaker/Consultant and Creator of the Step Back From The Baggage Claim Movement. Jason will be presenting a short, powerful workshop at sparkspace on Feb. 26th. More info >>


Anybody who has been to a chaotic, jam-packed baggage claim knows the scene. It’s comical, yet frustrating.

Hundreds (although it feels like thousands) of people scurry off the arriving airplane and begin their mad dash toward the baggage claim. Though everyone rushes, I can’t remember the bags ever arriving at the baggage claim ahead of me. The sound of suit pants rubbing quickly back and forth and the whistling of fast-rolling wheels of carry-on luggage fill the air as the herd stampedes down the long terminal, hits the bottleneck at the escalator, and finally spills out into the baggage claim area.

The crowd gathers in anxious anticipation. Once that obnoxious buzzer goes off (Can’t we come up with a better sound?), without fail, everyone scampers into place. Like Pavlov’s dog, everyone reacts subconsciously to the buzzer and runs directly to the carousel. Within seconds, a “human wall of entitlement” is created, each person with their shins pressed against the cold metal carousel. Slowly, the bags begin emerging from the hidden baggage land, and the human wall shifts as each individual brick jockeys for “the best” position.

If you are one of the many who doesn’t get out of the blocks quickly when the buzzer goes off, your 0.42-second lag-time costs you a spot at the carousel and an opportunity to see the bags. So you begin to bob and weave back and forth, jumping up and down to see over the tops of shoulders, dodging in and out of cracks, doing whatever you can to catch sight of your bags.

The ambitious percentage who arrive first at the carousel stand strong, protecting their spots, taking not even a second to let their eyes wander from the belt. Their knees are bent in an athletic stance, ready to pounce on the first bag that dares to look even slightly similar to their own. They do not budge an inch until they get their bags from the spotthey earned.

For the frequent travelers, this scene is all too familiar. But, this isn’t just about the baggage claim. This is about how we choose to move throughout the world, live with those around us, and claim the things we are hunting for. The hectic baggage claim is just a metaphor for the busy organizations, families, teams, and communities that we move in and out of every day.

Whether you’re on your way to the airport right now, taking your kids to school or off to a business meeting, I invite you to Step Back for a moment and gain a new perspective. Take a moment to think about ‘Why’ you do what you do, ‘How’ you want to travel through life, and ‘What’ leadership actions you want to put out into the world.

I wonder what kind of footprints we all could leave during this trip we call life. I’m convinced that the more people who are committed to entering the hectic spaces in our world with a spirit of gratitude, service and leadership rather than entitlement, will indeed, change the world.

I’ll meet you at the baggage claim. The culture is changed one act at a time.

Learn more about Jason Barger and this growing movement


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