About four years ago, I was running through the Dallas airport full-speed, carrying a laptop bag, dragging a suitcase, and wearing flipflops. I was flying from DC to Portland OR through Chicago. But, the first leg of my flight was late enough that I missed my connection. The best option I had was to re-route to DFW for a late night flight that would get me to my destination within 24 hours.
That flight was also delayed, so I found myself with a 15-minute window to make my final leg or risk getting stuck someplace I never intended to go in the first place. This involved a terminal change, because of course it did, and the tram was nowhere to be found. So, my ill-suited footwear went to work.
When I got to my departure terminal, it was empty. But the door to the jet bridge was open. So I entered, walked all the down and stepped onto the plane. The person I saw, one of the flight attendants, said “Who are you?” I showed her my ticket and then she said something I’ve never forgotten:
“YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.”
Before I could ask what that meant, she started rattling off the reasons: I was late, they’ve completed the boarding, my seat was already reassigned. After a moment of silence, probably because I was catching up to what she was saying, I gave here the fact.
“I just landed, I ran here, and the door was open. I have a ticket. Did I do something wrong?”
Her frustration was likely rooted in some combination of surprise, having done work she’ll need to undo, and a natural bias towards her view of the situation. We spend alot of time talking about how or where things should be: at home, at work, in sports bar, and at political events, we are driven by our own sense of order. These can be useful modes of discussion, but when we are blind to the other side of the situation, we become the barriers. We wear the black hat and we don’t even realize it.
1. Before you start, stop for a brief moment.
2. Never let anyone tell you where you’re supposed to be.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.