A lot of people look at travel and think about taking a break from all the things that you do so you can take it easy. I think of travel and it reminds me of a woman that thought just the opposite. Then it makes me ask myself this question: “are you dedicated?”
If you ever see a particular woman walk an airport end to end and back again, my hope is that you will ask yourself the same question.
A Traveling Fiend
I have done a ton of traveling. I’ve been to 49 states, Canada, Mexico, and parts of Europe. I have flown to more airports than I expect I can list without taking an hour or so to remember them all. I’ve gone to several universities and Fortune 500 campuses to speak, consult, and collaborate. I know many airports like the back of my hand.
Traveling so much made it difficult to get in my 30 minutes of exercise each day. Even when I was getting up each day at 4:15, many flights required me to get up at 3:30 or earlier, and the thought of getting up at 2:15 to get my workout in just seemed daunting.
When I thought about the options, I had to ask myself, “are you dedicated to sticking with your goals or do you want an excuse to ignore them?” I decided I was dedicated.
So on days I traveled, I made a pact with myself. Instead of giving up exercise, I modified it. Since my trips were almost always in two legs, I would walk the airport briskly, luggage in tow for 30 minutes during my layover. I got my workout in, and stuck with my goals.
But this story isn’t about me. It’s about someone else entirely; a person whose identity to this day remains a mystery to me even though her memory is stuck in my head permanently.
Dead Ends and Lower Levels
One day as I was walking to the end of the lower level of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, ready to turn and walk back the way I came, I saw something I hadn’t seen before and haven’t seen since. There was a woman who was heading toward the end of the lower level too.
Now, there are very few reasons to head to the end of the level. For most people it’s a dead end, so this intrigued me. I watched as she continued walking toward the dead end, then I watched and she reached it, turned around, and walked the other way. After turning around and walking back the way I came toward the other end, I saw she did it again.
I know that if someone would have asked her “are you dedicated?” the answer would have been obvious. She was getting in her exercise too.
A Single Star in a Big Sky
This may seem like nothing as you think about it, but let me add a few thoughts.
As I said, I’ve traveled all over. I’ve been in a slew of airports and have encountered hundreds of thousands of people in them. If you put all the days that I’ve flown together, you would have months – months of travel with hundreds of thousands of people and one – only one – other person who ever was dedicated enough to walk the airport.
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t take much to get ahead. Out of the hundreds of thousands of people I’ve passed in airports, only one was that dedicated. Are you dedicated? Can you be that dedicated? Because if you can, it makes it easy to stand out.
Why not be the person who stands out? It’s a pretty easy position to fill. The competition is basically non-existent.
Are you dedicated? If not, what’s stopping you?