There’s something about people in airports; you basically have two types: the “Strollers” and the “Goers”.
The Strollers act like they are NOT in an airport, but in some sort of self-contained, security-screened park with overpriced items that are hocked to the rich-and-bored or traveling-unprepared. They appear to have no sense of
spacial awareness, often choosing to stand in the middle of the isle and talk or walk down the center of the walkways, dragging their rolling luggage to the side so the
entire path is blocked to would-be passers-by, and … they stroll.
The Goers are exactly the opposite. They are destination-focused. They get off the plane or through security and they are off. The walk fast. They understand the environment of the airport, so they pull or carry baggage in a way that does not interfere with other travelers. They often get off the easy path and hustle by the crowds on a route they have detected with some keen sense of airport savvy. They go.
Life for Goers isn’t that simple. They must negotiate the mobs, lines, and tide pools of Strollers that seem to block the way when you need to get someplace the quickest. You can spot Goers several gates away: they weave and bob like a prize fighter-turned-Indy car-racer, and, in my case, throw out priceless lines like “Don’t worry, we’ll just go around you” as they pass the Strollers who hold their group meetings in the middle of the concourse, forming a roadblock of moronic ingenuity.
If you can’t tell, I’m a Goer. When I get to the airport, I don’t want to doddle – I’ve spent way-to-significant-a-portion of my life moving through these b
astions of no-man’s-land.
So the other night, when I landed at home, I turned the motor on and set out from the B concourse to head for the C concourse , the parking lot, the car, the commuter traffic and ultimately my waiting family.
Between the concourses they have those moving walkways, but they are often too narrow and it’s a pain to pass people, so I like to walk beside them at a brisk pace and go faster than the people being carried along their moving belts. I get a good elevated heart rate, make better time, and I get a kick out of beating them down the walkway.
So as I rounded the corner, just in front of me is this athletic young lady, who is also a Goer, and heads for the moving walkway; only I notice once she gets on board, she keeps walking fast. So I high-tail it and stride out to catch-up with her, and she is increasing her speed, and so I am trying to go as fast as I can without running; my strides look like I am doing the splits, and its all I can do to stay even with her when we come to the end of the first walk way.
She exits, I step on the gas as she steps onto the next moving walkway, and she turns to me and says, “You tryin’ to race me, Mister?” Such a direct challenge caught me off guard, and I stammered something back about, “Just trying to get home; besides, it’s the only time I get a workout.”
She replied, over her shoulder, as she sped ahead, “Too bad. You gotta get your game on.” I practically tripped on the proverbial glove she threw at my feet.
And you know what, she’s right. And it made my day. The competitive spirit was there, and she knew it. I WAS trying to race her, and she welcomed it, in my suit and ECCOs and her jeans and sparkly slippers, both towing our rollers, and both being Goers, having a sense of purpose, if nothing else, in the way we move down the concourse.
There’s a competitive element in work that many people try to ignore. If you want to take it up a notch, you can’t ignore it. And ultimately, if you are running a business, you definitely can’t ignore it. Even if you have the only product of your kind, sooner or later, somebody will move into your space, and then your customers will be deciding whether or not to go with your company. If you can’t compete, you won’t even get the opportunity for long, because the market will just kick you out.
Even if you just “hold a job”, you need to be competitive as if you were your own business – the brand that is you. Sure, you want to do good, and sure, in some professions you are so altruistic about doing what you love… but if you don’t get your game on, you wont go anywhere. If you can’t compete, you can’t keep a job. Period.
Getting your game on can look like a lot of different things, but I’d leave you with this thought:
What’s your game? How do you take it to the next level?
Good. Get it on.