Not every boarding pass gets us on a plane. We take for granted that a rectangular piece of paper with an airline logo printed in the corner allows us to board. What assumptions once re-examined might be transformative? How often do we pause in the middle of everyday activities to consider all that operate smoothly for us to advance without complication? One warning light can delay a flight for hours, even when the non-cooperating part appears to be less than vital. What is essential for your journey? Who have we taken for granted?
Any of us can make a promise, take a reservation, offer a guarantee. That is not the work that matters. How we perform when circumstances cause us to deviate from our promise reveals our real value. How we respond to missing expectations is what makes us memorable.
Sometimes the moment is not as we planned, but if we are committed we can create a memorable moment. More than once I have found myself enduring a long airport layover. The choice is to settle into a corner, connect to wifi, and hope time passes quickly. Or, I can go explore. Last week I spent over an hour running on the top level of parking garages as Houston International Airport (GPS running route screenshot above). After a little adventuring I discovered three of the parking facilities were connected via a causeway and exterior stairs making for a bigger loop. As I ran I watched the arrival and departure of everything from small commuter jets to large Airbus A380s. Because I opted to be a bit adventurous, I ran into a South American soccer team, rode an airport train that was comically slow and small, and gained access to an airport hotel lounge that had a phone which rang ceaselessly. All these events are far more memorable than most airport clubs, except for when I sat next to Dr. Oz at LAX but that is a different layover story.