|The Write Space and Time|
Jan. 11, 2012 -- Every once in a while, you lose your ticket. I'll bet it's happened to you. I know it has to me. You're in the airport, you're good and early, you've bought a snack and a magazine and you're just sitting, waiting patiently for your boarding call ... then they make it and you can't find your ticket.
You check your pockets. Your bag. The pocket inside your bag. The magazine you're reading. The seat beside you. The floor around you. And then you start to sweat. Your heart rate speeds, your face goes flush and your mind pops out and slaps you over and over in the face, like the spare ribs and the corn dog do in that antacid commercial.
"How could you lose your ticket!?" your brain screams at you.
"You are so stupid!" Slap! Slap!
"You have LOST your ticket!"
Then intermittently, between the slaps, you realize all that cannot happen now because you have been so inept. You will not reach your destination. You have wasted a significant amount of money. You will have to make completely new arrangements to cover for or recover from the mishap. And before you know it, you know very little, but there are some things of which you are sure: You will never work again, you have scarred your children for life, and life as you knew it is gone for good.
This all happens really, really fast.
Then, just as you gather your things and rise dejectedly to face the music that awaits you, the nice gentleman who's been watching you melt from a few seats away, steps in and changes your world as he picks up your ticket from the seat you'd been sitting on and hands it to you.
This is when you squeal, turn red, laugh out loud, and hug him like he just saved your firstborn from an oncoming train. Then you run like the dickens to catch that plane.
It happens. Try as we may to avoid it, we sometimes sit on our ticket.
People get stuck all the time. They get stuck in relationship quagmires. They get trapped in performance reviews. They forget what they're good at. They can't remember what it is that they do, and they don't know how they got there to this inescapable forlorn place. It happens to teams and to players and to coaches, too. We get stuck; and stuck people often turn into the crazy mouse trying to find a way out of the box. They run around looking for trap doors in walls when exits clearly flank all sides of the room. It's like being in the corn maze when the sun starts to set; it gets scary, and it's easy to forget that the arrows spray painted on the ground will lead you to the light. But for some reason it's just so hard to make yourself look down.
I have a coaching buddy who has, on occasion, handed me my ticket. We each know the paralysis of being unable to find it and the crazy, stupid dance that happens when we do. It's like looking in a normal mirror after standing in front of the silly one at the State Fair. God flips the color back on and suddenly everything appears as it really is again. Only it makes more sense now. Because you are no longer so very much in the way.
Finding your ticket is fabulously rewarding (in spite of the fact that it was never really lost). But being the guy who witnesses the chaos and plays a small part in its resolution is pretty cool, too.
Sounds a bit odd, I know. But if you've ever sat on your ticket or observed somebody who has, you know exactly what I mean. The only thing better than chasing that plane is watching somebody run to catch it.