To say I’ve lived in my share of hotel rooms is an understatement. I’ve had the opportunity to share my story, failures and life’s experiences on some great platforms. Since 1995 I have been on a steady rotation on the speaking circuit. During that time, I have checked in and out of hotels more than I care to count. A few weeks ago I found myself in line to have a TSA rummage through my carry-on. She was pleasant but a simple joke she made had me in thought the whole flight.
I didn’t get the agent’s name, but I did remember her anecdote was on point. My bag had somehow got flipped over, so several items rolled out into the tub. I hustled to get my things, while putting on my shoes. The line was long so I didn’t want to be the one to cause a log jam. The TSA saw that I had an abundance of travel sized items and she said “I didn’t know you could live off those travel things.” Wait a minute! That just happened. I mumbled something and kept moving forward. But on the plane, I repeated that statement. Living on travel sized things. A travel sized life. I began to put together a list of ways we limit our lives and exist with a small mentality.
* Like travel size things, we often want a life that’s neat and conveniently packaged. But if we are truthful, we would admit that life is anything but convenient. Life throws us all curve balls. We lose jobs, we lose relationships and sometimes we lose ourselves in the process. Then we pull it together and make it back. You can’t tuck life away in a pocket or purse like that small bottle of lotion from the hotel’s sink. A real life gets messy and we are found cleaning up the mess openly.
* A travel size bottle really means your usage is limited. Remember that extra bottle of shampoo you snagged from the cleaning cart in the hallway? You didn’t really get away with anything big. It’s a single application. You only have one shot with it. If we aren’t careful, we will begin to live the same way. Small safe dreams. One application relationships become a way of life. We can’t let life slip into a dull sense of coasting along. Live more. You need more than a one and done mentality to reach your potential.
* Travel size usually means you can’t share. If you haven’t noticed, life is about connections. If you want to be miserable, try living without relationships. We are engineered to be with one another. And part of being together is learning to be generous. I believe that it’s almost impossible to stay a victim when you have a generous heart. Our living is a reflection of our giving. The people who have the most enriched lives aren’t those who are super rich. They are the ones who have opened their hearts to others. When you maintain a travel sized life, you never have enough to be generous to others. It’s just enough to get you through.
The other day I looked under my bathroom sink and laughed out loud. There stood a couple rows of hotel toiletries. Unknowingly I had been stock piling a small war chest. If I ever had to go off the grid for a few years, I would at least be clean. I sat down and began to really check my life out. What areas did I have where I was living a travel sized mentality? What must I do to break those cycles of small living and make this my break out year? Feel free to use my questions as a starting point in your own life. Maybe you don’t have a supply of hotel freebies but I bet if you look hard enough, you’ll find some travel sized stuff somewhere. They come in handy sometimes. But we were meant to live much bigger than that.