We have a friend who tells the story of driving one day and seeing a huge sign that read: “Self Storage next left.” As he kept driving, he thought, “Hmm… So that’s where I stored myself!”
This is a distressing metaphor for what we can do to our lives. We hide, or lock away, the best parts of ourselves.
There are many ways in which we can put our Creator selves into “self-storage.” Many of us grew up with the idea that we should want what others want us to want. This is especially true if our primary role in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ is that of Rescuer
We’ve met many people who went into professions that their parents strongly encouraged, only to find they felt like a Victim to their job. They had no passion for their work and eventually adopted a complying way of living, not wanting to “rock the boat” or to be rejected by their spouse, partner, boss or teammates. What’s the cost of your “self-storage?”
The wonderful Pacific Northwest poet, David Whyte, once remarked that in many organizations one should: “crack the window of your parked car before you go into work, for that part of you that you leave outside.”
All-too-often it is the most passionate part of ourselves that we store away, or lock in the car, and don’t let others see.
David once met with a colleague at the headquarters of a large multi-national retailer. Arriving at his office, the colleague asked if they could meet in the huge cafeteria as there was a special event that he wanted to attend. It turned out that the event was a retirement recognition for the company’s first janitor.
One executive offered a testimonial about working late one night and the light above his desk burned out. To his surprise, when he called maintenance, this janitor answered and came right over. As he was replacing the light, he casually remarked to the executive, “I see my job as creating and maintaining an environment in which you can do your best work.”
Every job can have a trivial or a noble description. If you see your role as trivial, you are likely to lock yourself into a self-storage garage. The janitor clearly saw his role as a Creator and as contributing something that is noble, without regard to level or status.
Maybe you are not ready to unlock the self-storage door yet. As coaches we often ask; “What is possible for you given the situation?” We love that question because you don’t have to commit to action. Just pondering what is possible will help you pick up the key to the storage door.
Next time you are driving down the highway and see a sign for self-storage, ask yourself, “Have I stopped paying rent on that self-storage unit yet?”