Practising mindfulness is particularly important when doing what seems like a mundane task, such as collecting luggage.
Practising mindfulness is particularly important when doing what seems like a mundane task, such as collecting luggage. Ingram Publishing

Don't carry around baggage from the past or the future

I TRAVEL a lot. I love it as part of my work and I love it personally for all the new things I see and experience.

Over the past few weeks I have travelled in the Northern Territory on a remote site coaching a leadership team, flown up to Cairns to work with a wonderful team of people to assist in developing them and their business, and then gone on to London to assist in formulating the culture of a new global business.

Now that's exciting, exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time and it has an impact. I'd just arrived at the airport and my wife was picking me up. I was pretty tired and had less than a 24-hour turnaround before getting on the flight to the UK. My mind was on the work I had just finished and the organising to be ready for the trip the next day.

I grabbed my bag, one of the first to appear, and I was on the phone moving out of the concourse. I was pretty happy there was no delay because there was a lot to do and everything in my bag had to be turned over, sorted and organised for tomorrow. A big hug with my wife and off we went home.

Well, imagine my shock when I went to open my bag and saw that it wasn't locked. I hadn't checked it at the airport. I was thinking that I had been very tired when I got going that morning and perhaps had missed it. Then when I opened it - horror! Those weren't my clothes, certainly not my books or files and that was not my medication. I had grabbed someone else's bag, exactly the same as mine, in my rush to get out of the airport and being so focused on what came next.

My immediate concern was that I had someone else's medication and they may be under threat because they would need it. I found a business card and rang. The number wasn't valid. I went online to find the business and got two numbers, neither of which was on message bank. My next response was more of "*%$@”.

Because I hadn't checked I was now putting myself under pressure. In ringing the airport we were able to log the baggage mistake, drop off the bag and within a few hours we were informed that the gentleman whose bag I had taken would drop off my bag that evening and it could be picked up early the following morning. The relief was palpable. Sure there was pressure to get the laundry sorted, clothes organised and resources packed. The lesson? One I have now put into practice is to be present - right now, in this moment. The past is called that for a reason, and the future is still to come. Here is where we live. I have learnt to keep the focus on where I am and manage my time for distractions. Having a couple of ribbons on the bag handle now works, too.

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