I drive a Ford Expedition Max. It’s one of the largest passenger vehicles on the road today. I love it for road-tripping with my family. I love it every time I pile large quantities of humans inside. I love how much stuff I can stuff inside it. I love it when I’m pulling trailers. (And I love the tush warmer on a chilly day.)
But there are trade-offs to driving a big vehicle. Like parking in underground parking garages. And I park in an underground parking garage every day at my office in downtown Milwaukee.
The Warning Signs
My parking adventure begins the moment before I pull into the parking garage. The top of my truck smacks the max height indicator dangling over the vehicle, warning me that the rig is too big for this place. This happens every single day. And when other people see me smack that thang, it freaks them out. #SmackItUpFlipIt
The adventure gets really interesting once I find a prospective parking space. As I begin to maneuver the Expedition into a slim parking stall, the driver assistance warning system blinks and beeps like a bomb on MacGyver. Or an advanced round of Simon, the digital memory game. Inevitably, the blinks and beeps grow more intense throughout the parking process, until I receive the maximum warning, begging me not to proceed.
But I proceed anyway.
The systems built into the parking structure entrance and into my vehicle tell me that I don’t belong in this place. They warn me of dangers and limitations. They tell me to stop. Every day. But I don’t stop.
Because they don’t know what I know.
First, I talked with the parking garage staff. I learned where the height is and is not an issue for me. So I know where my real parking opportunities are.
Second, I don’t rely on the systematic warnings from my vehicle to tell me where I will and won’t fit. I look in my mirrors as I negotiate the space. I check my front and rear cameras for feedback. I rely on my own experience. And I believe in my ability to maneuver my own ride.
As a result, I have successfully found a parking space every day I have pulled into the garage for the past 6 months. Despite the daily Tom Petty warnings that say ‘Don’t come around here no more.’
Don’t Let Them Stop You
Throughout your life and career, you will encounter people, policies, and signs that are trying to stop you. Ignore the signs. Ignore the gatekeepers. Ignore the naysayers. Only you know what you are capable of. Believe in your abilities. Believe in your skills. Know that you have the will to achieve your goals. And if there is a real impediment to your progress, believe that you are intelligent enough to discover it for yourself.
Don’t worry about cutting it close. Or slow progress. Or barely passing through. The drama only adds to your story. Most people stop when they are warned to stop. Those who experience the greatest success keep going. They see yellow lights, not red. They discover what is really possible. They build and create. They pioneer and achieve. And they enjoy their success even more because they didn’t let anything stop them. Be that kind of person.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.