Learning to Step Back from the Baggage Claim (with Jason Barger)

Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, speaker, and consultant and the creator of The Step Back from the Baggage Claim movement, featured in The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Kiplinger, Book TV, and many other outlets worldwide. His most recent books, “Remember” and “Thermostat Culture,” have also been widely celebrated around the globe, and he’s the host of the Thermostat podcast.

Prior to spending a week sleeping in airports (the origins of the “Step Back from the Baggage Claim” book and movement) and observing human behavior, Barger led over 1,700 people to construct 125 houses internationally for families living in poverty, as well as implementing the Streets Mission Project to serve the homeless on the streets of Columbus. As the former director of First Community Church’s Camp Akita, he designed programming focused on living with joy, love, compassion, faith, and service for over 1,900 campers a summer.

 In 2004, he was one of five people in Columbus to receive a Jefferson Award, a national award given to ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In 2014, he was selected as 40 under 40 Award Winner by Business First. 

Jason is committed to engaging the minds and hearts of people in order to strengthen leadership, culture, clarity of mission, visions, and values — a culmination of his life experiences, from growing up in Egypt and Portugal to going on a Christmas adventure to help tear down the Berlin wall to spending seven days in seven cities without leaving an airport.

What Brett asks:

  • [02:30] What was your early life like?
  • [07:45] What was it like growing up in Egypt, Portugal, and Berlin?
  • [10:40] How did those experiences abroad impact you?
  • [13:15] Tell us more about your experience in Berlin and helping to tear down the Berlin Wall.
  • [22:50] How did playing basketball help form you?
  • [24:50] Were you wired to lean into leadership? Or was it developed by your experience?
  • [31:40] Where did you learn to combine work and play?
  • [37:50] Tell the story of when you quit your job of 10 years to go on an adventure.
  • [48:40] Let’s talk about Thermostat Cultures


Lessons for intentional living:

  • If now isn’t the right time, that opportunity will be there later. And if it isn’t, then it probably wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes, especially when you’re young, things have a tendency to feel all-or-nothing, like you might not have another chance, but that’s just not how life usually works. Sometimes you need to go down a different path, sometimes your intuition calls you in a direction that society doesn’t understand. 
  • It’s okay to step into the unknown and give life an opportunity to unfold in a way that isn’t clear, if it feels aligned, if it feels like it’s a purposeful part of your journey.
  • We never reach alignment; we’re always in the process of realigning.