Suitcase Handles

Imagine an old, heavy suitcase whose well-worn handles are hanging by a few threads. The handle is “Trust the Process” or “Story Is King”—a pithy statement that seems, on the face of it, to stand for so much more. The suitcase represents all that has gone into the formation of the phrase: the experience, the deep wisdom, the truths that emerge from struggle. Too often, we grab the handle and—without realizing it—walk off without the suitcase. What’s more, we don’t even think about what we’ve left behind. After all, the handle is so much easier to carry around than the suitcase.

Creativity, Inc.

There is a powerful lesson that can be gleamed from Suitcase Handles:

Simply repeating ideas or pithy phrases means nothing. One must think and act accordingly.

Whether the pithy statement is…

  • Story is King
  • Trust the Process
  • Move Fast and Break Things
  • Strong Opinions Loosely Held
  • Be Worthy of Trust

… simply saying the idea does not speak it in to existence.

Each of the above is is earned. It is attributed by others, not proclaimed by one about themselves.

So what role does the “individual” have then?

As a leader:

  • it is your job to make sure that words remain attached to the meanings and ideals they represent.

As an individual:

  • it is your job to play the active role, not the process itself. It’s up to the individual to use the handle as long as they don’t forget about the suitcase.

To read more on suitcase handles in context, I strongly recommend reading Chapter 4 of Creativity, Inc. where all of the above is inspired from and pulled from

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