[Editor's note: this is a re-post from November 2010. Part of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived.]
About a year ago, my husband and I bought a Porsche. We call it "The Time Machine" because it's really a blast from the past.
When we bought it, we got the expected commentary from friends and family:
"A Porsche? Really? How can you afford that?"
"What are you going to do with a Porsche? It's way too small for your family."
"Mom, can I have it when I graduate from high school?"
... and on and on.
When they found out it was a Porsche 924 - a classic from 1977 - and we only paid about $1500 for it, the comments took a different turn:
"What are you going to do with an old beat up car?"
"Forget it! I don't want my friends seeing me in an OLD car!"
"That's $1500 more than I would have paid."
"Does it have seatbelts?"
"Regular or unleaded gas?"
... and my favorite: "Can you even fit in that thing?"
One guy I used to know - who owns a limited edition Porsche Panamera (valued around $75k) - liked to poke fun and ask me when we were going to get a real Porsche. He'd say to me "Don't you want to see yourself someday in a new Porsche?"
I wonder if he'd say that to his wife - who is about 20 years his junior. 🙂
Last summer was a rough one for us. After two years of trying to keep a failing business venture afloat, and some personal financial issues around the health of our kids, we made a tough decision to file bankruptcy. In the proceeding, my husband said he'd like to keep his car - a 2007 Malibu Maxx that was the culprit of my illustrious "car incident" just a few months earlier. I had just paid $1200 cash for a used minivan (my first car in 2 years!), so I didn't really care what he did with that car. I had encouraged him to give it up so we didn't have to keep making the payments, but he really believed we needed a "reliable" car and he wasn't convinced my minivan would do the job.
While driving the Maxx home one day, the transmission just decided to stop functioning. I had turned the corner into our subdivision and the car just stopped going forward. It would reverse just fine, but no forward momentum. Turns out this isn't uncommon in the Maxx, and since we'd just declared bankruptcy, it didn't seem very responsible to plow 2 grand we didn't have into getting it fixed. So we were now in need of a car. Hubby drove my van until we could find something in our price range - which wasn't much, considering we had just bought my minivan!Then we found the Porsche. The Craigslist ad said it had been garaged for roughly 25 of its years, and ran well - even came with a new set of tires! All for $1500. Nothing else in our price range came close to the condition of the Porsche. But we didn't know anything about a Porsche 924 - let alone a car from 1977! I was only 2 when this car rolled off the factory lot!
So we did some research, and it turns out parts aren't hard to come by. It was meant to be a VW design, but when VW decided to forego their foray into sports cars, Porsche decided to build it themselves. It's actually a surprisingly good car - the center of gravity and balance are nearly perfect - so much so that you can jack up the entire side of the vehicle from one point near the middle of the car. Makes repairs and tire changes fast and easy.
It sounds odd to say the buying the Porsche was a logical choice, but it really was. There was nothing else in our price range that even ran, let alone carried some kind of resale value. So here we are, proud owners of a 1977 Porsche 924.
The color is ugly. The back seats are small, and it's loud - everything you'd expect from a nearly 40 year-old sports car. But it runs. And in the year since we bought the car, I've learned a few things - not just about cars, but about myself as well.
The Porsche 924 really hit its stride in the early 80's - so we've got one of the earliest models. It's not top of the line, but then, neither are we. We're just a typical American family doing the best we can with what we've got. It needs some work - and so do I.
We didn't buy a Porsche for prestige or resale value. Those things are nice, but we bought it because it made logical sense at the time. It would be easy to slap a "for sale" sign on it and let some collector come and scoop it up for a few hundred bucks. But why? So it can go back in a garage, or put on display at Back To The Bricks once a year? No thanks.
It shouldn't be so easy to let go of something just because it's getting old. One day, we'll be old, too. And we're far more valuable than any Porsche could ever be.
Not in the way you might think. It's not about how awesome I am for owning it. Or how cool it is. I think about this: what if I were that car? I'm almost as old as that car. That Porsche was relegated to a garage for years - never seeing the light of day - except for maybe an odd summer drive or two each year. Never really getting to do what it was built for. Being sheltered from the life that would have used it up years ago.
A Porsche is meant to be driven, experienced, taken places. And yes, it's meant to be seen, not stored away somewhere. It has a unique gift, look, and feel. And so do I. So do you.
How many years have we spent 'garaged' in our own lives? How many days have we sat sheltered from what we were built for on this planet?
You are far more valuable than any Porsche could ever be (click to tweet)
I don't know about you, but I'm done with that. When I wrote The Secret Watch, I was cast out of the garage of life. Since then, sometimes it's felt like a joyride and sometimes like I was skidding out of control. But I'm on the road. I'm doing what I was designed to do.
I'm plotting some new adventures this Fall, and I'd love for you to join me. This month, I'm leading a brand new workshop in Minnesota about the power of YOU and how your presence is one of the most meaningful tools you have to grow your business. If you or someone you know wants to show up as your true self more often - and more confidently - I promise you'll get a lot out of this event.
How about you?
Remember the Toy Story franchise? Toys are meant to be played with. That's why they're made in the first place. What gives them value - what makes them collectible - isn't because they're old. It's because someone once played with one when they were a kid and those sentimental memories are what they value. They ascribe those good feelings to that toy, and BAM! 20 years later, when you can't buy that toy anymore, it's got value.
How in the world will people ever have good memories of the real you if you don't ever get out of the garage? You are capable of so much more than you realize. You may think you have an inkling, but I promise you, it's only an inkling of the vastly awesome stuff of which you are capable. And the world needs you. Now more than ever.
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