Don’t be an Ogre. That’s pretty simple advice – unless you really are an Ogre like the most famous one of all, Shrek.
While you may be familiar with the movie, I will, as always, reference the musical of the same name. Shrek suffers from low self-esteem due to years of being ridiculed and chased with pitchforks, which is actually quite understandable. I believe travel agents suffer from the same issue. While we can be thankful that most of our clients don’t resort to pitchforks, we have over the years been relegated to the swamp of dying careers.
The good news is that recently there has been an upsurge in positive media about travel agents. While we need to celebrate that, it will take more than that to truly overcome any lingering doubts about the value of our profession.
Even after Shrek saves the Princess in heroic fashion, he still can only see himself as an Ogre. Travel agents save vacations and perform heroic tasks all the time – but they still don’t give themselves the proper credit. This song that Shrek sings as he grapples with his place in the world could be sung by travel agents everywhere:
I thought I’d be a hero, With sword and armor clashing
Looking semi dashing, A shield within my grip
Or else I’d be a Viking, live a life of daring
While smelling like a herring, upon a Viking ship.
I’d sail away, I’d see the world, I’d reach the farthest reaches
I’d feel the wind, I’d taste the salt and sea.
And maybe storm some beaches.
That’s who I’d be. That’s who I’d be.
I dreamed I’d be a poet, Write a different story,
One that told of glory, and wiped away the lies
And to the skies I’d throw it, the stars would do the telling
The moon would help with spelling, and night would dot the ‘I’s
I’d write my verse, recite my joke, it’d fit in perfect timing.
I’d share my heart, confess the things I learn, and do it all while rhyming.
But then we learn. But then we learn.
An Ogre [Travel Agent) always hides, an Ogre's (Travel Agent’s) fate is known
An Ogre (Travel Agent) always stays in the dark and all alone.
The amazing thing is that Shrek is already all of the things he wishes he’d be! He is a hero to the Princess and all of the other fairy tale characters. While he may not smell of herring (although I am not sure the standard Ogre aroma is much better), he already lives a “life of daring” like a Viking. By the lyrics of this song alone he is also a poet. It is simply a matter of perspective. Because he sees himself as “just an Ogre,” he does not see what he already is.
Travel agents sometimes suffer from the same self-imposed limitations. But you need to take a look at who you really are. You are a hero! You create dreams, save your clients from costly mistakes, and change lives. You are a Viking! You travel the world, and to most people you live a life full of daring adventures. You are a poet! Each vacation you create is poetry in motion!
Shrek ultimately learns the truth about himself while not losing the fact that he is all of those things and an Ogre. You are also all of these things and a fabulous travel agent! It is all about perspective. Believe in yourself and take a different perspective – especially if you find yourself becoming an Ogre! Remember, you are a hero. You slay dragons every day; you write the best chapters of your client’s lives; you talk to donkeys! Well, three out of four is impressive and there are no angry mobs with pitchforks anywhere in sight!
A Travel Agent – that’s Who I’d Be!