Inactive to Proactive

The basic premise is that humans are creatures of habit. That said, we as truckers depend on our good habits that have been developed to keep us safe and able to earn a good living. Those habits are what I want to focus on. Yes, the pretrip inspection, regularly checking mirrors, keeping current and correct logs, checking our load, etc. are all parts of our everyday routine or habit. The habits that I want us to examine are the ones that define us personally. How many of us have complained about some aspect of the industry? These are the habits that I want to focus on.

If we complain about things that are not right, this too can become part of our habits. More often then not we only complain to each other (which has no effect in changing the wrong. Another bad habit.). We are participants in an industry but we are inactive in deciding its direction. It is my opinion that we should complain to someone that can help change things. Otherwise, we should just settle for the status quo and stop complaining. Most drivers have an opinion about almost every aspect of our business. The problem is that we do very little to actually make it different. That is what I want to help with. Moving from Inactive to Proactive.

As I said earlier, we are creatures of habit. We have to change our habits to really make things better. I suggest that you start with small changes. Each week, or even each month, choose something that you want to change. It does’t have to be related to trucking. It could be something personal. Self discipline goes hand in hand with becoming proactive. Make that one small change and stick with it. Keep doing that every day. Soon, you won’t even think about it any more because it became a habit. Now you are ready to choose another aspect to change. Repeat this process over and over. In a short amount of time, you will start to notice that you are becoming more of the person that you want to be and less of the person you were.

A habit is developed by doing the same thing over and over. Most of the time we develop these habits unconsciously. To move from inactive to proactive you have to think about the things you want to change and start doing them regularly. It does require a measure of self discipline to accomplish your goals. You have to stick with the change until it becomes habit.

Smoking, or quitting smoking was one of the hardest things for me personally to change. I could find no redeeming quality to smoking. I knew it was bad for me. Knowing in my mind that it was not the thing that I needed to be doing yet was the thing that my mind kept telling me to do was quite the conundrum. I had many personal arguments with myself on the matter. Finally, I had to support what I knew to be the right thing to do. I stopped smoking. I probably will forever be a smoker, I simply choose not to do it. I miss it sometimes but I am proud that I changed something in my life for the better and I don’t choose to go back.

Improvements in your life are accomplished the same way. Choose the things you don’t really like about yourself and start a plan to be who you want to be. One day at a time! Fight the battles of today, not the battles of a lifetime. You will find that practicing these simple measures (with self discipline), in a short you will start noticing the change in yourself. You will start to move yourself from inactive to proactive! Best of luck to you! Give it a whirl! Pick one thing and start your own self improvement process.

Let’s Make a Difference

This week I have several things to share with you. First, I want to ask how everyone is doing with the Five Plus Challenge? Were you able move away from your comfort zone far enough to start accepting the challenge? Did you make contact with a representative? I suspect very few did. I admit, I didn’t either. I promise you that in the three weeks left in the month, I will make that contact. I’m not doing very good on getting ¬†five people to participate as well. This is also a part of the challenge that I will continue to work on. This leads me to the next realization I had last week.

As I listened to the current events and many of the different perspectives on the varied subjects, I realized that the trucking industry is very much a reflection of the national landscape. There is a lot of talk about what should be done on many different fronts but it is the voice of the major players and media that come through. A lot is presented as if it were the silver bullet to all the problems but in reality, “they” don’t often speak to the needs of the minions. We continue taking what is decided for us in spite of our protests. Just look at the results from the listening sessions that were held. Many people with extensive experience spoke up and gave excellent input. Yet, the voice that gets heard is that of the major players.

I heard a statistic about voter participation in America. It indicated that participation across the board was down. Even more so on off year elections. You may ask, “What does this have to do with trucking”? Well the statistics for truckers getting involved are even lower than the national average! We have to learn how to be the stewards of our own destiny. We will do this by becoming part of the system and being heard. You may feel as if your voice doesn’t really make much difference. The truth is that unless your politician stands to gain something from it, your voice alone doesn’t really make much difference. That is why we have been ignored on so many issues. When we speak together, we display a voting block. That is something that can be valued. If that block is large enough, we start to be heard. We have the power to make quality changes to our industry if we collectively stand together.

We are a government, By the People, Of the People and, For the People. If we don’t participate in the government, WE ARE NOT HEARD! That is the importance of the challenge from last week. We have to decide if we are going to take what we are fed or decide for ourselves what we will have. As we get older and become the more experienced drivers in our industry, we have to learn more leadership skills to properly prepare the newer drivers for their own future.

It really is about moving out of your comfort zone to take the next steps. We can do this. Just try it this week. Try to call your representative. You will get a staffer. Tell them how you feel about something. I promise you that you will go away with the satisfaction of knowing that you actually did something. If that is too big of a step, then go to FightingForTruckers.com and just sign on to one of the form letters there. You may also feel that it didn’t really make a difference. Well, when you add your voice to the others that decided to make a difference, you will start to see things change. Encourage others to find that inner strength to make a difference too! Before you know it, you will be the roll model of the next generation. Let’s step up and make a difference!