There is nothing in my business career after my driving days that I cherish more than watching good people succeed and feeling as though I might have had a hand in their success. I felt a certain fulfillment in challenging those quality individuals who were around me to a take on task or an opportunity that they felt might be beyond their capabilities and watch them succeed at them. My role was to support them challenge their logic and then watch as they strive to become proficient at a new task. One thing that all these people had in common was that they had talent and ambition but what they needed a small kick in the rear and a pat on the back for encouragement and an opportunity. I know this because these were the challenges I experienced in my own career.
You see one of my greatest obstacles in business was very similar in that I lacked confidence in myself and those that know me well will be surprised to hear that I was for years intimidated by academics that had all the education that I did not. My grade 11 standing just didn’t cut it in my mind. I felt as though they probably had some deeper thinking process than I did so I would sit on my proverbial opinion and say nothing for fear of embarrassing myself. It took quite awhile for me to realize that nothing and I mean nothing is worth more than common sense and a good gut instinct. Once I came to this realization it all became a lot easier for me, the people I once feared now became intricate parts of a winning team. Their council was sought but the decision was mine as I began to trust my years of experience in this industry.
Two critical things happened that helped me over my fears one I have talked about in previous circles, which was a management course I took a course called MBR management by responsibility. This 8-session teaching I absorbed like a sponge it explained many things to me about myself and those who were my peers and my direct reports. The ultimate level of performance is that of the responsible person one who is confident in his or her own behavior and actions. Benign to the criticisms of others as much as one can be open to other opinions, focused on the critical issues at hand and shows concern for the people around them. They balance family and business giving each the measured attention they deserve. The second was that I was advised to seek the help of a mentor or in my case a business coach. Over and over I heard the same thing, trust your gut think it through and then when decision time comes go with your instincts.
I guess where I am going with all this is the idea that this industry has not done enough to promote career paths for it’s people. This thought pattern has never quite sat right with me. I believe that we each are in the space were in right now because that is where were comfortable. For some of us that space is on the edge always challenging ourselves to new experiences for others they may be quite comfortable to occupy the space they are currently living in and to stay that way. There is no right or wrong to this thinking at the end of the day finding happiness is always the toughest challenge and for each of us that looks a little different. That’s what makes the world go round.
What I do know is that if you are looking for a career path in trucking it is available for those who choose to seek it but it begins within. If you want to get out from behind the wheel and take a crack at operations recruiting safety whatever your taste it is up to you to take the first step. Perhaps you want to change from being a company driver and become an Owner Operator. Whatever it is don’t wait for someone or something to come along and make it happen for you it will not happen you must take it upon yourself to make change happen.
Suggestion, ask the company you work for if they hire from within the ranks and if so do they support additional training to help folks transits into new roles. If they don’t you might want to look for a company, which does. I was always proud to tell our new hires when I ran a carrier that the majority of the industry was started by a driver behind the wheel with a dream. Hell that’s how we got to where we are now fact; ex-drivers fill the vast majority of non-driving roles throughout the industry.
If you want change in your life then get in the game plot a course of action and execute. Find a mentor take a self improvement course read books on self improvement or books by people who have become successful and have overcome the odds. You are only limited by your own self-doubt! Take a chance it’s what makes life interesting.
I don’t know who originally came up with the verse but I have always liked this line of thinking, it goes “ Its not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog”
If you want to change your current situation plot a course and get at it. If you are one of the fortunate ones who are happy and content in you’re current lifestyle, you are at the responsible level and you have my respect.
Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations. All posts by Ray Haight