Shedding the negative and helping others

BANFF, Alta. – Motivational speaker Chris Cummins addressed attendees at the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) Leadership Conference today (April 29), saying that negativity was not the path toward success in business or in life, and hammered home the theme that good things come to those who put others ahead of themselves.

“Effective leaders have figured out that if you help those around you raise their game, they will help you raise your game,” said Cummins, adding that ‘net-giving’ is a far more effective tool for finding success than traditional networking, a word he said should be removed from our vocabulary.

“Be the only person at a networking event that is not talking about themselves,” he said, adding that if you become a ‘connector’, greater opportunity will come your way. “When you become known as a net-taker, doors will close to you, but when you become known as a giver, doors open.”

Cummins spoke about the law of reciprocity, and how a 70-year study by Harvard University revealed that those who have given more than they have taken during their lives tend to be happier people.

“We all have fears, hopes and dreams…we all have financial challenges…but you and I need people and people need us,” Cummins said, “and when we find a way to give value to another human being, they find ways to give value back to us.”

The best leaders, Cummins said, are those who know that they must spend time with those around them to teach them how to become great leaders themselves, and he repeated the mantra, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses.”

Cummins then pointed to today’s daily news cycle and how it is having a negative impact on our mindset, something he believes we must reverse.

“How are we supposed to pull out of that if we’re always surrounded by it?” he questioned. “When you change what you think about, it changes the way you feel.”

Cummins said in addition to changing our mindset, we must look at the effect our relationships are having on us.

Highlighting an uplifting story from the Special Games in Spokane, Wash., Cummins told of how during a race, one runner fell at the start line, but was uplifted by a young girl who stopped running and helped the fallen runner, which lead to all of the runners stopping and helping the young man cross the finish line all together.

“We can talk about reefer trucks, or owner-operators, how to manage the business, how much your downtime is,” Cummins said, “…before we do any of that stuff, those nine runners reminded us of the human condition.”

From a business standpoint, Cummins said setting goals is a lot like a GPS system – if you don’t punch in a destination, or a goal you would like to achieve, GPS systems are useless, like a workday devoid of set objectives.

Cummins said we must use technology like email and texting only when it is appropriate, and that it was vital to ensure we always default back to face-to-face communication if we are to master the art of persuasion.

“Your email inbox is nothing more than a sophisticated device that allows other people to control your time,” Cummins said, pointing to recent studies that show only 7% of communication comes from the words we use, while 38% is from tone and the remaining 55% from body language.

Cummins asked attendees to pause for a moment and write down what their goals are both professionally and personally.

“What are some things that you haven’t had the guts to write down,” he asked, “but you think would be pretty cool if you could achieve? Your brain is going to talk you out of writing things down…write down something things that maybe you haven’t written down before.

“If you’re passionate about something enough, don’t let anybody talk you out of it.”

In the end, Cummins said leaders must ‘give value to others first’ and if you believe in them, they are more likely to find success.

If you wake up every morning looking for obstacles, I promise you, you will find them,” Cummins said. “You become what you think about all day long.

“You have to choose fear sometimes…don’t wait.”

Derek Clouthier

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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