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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Success as a Professional Truck Driver

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Happy Thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here and with it will soon come a new year.  New resolutions will be made and broken as always, but for many, a new year will bring hope and determination for a better future.  With new challenges facing the professional truck driver, success has been a hard struggle for many truck drivers;  even more so for the recent CDL school graduate.

I have been asked many times as to how can you be successful as a truck driver when there seems to be so many obstacles in the way?

I decided to do research to find what are the traits that set successful people apart from those that may not be so successful.  Regardless of the job, what is it that those people do that others may not?  I studied those from Bill Gates and John Schnatter to an unemployed mother of three, that went from poverty to making over $1 million per year by baking brownies from her kitchen basement.

I also wondered that if I could break it down to the ten most common traits found in successful people, would those traits also apply to truck drivers? Surprisingly, they do:

Success as a Professional Truck Driver: Overcoming the Obstacles

Here are the 10 most common traits I found in successful people and how they can relate to finding success as a professional truck driver:

10. Define the meaning of success. You cannot have success if you do not know what it means for you. Everyone views success differently. What is “success” to YOU? Paying your bills, keeping a roof over your head and food on the table? Owner operators may see success as building up their business into a small fleet of 5 or 6 trucks? Whatever it means to you, you have to know what success is, to you individually, before you can even begin working towards it.

9. Focus on what you want – focus on the positive, not the negative. Always look ahead instead of back and always remain focus on the desired end result.

8. Set targets or goals – setting targets or goals for yourself can help you to succeed. These can be daily, short term or long term targets. Always set realistic targets and give yourself a date by which to reach your target. “I’m going to reach 3000 miles this month” or “I’m going to increase my profit margin by 5% within the next six months” … whatever your goal … set a target date and work towards it.

7. Willing to Change – If you’ve been with a company for several months or a few years and you are still struggling for miles or whatever the obstacle may be … you have to be willing to change. If the company hasn’t stepped up to meet your goals by now, then chances are, they never will. Change could mean switching over to pulling flat-beds, or reefer or specialized loads. Only you, the driver, have the power to change the obstacles and circumstances in your career.

6. You cannot succeed alone – all successful people rely, in part, on others for their success. Your spouse at home to keep accurate books and records … other drivers …. that right company is out there, it may take help from others for you to find it.

5. Be willing to give something back – Success comes with taking, but also involves giving something back. You have to be willing to accept the good with the bad when reaching for success in a career. Be willing to take that load that nobody else wants …. give up a few miles per hour to save fuel for your company, success comes with being able to give and take … they both work together to form the foundation for a
successful life or career.

4. Persevere – perseverance and determination are 2 key elements needed for success; if you don’t give up at something you attempt then you can’t fail. If something doesn’t work out as planned the first time then try again using different methods. Maybe running a Regional route could work better for you, personally, than running all 48 . . . evaluate your personal needs and wants and then persevere to reach those goals.

3. Believe in yourself – develop strategies which make you more aware of yourself and what you are capable of achieving. If you believe in yourself and what you are capable of achieving then you are more likely to be successful in whatever you do. There will always be bad companies to work for, but there will always be good companies as well. Don’t believe so much on the one particular company, but believe more in yourself that you have the knowledge and skills that it takes to make it in the industry.

2. Commitment to the journey – Are you committed? It’s making judgment calls. You continually correct the “course” until you are headed in the right direction. It takes time. The question is can you stick it out? Do you quit because the money is low or you’re not getting enough miles? Or do you stay committed to pushing forward and making it work. Successful drivers stayed committed to keep trying, to keep going, until they found that right company and that right set of plans that worked for them.

1. Do What You Love – You are not going to be successful at something you spend all day dreading. Do you hate driving? Then why are you doing it? After 40 years of trucking are you worn out and just don’t have that “drive” … anymore … so to speak? Knowing when to call it quits is an important step to success. If you no longer love what you are doing … success will eventually slip away.

Nearly five years ago, I set out to “Raise the Standards” of the trucking industry, by publicly exposing the many problems faced by the American trucker. Issues that were considered “taboo” within the industry :

DAC Report AbuseOwner Operator Lease Purchase ScamsCDL Training School AbusesThe real facts about the “Driver Shortage”The true cause of the industry’s driver turn-over rateDriver recruiting tacticsThe using of CDL graduates as “Cheap Labor”The “Starving Out” of experienced, veteran drivers. . . and much more

Through the power of trucking social media, we are seeing positive changes within the industry.  The industry, CDL schools and companies are listening.  There are those companies that are re-structuring the way they operate and working toward a better foundation for their drivers.  There is still much work to do, but as the industry comes around in making positive changes, drivers must continue to work together in order to keep a positive impact going in the right direction.

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Success as a Professional Truck Driver

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