I have found some common traits that are shared by drivers and owner-operators who have achieved success in their career. These traits would carry into any career not just our industry of trucking. There is a quote by Zig Ziglar that always reminds me of a common trait of successful people:
When we do more than we are paid to do, eventually we will be paid more for what we do.
Each one of these accomplished drivers never counted on luck to achieve success. These drivers who have achieved success have always portrayed the willingness to go above and beyond the customer/employer’s expectations. Professionalism, levelheaded demeanor, and the inept ability to adapt to the circumstances involved in completing any given task is the common denominator shared by these individuals. Some of these drivers found success by doing what their peers were not willing or in some cases able to do. Example; those that deliver and pick up loads in New York City or Canada.
Others have found their success by having specialized equipment to handle unusual shipments. At all times, these successful people have performed with the utmost of professionalism and never use foul language while conducting the business at hand. The final and most important point is their willingness to conduct themselves in this manner before anyone was willing to pay them more than they would have someone else. Reputations that can generate a higher level of income are earned over time. In contrast, I have met many who state that they too would operate in this manner if they were paid for it. This takes us back to Zig Ziglar’s quote: when we do more than we are paid to do, eventually, we will be paid more for what we do.
Another quote by Andrew Carnegie “The habit of Going the Extra Mile gives one the benefit of the law of Increasing Returns, in a variety of ways too numerous to be described here.”
Taking an attitude of that’s not my job or I will do it when they pay me to do it would not seem to lead to a path of advancement in any given career. For example, why do people get promoted to managers? People who get promoted to managerial/leadership positions typically have exhibited the after-mentioned qualities prior to their promotion. Another item is the continuing improvement of reinventing oneself if you continue to conduct your trade in the same exact manner without improvement you will find your competition will find a better way to accomplish the same task.
All the people I have talked about are always on the lookout for a problem to be solved. When these drivers see a problem, they look at it as an opportunity to shine. The problem this solved is for future, not instantaneous compensation.
All of these drivers have earned a reputation for being the go-to person to solve problems through their previous efforts. Their reputation has also garnered them the opportunity to receive a higher rate of compensation for any given task.
If you never give a little more how can you expect to receive a little more?