As we are all aware, the trucking industry continues to have an onslaught of regulatory change. These changes all effect how we can profitably and safely conduct our business. Years ago, when I raced a stock car, I learned many lessons that I still use today in business. The process that I employed back then is still earning me victories today.
One of the principles I’ve operated my business from is the old adage “when life throws you lemons you make lemonade.” This adage has served me well over the years through the many twists and turns that my business and my life have gone through.
I adopted this philosophy from my days racing stock cars. Nearly every year something in the rulebook would be changed in a manner that I found would disrupt the performance of my race car. Sometimes the rule change would add an expense that would make it more difficult to be competitive and other times it would take away something I already had which would reduce my car’s performance.
Each year, during the racing season, drivers and team owners would enthusiastically lobby either the sanctioning body or the track promoter for rules that would most benefit their race team. I was always active in lobbying for rules that would benefit my race team and many times the racing division as a whole. Sometimes my efforts would lead to changes that I had lobbied for. However, all the other teams were actively pursuing the powers that be in a similar manner.
Despite all of these efforts we were not the decision makers. It wasn’t until after the rule book was published that we knew what the rules would be for the new season. Some of the rules I would find worked to my advantage, sometimes not. At this point I was left to decide, do I want to continue to race or not? In spite of the changes, every year that I could, I raced.
Many of the teams exerted their energy complaining about the rules rather than finding ways to make the rules work in their favor. Little did I know that my early days of racing would lead me to a philosophy that would serve me so well in my business today.
I learned how to stop concentrating on how bad the new rule was, but instead turned my thoughts over to taking decisions made by officials work in my favor. On each rule if I looked hard enough, I could find a silver lining to be exploited advantageously on the track. Sometimes making lemonade out of lemons was not the answer as at times I had to make lemon pie.