Making the Evening Traffic Report
After spending the summer in the sun-scorched desert of Phoenix on an internship, I anxiously awaited the moment when I would be able to return to the cool late summer of Idaho. After making the long drive to my hometown of Boise and spending some time with family, I was excited to drive back to Elevati’s offices in Rexburg and start my new job.
After some days of much needed relaxation, I packed up my Jeep and began the drive out of Boise. I made it about a block and half before my Jeep stalled, lost all power, and refused to start up. This was an unpleasant experience, but I’m glad it happened near my home where I was able to call a tow truck and get the Jeep to the dealership. After a day in the shop, my Jeep was good to go! I drove it back home, no issues whatsoever. I repacked the Jeep and hit the road. While about 2 miles outside of town traveling at 85 miles per hour, my Jeep lost all power, and I coasted to a stop on the side of the freeway. Luckily, I did not get smashed by a speeding 18-wheeler. I called the dealership, a tow truck came, and I was headed back to Boise. Believe it or not, this was an unpleasant experience. Nobody ever wants to be that guy stranded on the side of the freeway. Well, I was that guy.
Two days had passed, and I was sure that they had fixed the issue with the car. I drove it home from the dealership, packed everything I own into the Jeep again and nervously began the drive out of the city. I was leaving town at 4:00 pm, right at the onset of rush hour. Traffic was heavy, but I was happy that my Jeep was now running properly. As I made my way through the suburbs and approached my on-ramp to the freeway, my music was playing, my Pepsi was in hand, and I was happy. I stopped momentarily for a red light, and then began turning onto the on-ramp. Then, the unthinkable happened: my Jeep stalled immediately and refused to restart. Here I was, at rush hour, blocking one of the major freeway on-ramps in Boise. As other cars tried to make their way around me, my window was down and I heard an unpleasant array of vocabulary that shouldn’t be repeated on a business blog. Many people were fond of sharing a certain finger with me. As you can imagine, panic set in quickly. I was the guy on the road that I would normally be yelling at. I called the dealership and they were on their way with a truck to tow me out of the way. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t arrive for another 30 minutes. I called the police, and they wouldn’t be there for another 15 minutes. As I sat in my car listening to the evening traffic report, I was thrilled to learn that I had made the report! Nothing can be more humbling than hearing you are causing a two mile backup and creating a mess on the evening commute in a metro area of nearly three quarters of a million people. Needless to say, I was not having an enjoyable moment.
Then, something beautiful happened, I stopped worrying! I realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do in the situation. I had done what I needed to do and made the calls that I needed to make. Stressing over the situation would not help me in the slightest. I still had my Pepsi and my music, I might as well enjoy the moment. I mean, how many other times in my life will I be blocking traffic to a freeway and be on the evening traffic report?
In business, we need to understand that some things will be beyond our control. We need to humbly accept this fact. We need to focus on what we can control and when difficulties arise, change what we can change, help where we can help, and don’t unnecessarily stress over the rest. Worrying unnecessarily will only create tension in the workplace and make your work experience far less productive. The most productive workplaces that I’ve been in have been where camaraderie is strong and morale is high. Nothing can destroy productivity and morale more than tension. Be the positive influence that your coworkers and superiors need. Be the calming presence in your office. You will develop a reputation of someone who people want to work with and someone people want to hire.