Lessons Learned from my Big Trip

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Every now and then I get to put on my big boy pants and go out of town for work. On Monday afternoon I loaded up the Buick and drove out to Mars, Pennsylvania to teach a class on best practices in the student transportation field. The class was held on Tuesday, and then I had to pack up fast and head home to catch my daughter’s band concert. Now that it’s Wednesday, I thought I would take a few minutes to jot down what I learned on my trip:

  • Sometimes being a follower sucks. I was cruising along on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when all of the traffic in my lane slowed to a crawl. A few cars passed by but I thought they might have gotten off the highway as well, so thinking that there was a road closure ahead I also got off the highway. And then sat there for ages. I looked at the Maps app on my iPhone and there were no visible traffic issues on the highway…but there were traffic issues on the road I was about to merge onto. And then I started seeing traffic going past us on the highway again. I don’t know what happened, but my decision to follow everyone else instead of trusting my eyes or checking my phone led me to be stuck in traffic for about 30 minutes.
  • I have to overcome my fear of rejection. On the way home I listened to an episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast about Jia Jang, the man in charge of Fearbuster. He described his 100-day challenge in which he attempted to get rejected over and over. By the end, he had two main takeaways (that I picked up on): first, that he was rejected far fewer times than anticipated; second, that he treated each rejection like it was a success. It made me think about the last conversation I had with my boss – I didn’t come right out and ask for a raise, I danced around the subject. I can’t be upset that I didn’t get what I thought I deserved because I didn’t make my request clear enough. Next time, I can do better.
  • I am an expert on some things. I’m a firm believe in humility, and when people refer to me as an expert on something I often hem and haw and blow off their complement. But standing in front of a room of transportation and school business professionals, it kind of sank in. I shouldn’t be afraid to stand up and say that I know what I’m talking about. I may not have 24 years in the field like my co-instructor, but my five years in student transportation have taught me a lot. And I shouldn’t feel pressure to know everything…being an instructor can be just as much about learning as teaching.
  • Murphy’s Law isn’t real. I drove a Buick with 155,000 miles on it across the state twice in two days and nothing bad happened. Maybe it will break down this evening or tomorrow, who knows. But I put myself through a ridiculous amount of anxiety and worry leading up to my big trip…I almost didn’t make the trip because of how afraid I was that my car would break down. And it didn’t. Boom.
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