You are a self-employed expediter. When something bad happens, does it happen to you, your business or both?

You are a self-employed expediter. When something bad happens, does it happen to you, your business or both? While the same negative event can happen to two expediters, the one who treats it as a business event is more likely to move on and prosper, while the one who takes it personally is more likely to stay stuck.

Say you are in a good freight area around noon on a Friday. You are in service but not yet dispatched. It has been an OK week so far but not great. There is no better place to relocate to improve your chances for freight. Home is too far away to make it an easy trip. You know you may be stuck waiting over the weekend if you don’t get a load soon.

An hour goes by, then another and yet another. Finally, around 3:30, your phone rings or Qualcomm unit beeps with a load offer. That perks you up and you reach quickly to learn what’s up.

If you get paid by percentage of the load, say that a long run is offered, but the pay is too low to meet expenses, let alone make a profit. If you are paid a flat rate per mile, say the pay is as expected but the load goes to a remote area far away, where you will have little hope of getting quickly out.

You decline the load because it is a loser. As you sit alone in your truck, the thoughts begin to run. Do you view the lousy load offer as a business event, or do you take it personally? At this crucial instant in your business, a choice can be made. What just happened? Was it a business event, personal event or both?

If you take it personally, the script runs like this. “Who do those people think they are? Don’t they know that I need to get paid to stay in business and haul their fright? This is an insult! Who do they think they are talking to? I don’t run cheap freight. Cheap freight is for losers and I’m no loser. Those dispatchers, they come to work in the morning and go home at night. They have no idea how it is out here. They don’t care if I live or die. Idiots!”

The business centered script is different. “Damn; another lousy load offer and now I’m stuck for the weekend. This seems to be happening more and more. I need to check this out with other expediters. Maybe I should keep closer track of my load offers to see if this really is a trend. Maybe someone at the company can tell me why these bad offers seem to be on the rise. This week was slow but year-to-date is OK. Maybe there is no problem at all and this is just an ordinary slump. Maybe it’s this freight center. Maybe it’s not as good as it used to be. How can I check that out?”

Notice the difference. Both expediters dearly wanted a good load. Neither expediter got one. Both are stuck over the weekend with no freight to haul and no money to make; but what a difference between the two!

The self centered expediter is making this about personalities. It’s about the expediter and the dispatchers. The business centered expediter is making this about business. Both expediters feel bad that a good load offer was not received, but which one is more likely to stay stuck in and influenced by the bad feelings?

You can see the self centered drivers at truck stops almost every time you overhear a group. They regularly group up to gain sympathetic ears, nurse their wounded egos and reinforce their views. While doing so may provide some relief and get affirmation among like-minded peers, what does it get them really?

Do they learn more about the business? Do they view the big picture? Are they reaching out to people who have information that they don’t? Are they evaluating their previously formed opinions in light of the most recent development? Self centered expediters do none of these things, while business centered expediters do them all.

Consider also the effect the scripts have on others. Which expediter will be better liked by the dispatchers they interact with nearly every day? Who would you rather be accepted and respected by; a group of self centered complainers, or a number of knowledgeable business people whose opinions you respect? Which group is more likely to refer you to someone with insight into the issue you are trying to resolve?

“Wow! You think you have been dissed? You should talk to this friend of mine. This guy has been raked over the coals more than you and me put together. Give him a call. He has ‘pissed off’ elevated to an art form.” He is funny to listen to and really knows how it is.”

“I’m not sure what’s going on at that freight center but I met a sales rep a couple weeks ago who covers that region. He seemed interested in chatting with drivers. Next time you come through town, let’s try to set up a lunch with the three of us. I’d like to talk shop with him too.”

You are a self-employed expediter. When something bad happens, does it happen to you, your business or both? It’s both. It feels bad to get offered a crap load when you dearly want and need a good load. It also hurts your business in a way that shows immediately on your bottom line. But the bad event is not the end of the story. It’s the beginning.

In the instant that immediately follows a bad event, the thought path you follow, the tone you take, the next thing you see, the things you try to grasp, and the people you seek out are all determined by the instincts that then kick in.

Self centered or business centered? The choice is yours.