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Modern-Day Leadership: Daring to Make the Impossible, Possible in Your Transportation Business

Bucket lists are powerful. They guide us to achieve great things, and the ripple effect inspires others around us on our teams and in our lives to do the same. Bucket lists can move the impossible to possible, a critical tool for leaders today facing the challenges of a global pandemic, economic recession and a movement for racial equality. 

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Ben Nemtin, co-founder of The Buried Life movement and inspirational keynote speaker, crafted an inspiring, humorous and daring story of processes, inclusivity and action via a bucket list during Trimble’s 2020 virtual in.sight user conference + expo, held on August 24-26, 2020.


Starting with a Bucket List

After struggling with crippling depression, Nemtin and his friends were inspired by a poem titled “The Buried Life” written 150 years ago by Matthew Arnold:

“...But often, in the world’s most crowded streets
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life…”

The poem spoke to the native British Columbian Nemtin and his friends. “We have all these things that we want to do but we haven’t done them because they’re buried,” Nemtin said. “We have moments that we’re inspired, but they get buried in the day-to-day.”

Nemtin and three of his friends created a bucket list of 100 things to do before they die – and it snowballed into a movement that swept the US. For every one thing they accomplished, the men helped a stranger cross something off their bucket list. So far, they have crossed off 91 of 100 goals on their collective bucket list, including:

  • Writing a New York Times bestseller

  • Making a TV show

  • Helping a father and son reunite after 17 years

  • Being interviewed by TV producer, host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey

  • Having a beer with former royal Prince Harry

  • Delivering a baby

  • Playing basketball with President Barack Obama

  • Surprising a young woman with a much-needed bionic arm.


Employing a Bucket List Strategy in Your Organization

How does this apply to the world of transportation? Companies with a people-first culture see measurable improvements in productivity, lower absenteeism, higher customer satisfaction and improved recruitment. 

An organization can only become the best version of itself to the extent that its employees are becoming better versions of themselves. For leaders, it’s important now more than ever during multiple national and global crises to know your purpose, know your “why,” to be effective. Demonstrating that you care enough to ask your team what matters most to them goes a long way, and it’s easier than you think to help them get there.

Nemtin shared five steps to making the impossible possible in your life, for your team and your organization:

1. Write down your goals. You are 42% more likely to achieve your goal just by writing it down. The simple act of writing it down takes it from an idea to something real. It’s also a reminder that your goals exist and are waiting for you to achieve them.

2. Share. The only way we cross off goals on our list is through the help of other people. Fear is the biggest roadblock to conquer – fear of what other people think or the fear of failure. Sharing our goals helps us to stay accountable to ourselves and others – we want to work together to help each other not only professionally but also personally.

3. Persist. People trick themselves into thinking they fail because of external forces, but the simple truth is they fail because they stop trying. It’s a numbers game – trying, again and again, makes all the difference. You’re not done until you get your “yes.”

4. Take moonshots – dream big. 99% of the world doesn’t believe they can do great things, so they shoot for realistic goals. Realistic goals end up being the most competitive place to be, therefore if you shoot for big goals, there’s less competition and higher chance that you’ll get it done. A big goal also motivates you to get out of bed every morning and attracts the best people to your side to help you achieve them. 

5. Give. When you help someone else, it fills you up in a way that doing something for yourself just doesn’t. Happiness is only real when it’s shared. It’s a lasting fulfillment and inspires those who you help to pay it forward and do the same. 


Experiencing the Ripple Effects of a Bucket List 

Nemtin reminded conference attendees that all actions create reactions. He noted that when things were really tough and people needed critical supplies, transportation organizations and drivers were and continue to be the unsung heroes.

“You’re supplying our world, getting trucks on the road to deliver food, PPE and medical supplies and equipment to people who needed it. You might not see the people who are actually using it, but it’s very real. Your positive reactions are causing a positive ripple effect that’s helping to save lives,” he said, adding, “It’s an unusual power that a bucket list can have, causing us to prioritize the important things in life both professionally and personally – the things that will bring the most joy and fulfillment. And by doing what you love, you inspire other people to do what they love with a ripple effect [that] goes far beyond what you’ll ever know.”

And so, “The Buried Life” poem ends:

“... And then he thinks he knows  

The hills where his life rose,  

And the Sea where it goes.”

Looking for more helpful educational resources for your personal and professional life? Check out additional takeaways from our in.sight user conference + expo to get inspired about how to drive improvements and meaningful change within your organization.