Keynote speaking takes me all over the country, and I often call an Uber driver when I need a ride. Sometimes en route to my destination, I also learn a few life lessons from listening to the unique stories of my drivers. In our conversations, I’ve discovered that many Uber drivers are living out a lot of the tools—like fearlessness—that are the same tools that are so important for corporate teams and individuals who want to achieve peak performance.
Let me introduce you to a few of these amazing folks.
1. Only you can live your own fearlessness.
A driver in Los Angeles shared that he was a recovering addict who was devoting his life to clean living. Because I have people close to me who have fought this same fight, I asked him to tell me more. He was so matter of fact about this journey. His loved ones told him he needed to change, but that wasn’t enough for him to quit his addiction. He had to get to the point for himself where he decided that he did not want to die. He had to do it on his own. If you work with or love people who don’t want to make a change, you can’t get them there until they want that for themselves.
2. A single act of fearlessness can make a meaningful connection.
I was on an important phone call with my dad when the Uber car pulled up to the curb at the Atlanta airport. After ending the call with “I love you, Dad!” I apologized to the driver for my rudeness.
“Oh hey, that’s your dad, that’s priority No. 1,” he said cheerfully. I agreed, then asked him, “How are you?”
The answer inspired me: He told me that the stress he saw in most of his passengers helped him see how much he enjoyed his job and its simplicity. And he told me that no passenger had ever asked him how he was doing. Maybe they were too self-absorbed? I knew how he felt. As a sports agent, I got used to being part of the familiar furniture in the lives of my clients. In my current role as a speaker and author, as I follow my personal mission statement, I have found much greater balance, purpose and meaning in what I uniquely can give to others.
When we authentically and fearlessly reach out, we find common ground and sometimes clarity about priorities—in this Uber car, anyway!
3. Small habits add up to big outcomes (literally).
Another driver in Phoenix was a big guy who told me about his personal records for lifting weights. He was justifiably proud, because the numbers for his best bench, squat and other lifts were significant. His workouts had stopped, though, six months earlier when his wife gave birth, and now the steering wheel was bumping up against his belly.
“The baby’s up at night, I’m working all the time, I don’t have time to go to the gym,” he told me, saying that he had gained 45 pounds since the birth of their baby.
“You clearly love working out. What does it look like for you to take 30 minutes to go to the gym?” I asked him. “You need an outlet for yourself. Can you schedule time to do that, and protect that time on your calendar?”
He seemed to like the idea, and I hope he has figured out a way to reclaim that part of himself and his health. We all know people who have slid into bad health one small decision at a time. Peak productivity results from embracing better decisions consistently over time; I like to call this seizing little moments for big outcomes.
4. Keep going, and help others to do the same.
Recently in Atlanta, my Uber driver recounted growing up in Uganda after his father was killed. He made it to the United States by himself, and settled in San Diego with the help of Catholic Social Services.
CSS just happens to be one of the charities that my church supports. His story reminded me of the importance of sharing what we can, how giving is full engagement. When we give, we don’t see all the people who benefit.
CSS ended up helping this guy’s brother and mom join him here. Today he works two jobs, his kids go to private school, and I bet you couldn’t find someone more grateful.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Even introverts will benefit from taking the risk to connect with others who seem so different. Reaching out, even with a simple “how are you?,” is a low-stakes way to nurture fearlessness, and you never know who might inspire you or who you might inspire. Try it at the grocery store, Starbucks or maybe on your next Uber trip, and tell me your story!
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Her e-learning courses spark both personal growth for individuals and corporate development for organizations. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.