Bus Driver...The Best Job Ever!

Blog Archive from April 4, 2011
If you could have any job in the world, regardless of money, what would it be?  Someone recently asked me that question.  My response… “I’d keep doing exactly what I’m doing now.”  Their response… “You mean you would be the CEO of a nonprofit?”.  My response… “No, I’d keep my job as a bus driver.”  Seeing the look of confusion on the person’s face, I eagerly explained why, in my opinion, the best job in the world (for me) is bus driver.  Specifically, the driver of the Explore Austin bus!
You see, as a bus driver, I have the honor and privilege of sitting at the front of our Explore Austin bus, steering wheel in hand, foot on the gas pedal (often floored!), eyes on the road, headed up the mountain road to greatness! Which means, I have the best view in the organization!  As the bus driver, I can (and do) look through the windshield every day.  And, for the first time ever, I can see the top of the mountain road we have been traveling for the past 6 years.  I can see the crest of the hill… the point at which, when we reach it, I can take my foot off the gas pedal (at least a little bit) and focus on steering and braking, using momentum to power the bus, rather than having to keep my foot mashed down on the gas.
Better yet, in my seat I have the luxury of being able to look up into that big bus driver’s rearview mirror and see the faces of the great people already on the bus… staring back at me!  I see the faces of 100 Explorers (boys and, now, girls too!) eager to change their lives and become better leaders.  I see the faces of ourmentors… sitting in literally the same seats as their Explorers, eager to make a difference in the lives of their Explorers and in our community.  I see the faces of our staff members who work tirelessly to provide the opportunities that our mentors and Explorers experience. I see the faces of our Board of Directors and Advisory Board who, when I need them, walk down the aisle of the bus, put their hand on my shoulder, and help me keep the bus in the right lane… pointing out where what seems like a shortcut is too risky, where it’s safe to deviate from the map a bit, or where it’s a good idea to pull over and let more people on the bus. Which is exactly what we were doing at last week’s “Quest for the Summit” fundraiser (and what I’m doing now).  We decided to pull the bus over to the side of the road. Our leadership realized the need to take a pause, open the doors, and invite others to join us on our journey.   After all, what makes being a bus driver fun is the other people on the bus.  I certainly have no desire to drive myself around in an empty bus!
In the book Good to GreatJim Collins says that the biggest factor that contributes to an organization’s rise from good to great is getting great people on the bus… and in the right seat.  Well, I can tell you that the Explore Austin bus is filled with great people!  I can also tell you that for the past 6 years, Explore Austin has been GOOD at what we do.  However, I truly believe that we are on the cusp of becoming GREAT at what we do!  As I told the audience last week, I believe the key to completing that journey (from good to great) is getting more great people involved.  Collins also says that great people get involved with an organization because it already has great people involved.  If that’s true (and I believe it is), then it shouldn’t be hard to convince you to join us.  All you have to do is look at the great people already on our bus!
Before I end, let me say one other thing about being a bus driver.  In between looking out the windshield and looking at the faces in the rearview mirror, my job is to look at the gauges on our bus’s dashboard.  At Explore Austin, we have lots of them…. and they are all important.  We have a gauge for effectiveness, a gauge for attendance, a gauge for efficiency, a gauge for social media, a gauge for just about everything.  However, right smack dab in the middle of the dashboard is a gauge for fuel.  Quite honestly, getting our bus up the mountain to greatness takes a lot of fuel.  As we continue to add great people (Explorers, mentors, and staff) to the bus, it gets heavier, fuel prices go up, parts are expensive, service is expensive, etc. Which brings me to my point… We need help fueling our bus!
We need people with the time, treasure, and talent to make our engine run.  Our Explorers deserve their seat on the bus and we’ve promised to continue to make their journey possible.  Help us keep our promise and help us change their lives.  All you have to do is get on the bus!  Once you do, I can assure you that we’ll find you a seat, drive safely and responsibly, and make it the best journey you have ever been a part of.  It certainly has been for me!