Trust your training
I visited my parents in Greenville, SC not too long ago and became snowed in while visiting. Anybody who has lived in the southeast understands how much even an inch of snow disrupts everything. On a Sunday night we received 6.5 inches of snow, breaking the one-day record of 5.7 inches set in 1965.
The roads shut down and it reminded me of the first time I ever drove in the snow. Born in Florida and growing up in South Carolina, I did not have the exposure to real winter conditions until I moved to Wyoming after college. I was 23 and had moved to Casper, Wyoming to work for an oilfield services company.
The training pipeline consisted of truck driving school in Casper to get my CDL as well as safety training and various certifications in Vernal, Utah. I had started in the spring of 2014 and was starting to feel like I had gotten the hang of things by the time cold weather rolled around later in the year.
As the first bad winter storm started to roll in, my boss walked up to our circle and stated that he needed two guys to drive some new pump trucks from Gillete to Casper. He pointed at me and another, tossed us the keys and told us to follow his F-350. I stole a glance at the menacing clouds that were starting to open up and hesitantly got into the cab of the shiny new multi-million dollar 18-wheeler.
I wondered if I should mention to him that I had never driven in snow or icy roads before, but then decided against it. I told myself that if I trusted my training and was careful things would work out. The drive took less than two hours but felt like a lifetime. I was relieved as I pulled into the yard, backed into the parking space and hopped down from the cab.
My walk had a new swagger that can only be gained by accomplishing tasks that make one nervous. It wasn’t the first time that I had tried something new, but I felt that it was an accomplishment nonetheless. It also made me excited to try the next new thing.
It’s been a while since that drive but there have been hundreds of times since that I have experienced that feeling. If something makes me trepidatious, I know that I’ll probably be alright — just gotta trust my training.