It's Driver Appreciation Week (DAW) 2022 at Swift Transportation, and we are so excited to have the privilege to support this group again.
Just like last year, I am struck by how curious and open-minded these employees are. The vast majority of those who stopped by the studio have never tried mindfulness or meditation before. We were doing Open House, where we offer short classes (4- 7 minutes, on request) to people as they walk by. When I invited them in, many looked at me a little quizzically and said, "OK. Why not?" We were thrilled to be busy throughout our visits.
Viviana, a new driver who lives in Tucson, but hails originally from Puerto Rico, kicked off our day with our first in-studio class in Spanish! Hailey from WebMD popped in as we were about to start, and she was game for a meditation in Spanish. So they both tried something new.
Toni and Karen took a much-needed break from their roles in the driver academy. They appreciated the stress buster. Neither had ever tried meditation before. They were impressed by the impact of taking just 5 minutes to pause, and said they were going to send the new drivers over too.
Frank was such a sweet highlight on Tuesday. When I invited him in, he was reluctant. I think he agreed because he didn't want to hurt my feelings. He said his wife is interested in meditation and she would love this. So he would just look around today and then return with her on Friday. We chatted a little and I suggested he try just a short one, 4 minutes, and he agreed. When the bell chimed at the end, he opened his eyes and a huge smile spread across his face. "That's it?! My smile isn't going to wear off!" And then he and his grin asked me to follow him so we could ask his colleague give it a whirl too.
Jerry has been driving a truck for 50 years! He'd never tried meditation before, but he, too, exclaimed, "It was nice! It was relaxing." We talked about how the practice of noticing when your mind wanders or you're distracted can be a critical skill for safety. Drivers have to pay attention and focus for long periods of time. Jerry noted that "people are driving worse now." Awareness of what's happening on the road is more important than ever.
John is a new driver who is attending the Driver Academy. He was so impressed by all the services Swift offers and was so excited to join the company. I wish I could have bottled his enthusiasm and optimism. He'd never tried meditating before, but hopped aboard with an open and curious mind and tried a slightly longer Focus meditation. When the chime rang at the end he exclaimed, "I love what you're doing! I feel like you're a super hero!" He wins the compliment of the week award. :)
After taking advantage of a cool place to have an impromptu meeting for a few minutes, Ray, Jordan and Corey tried a meditation too. Ray recently started reading "Think Like a Monk" by Jay Shetty. Though he hadn't tried meditation before, he'd already been considering it, based on the benefits he was learning about. So it was a timely encounter. First reaction after a trying a 4-minute meditation? "That was only 4 minutes?!" We talked about the restorative and impactful benefits of even a short pause. We understand how hard it is to make time in an already very busy, executive schedule. So we talked about a couple strategies to incorporate small, consistent increments of time into the day, to promote successful habit formation.
Thank you to Cheryl, Liz and Grace (accompanied here by Jaime, from WebMD), our internal Swift champions, who lead by example. They gather regularly as a team to meditate. They meet in their office space, find a free meditation online, and sit together to support each other. No special equipment or resources; no additional cost. Just intention and attention to improve their personal well-being and become stronger as a team. I am so grateful for them!