Ahead of the Nellies - Olympic Speaker Insights

Posted by Vince Poscente on Wed, Mar 05, 2014 @ 09:53 AM

Driving to the DFW airport for a motivational keynote presentation, an interesting lesson revealed itself. The classroom of said lesson - you ask? Icy driving conditions can teach us a lot about Age of Speed leadership.

Let’s be clear. Icy roads are THE most terrifying driving nightmare you could have. In Western Canada icy roads are not the same as icy conditions in the Southern United States. Packed snow can be slippery but tires on Southern States ice is a pure, unadulterated, white-knuckle experience. 


On Monday morning, school cancellations were all over the news. The masses stayed indoors and rush hour traffic was lighter than normal. Even so, every major artery was reduced to a crawl. But, the roads were fine. Bridges were slippery while the balance of the roadways were dry, clean, glorious pavement with bountiful friction. Easily navigated by four willing tires.

There were three categories of people out there.

1. Nervous Nellies (2 out of 10 drivers)
This lot can find them selves at the front of the pack. Out front simply because they were driving the slowest and it was difficult to get around them. Why they’re on the road must have something to do with necessity because they’re not driving like they want to be there.

2. Oh Jeezers (6 out of 10 drivers)
This group adventured out their front door with a reasonable amount of experience in difficult driving conditions. They were generally content with driving slow and being stuck behind the Nellies. They are often heard muttering under their breath, “Oh jeez.”

3. Yankanadians (2 our of 10 drivers)
These are the remaining 20% who are familiar with winter driving conditions and feel comfortable getting around no matter what the weather. This group, normally from the northern climes, can get stuck behind the Nellies and the Jeezers while getting frustrated, annoyed and fed-up with the lack of progress.

The lessons on Monday morning were clear.

  • It only takes a couple of people to slow everyone down. And the kicker is, the slowest people can be holding everyone else back. 
  • If a Yankanadian can get out in front of the Nellies the Jeezers quickly catch on and follow the quicker path. This means progress is flipped (on the plus side) by people who seize opportunities for leadership. 
  • If you see a Prius with Florida license plates, don’t be too quick to judge. It turned out this one Floridian tree hugger was a good driver and proved she was a Yankanadian. In other words, don’t judge a person’s aptitude by his or her appearance.
So what have we learned about the business of life here?

If you’re a Nervous Nellie, God bless you, we love you the way you are, but please let others pass. 

If you’re an Oh Jeezer, there is hope! And she might be in the Prius with oranges on her plates and a bumper sticker that says, “Follow Me.” 

And if you’re a Yankanadian (those from the South who know how to roll can be honorary members by the way) be patient. Your time to lead is ahead of you. Seize it when you can. 

Tags: Goals, Motivational