Who's on your bus

Who’s on your bus?

Penny HaslamBlog, Confidence, Penny Haslam Podcast, Your visibility

Who's on your bus. Here's a great way to encourage your team to build a positive, supportive and collaborative professional network. When people do this, they become happier, more confident and more productive. They simply feel more supported and invested in their careers and roles.

Get the ball rolling by asking this simple question: 

"Who's on your bus?"

In a nutshell: 

The bus = an individual's personal and professional journey. 

The people on their bus = colleagues, friends and family sharing the journey.

And crucially, determine if those passengers are allies, detractors, or supporters. Are there too few passengers? Or too many?

Get the idea?

For a fun and quick explainer of how to deploy this idea, listen to my ten-minute podcast (and please feel free to share this with your colleague before you approach them with the idea yourself.)

Transcript - Who's on your bus? 

I love the bus. I remember getting onto a double-decker with my 3-year-old daughter and going upstairs and sitting at the front and I said to her, do you know what darling? This is the best seat in the house.

This is about who is there for you. Who's on your bus?

Who is a good supporter of you? Who's on your supporters' bus? This is an idea from my friend Rachel Haslam (no relation) she's from Lancashire. So she says, Buzz instead of bus. She reckons that passengers who add nothing to your journey need booting off.

You know the ones, that aunt who's a bit snippy with you. You think she should be on your bus because she's family but no, she's a bit of a pain. Off the bus, thank you. Or a friend who you've had in your address book for years because you knew them at school, you are loyally hanging on there but they're failing to show up as a good friend. And, frankly, it's just there's not the chemistry anymore! There's no chemistry, biology, or even the GCSE maths! There's nothing there anymore. You probably should kick them off your bus. 

You might keep them in your address book, but there's no point thinking of them as being on your bus anymore. And that is hard. That is really hard. 

I think Rachel was right about this. Thinking about who's with you? Are you with me? And if you're not with me, are you against me? It's not good to be having people in your life who drain you. The friend who is always critical, the relative who is a bit sarcastic or a bit overfull of advice and lacking in support, the contact who you think you should be in touch with because maybe one day you'll do business with, who always sponges a coffee or a lunch off you and doesn't return the favour. 

The person you sort of want to be friends with, maybe at a networking or association event. You've seen them around a bit you think they're kind of cool - and they might be all right. But they never ask you about yourself. Never. 

People like that do not get the doors swung open for them on your bus. 

Don't invite them on and then check everyone on board has a valid ticket. 

At times I have had very few people on the bus. I don't know why. Just through circumstance, challenge, work, also child-rearing. That's a killer, isn't it? You really do find out who is on your bus at that point, and who needs to clear off and you become a little bit more strict about it. 

There have been times when I've looked back and thought, there are only about four people back there. 

That's a bit worrying but it is a moving beast and you are the driver. You absolutely decide who gets on and who needs to be kicked off. 

I do love Rachels's idea. And there's nothing greater for your confidence than having a decent number of people aboard. They might not even know they are on your bus, but you love them anyway. They're just good for you. They make you feel psychologically safe. You can be yourself. You can be a different person on different days because that's what you need to do and they'll still be there for you. 

A couple of years ago, I had a book launch, a terrifying moment for any author. You've done a lot of work, secret work, typing away. Then all of a sudden, you have to put it in the dazzling spotlight and get responses. It's like a massive plaster being ripped off. 

I was very cautious around this book launch and very worried that it would fail, but it didn't. The bus was bulging that evening with 50 people who were all there because they rate me. They turned up, they were keen, they were smiling, interested. The people on my bus that night had a great time. It was a standing room situation. All right, that's enough of the bus analogy! 

So this week, think about who's on your bus. Do they need to be there? Do you like them being there? Are they good for you? And if they're not good for you on this really difficult and long, sometimes super challenging and sometimes amazingly fun journey, you need to kick them off and freshen up the air a little bit. So there we go. Thanks to Rachel Haslam for that ding ding. All aboard. 


Penny Haslam's Confidence Keynote

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