Steamrollers are merciless, hard steel machines that demolish anything in their way.  Whatever unfortunate thing is in their path gets flattened into a compacted mash of confusion and defeatism.  All that is left is hot steam rising.

Some people are steamrollers.  They routinely do what they want, when they want to do it.  Ironically, steamrollers tend to act interested in the opinion of others as they ruthlessly crush them beneath their own intentions.  No matter what one contributes in the way of insight or ideas, the steamroller keeps right on rolling.  Slow and deliberate, pressing on.  Splaaaaaaaaagggghhhtt.

This may seem like a bad thing but sometimes a steamroller is just what is needed.  Some of the most successful people in the world are accomplished steamrollers, like some CEOs and entrepreneurs.  They get what they intend to get.  Things get done.  They are efficient, decisive and they follow through.  Martha Stewart is a classic example of a steamroller.  Nobody gets in Martha’s way – arguably, anyone would be crazy to – and look at all she has accomplished.  She is known for her keen eye and sharp business sense. People laud everything Martha, which is why she is the owner of a solid, highly successful enterprise.  She steamrolled her way to build it, there is no doubt about that.

It is hard work to be a steamroller and it certainly is not for the faint-hearted.  It can ruin relationships, hurt one’s reputation and even make one’s life a pale, lonely existence.  The worst kind of steamroller is the passive-aggressive one.  These people are amateurs, pushing into hard drive at selective moments designed to make a statement.  These are the ones who steamroll with the intention of hurting others as opposed to the intention of accomplishing a task.  These are the steamrollers to avoid.  When you see them coming, either get out of the way or find a way to shut them down.

Be wary of the co-worker who has an agenda to look better by making his peers look bad.  He will not be steamrolling his ideas because they are in the best interests of the company.  Watch out for the relative who ignores your opinion about what is best for grandma. She does not believe her opinion is better, she just wants grandma to believe she is helping her more than you.  Stay away from the parent who consistently has bad things to say about other people’s kids to make her own look good.  You can bet she is bad-mouthing your kids to other parents too.

If you are a steamroller, which may or may not be a bad thing, remember to watch the road.  There may be something in your path worth braking for.


For the first seven years of my life I lived in a place where a train passed daily behind my house.  My infant ears heard that train, unaware of what it was or why it whistled and chug-a-chug-a-rattled in the background.  As a toddler and a young child, those sounds sent me into a rush of excitement and anticipation.  I remember running with my brother and neighborhood kids to watch the train go by and wave to the engineer.  My brother would vigorously pump his arm and the train would whistle.  I thought it was magic.

Then my family moved to a house where we could not hear the train anymore.  I missed it.  Sometimes we traveled to my grandparents’ home in New York.  They lived in a house less than a mile from the Long Island Railroad.  I loved hearing the train again.  I would lie awake in the middle of the night in a neighborhood with strange and unfamiliar sounds and I would hear the train.  It would blow its whistle and I would smile, thinking it was an old friend saying hello.  Those sounds gave me comfort and reminded me of happy moments.

Recently I moved with my husband and three kids to a home not far from the tracks.  Once again, I hear the whistle and the train chug-a-chug-a-rattle down the tracks.  I watch the excited expressions on my children’s faces, their eyes going wide when they hear the sounds.  “I hear the train!” they exclaim, tilting their heads to listen more closely.  I am blessed.  I get to experience happy moments because of those sounds again.  My old friend, visiting me often, still gives me comfort.