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Lessons Learned

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At the end of every year, I reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the previous 12 months. And every business leader, no matter how successful, can always find ways in which they can improve. 

Anyone who feels they have nothing they can improve on, or that feels they didn’t learn any difficult lessons in the past year, simply isn’t being honest with themselves. Failures shouldn’t necessarily be looked at as negatives, rather they should be viewed as building blocks from which we can all improve. 

Wins, on the other hand, should also be reflected upon. There may be a lesson in something good that happened to us, as well. One could argue the lessons we learn from our wins could be just as valuable as the lessons we learn from our losses.

When I reflect on my 2019, there are many lessons I learned. Some were minor, and some were more significant. But, no matter the size there was something to be learned from all of them. I had some things I learned that were more industry related, but many of them are of a more personal matter. Regardless, I feel that sharing from both sides may serve as a valuable tool to help anyone reading this reflect on themselves.

As a business leader, what I’m reminded of many years is just how fast time can fly. In 2019, my family sold Car Guys Collision Repair, I entered into a new role with Joe Hudson’s Collision Center, then moved on and set out to start building another brand with my father called MITCHCO Collision Repair. It seemed like just yesterday we were going through the closing of selling Car Guys Collision Repair, and all of a sudden over a year had come and gone. 

Although I enjoyed working with Joe Hudson’s Collision Center, I wish I would have slowed down some mentally to take in the transition. So many things happen when a company changes hands, and I found myself reacting a lot more than I wanted to. I wish I would have cherished the process more. Going through a major transition like that isn’t something most people get to be a part of. There are so many lessons to be learned, and so many unique experiences that occur during a major change. I learned a lot about our company, their company, our employees, and myself, but I feel that I could’ve learned some more valuable lessons if I would have slowed down and reflected on what was happening while it was happening. 

I’m sure this isn’t the last time I’ll learn a lesson about how quickly time seems to move. 

In my personal life, I learned a lot about friendships and what they can mean all involved. 

I’m often very busy with work, thinking about work, and preparing for work. As a result, I don't go out often and I don't find myself with a ton of friends. But, I do have a group of friends that I have known for a very long time and we are very close. It is more of a quality over quantity thing with us.

We make time to talk to each other everyday, even if it’s only for a few minutes. We discuss our work, our relationships, sports, or simply shoot the breeze. Some of our phone calls are very productive, and we help each other through something or just act as a sounding board. During other calls, the main objective is just to relax and unwind. 

My close friends live anywhere from a 10-hour drive away from me to a 1-hour drive. But, by using the Bluetooth connections in our vehicles to talk during our commutes, FaceTiming on Friday evenings and having a beer together, or group messaging, we stay connected and manage to stay just as close as we were in high school or college. 

Having those types of relationships helps to serve as an outlet for stress, and it helps all of us work through things in our lives and make better decisions. 

As I grow older, I realize just how important those friendships really are. 

I truly think reflecting on yourself and your experience is vital for growth. Although I’m not always great at it, I try to frequently reflect on lessons learned. On the drive to work I may analyze my morning before I left the house. Maybe after a big meeting or a phone call at work I’ll try to spend a few minutes and analyze what happened right away. I feel this helps me to adjust and learn “on the fly” instead of having a “Monday Morning Quarterback approach” when it could already be too late. 

I hope you all found the articles I wrote this year and the podcasts we recorded helpful and enjoyable. I truly enjoy writing them and recording them. 

I hope everyone had a solid 2019 and makes the most of 2020. Remember, we never get too old to stop learning from lessons and reflecting. May 2020 be a year of immense success for you all. 

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