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Champions Seek Opportunities

Champions Seek Opportunities

Change happens – why not embrace it?

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to listen to Melissa Stockwell when she spoke to the entire Cars.com sales team. She’s a patriot, a soldier, an athlete, a mother, and a great speaker. She is also the first American woman ever to lose a limb in active combat. Her story is inspiring, yes; but more than that, it is instructive. You see, most motivational and inspirational speakers fade quickly from memory; a day or a week later the inspiration has ‘worn off.’ On the other hand, when you learn a lesson, you can go back and put that lesson into action over and over again. Melissa’s lesson is one that stuck with me.

Change happens. Melissa’s change happened in an instant. She was leading a convoy in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded. She lost her left leg. Her situation had changed. Her future had changed. Her life had changed.

But what she did next is amazing. Before she even left Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she had the dream of participating in the Paralympic Games three years later as a swimmer. In April of 2008, Melissa became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Paralympics. She was chosen to carry the United States flag in the ceremonies. She looked for and embraced her new opportunities.

She continued to seek new opportunities; she embraced Paratriathlon and has gone on to become a three-time World Champion in the sport. When Paratriathlon became Paralympic sport, she returned to the Paralympics, winning a bronze medal in Rio.

The situation is changing for car dealers too – subscription services, digital retailing, self-driving cars, car sharing, etc. Change happens – the big question is how do you react to change? You can pretend the change isn’t happening. You can long for the past. Or you can look for the opportunities that exist in the midst of every change.

I have faced major change a few times in my life. I can’t say I have always dealt with it with as much grace as Melissa. But after hearing her speak, I know I will always be looking for opportunity in the face of change.