Early Morning Observations

Walking the dog.  My mind is spinning about what I have to get done.  I decide to settle my mind by using my breath to count down from 40, starting over when I lose track.  My mind settles.  All of a sudden I’m focused on sounds and smells.  As I breath in I can smell spring.  What’s the smell of spring?  It’s an earthy, fresh smell, like a huge pile of amazing, life filled soil.  And, I can hear the birds chirping.  For me, spring brings newness, hope and joy.  Just that one single exercise of breathing and I was able to turn my thoughts away from negativity and towards gratitude.  I have everything I need to lead a grateful life, it’s just a matter of being mindful enough to recognize when I need to use it.  I have gratitude for my awareness this morning.

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A Visit to the Nursing Home

My 98 year old grandfather is sitting in the cafe with his aid when I get there.  They are holding court with a table full of residents.  It’s so easy to see the deficiencies; the wheel chairs, the drool, the hearing aids, chewing with the mouth full.  It’s all outwardly showing for everyone to see.   The clock strikes 4pm, it’s afternoon medicine time.  The aids roll in and out.  The daily flow of the home makes it seem like Bill Murray’s movie,  Ground Hog Day.

If you dig deeper, you realize that although their bodies aren’t what they used to be, the residents of this nursing home are fascinating.   I asked Mr. Cooper about his life.  His father owned a garment manufacturer.  He sold to all the major department stores.  He eventually had to shutter it when the competition got too steep.  Mr. Cooper went to work at Sikorsky for 35 years.

Then, there’s is Regine.  She barely talks.  All you hear is a whisper.  And, she’s missing her teeth, which leaves her with an odd affect to her face.  Yet there is more than meets the eye.  Regine is in her 90s.  She is Belgian and speaks multiple languages.  She was an international lawyer, long before woman held those jobs.  She reads the New York Times cover to cover every single day.  She is always impeccably dressed.  Today, she had on a sweater with a matching Matisse scarf.  Magnificent!  I want to know her more but every time we mention her past, she brushes us off with a wave of the hand.  What does that wave mean?  I’m too humble to tell you?  It was too long ago?  It just doesn’t matter anymore?   It’s too hurtful to discuss?

I want to interview them all and write a book.  Not a book for publication, but a book to fulfill my curiosity.  Who are all these people?  What did they accomplish in their life?  What is the legacy that they are leaving behind?

I hope someday if I’m in the same situation, people will notice me.  Notice me for my accomplishments, for the deep love I gave to that which is important to me.  I hope people look beyond the physical limitations and want to have meaningful conversations with me.  So, I continue to give the gift of asking and listening to the residents every time I’m there.  The world goes round and round.

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

I’ve committed to writing every day.  It’s a creative outlet to me and keeps me mindful within all the busyness of life.  I could do it in a journal, but there is some accountability from posting it externally.  When I’m writing everyday, instead of being distracted, I find myself “in the moment” and searching for some observation I can write about.  That is true about today’s writing.

You don’t know what you don’t know.  It’s a popular statement.  But, when your eyes are open to something new, something you’ve never experienced, it is mind expanding.  Your heart races, and endorphins fly.   You make a quantum leap in your beliefs of what’s possible in your lifetime.  You can better understand your purpose and gifts in your lifetime.  It’s energetic and exciting.  I was fortunate to have one of those experiences today.  I was introduced to someone doing amazing work through my involvement in a non-profit.  Seeing someone else perform their art encourages me to continue work on my art of leadership development and personal growth.  My goal is to stay present enough so that I’m open to having more of these experiences.

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Disrespect. What a painful word.

Disrespect.  This word causes a lot of pain in America.  I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately.  I hear that word every day.  The word knows no socio-economic boundaries, as a good friend pointed out. “I had to retaliate because I was disrespected.” Same idea is stated without using the word disrespected, “I had to call the Principal because I’m not going to let that teacher get away with talking to my kid like that.”

What if we just took responsibility for our behavior and didn’t worry about the other person’s reaction?  Or, what if we addressed the other party directly in and a kind and compassionate way, with the goal of growth for all, rather than needing to prove a point or win?

I think our collective consciousness would shift.  Shift could happen on the streets of cities and in the pick up line at the elementary schools of their wealthy suburbs.   It’s hard work, and our fear of rejection comes in.  But, it’s the only way to make meaningful change;pushing through that fear to a brighter place.

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Living Our Mission and Vision: Practice Makes Perfect at Key Hyundai

We asked all the solution providers in the sales departments to tell us about a time when they provided a solution to a customer that made them proud to be a solution provider and not a product pusher.  I’ve gotten such a thrill from reading the stories and I want to share them with you.  Here is one from Michael Bianchi, Sales (Solutions) Manager at Key Hyundai of Manchester.   It’s very appropriate in celebration of Veteran’s Day.

We had a young married couple come in and they were looking for a fuel efficient vehicle.  They drove in to the dealership in a 2010 Ford F150, a gas guzzler.  They test drove a Sonata and loved it.  They told me they had good credit and wanted to lease.  When I looked at their credit, I discovered that the loan on their trade was showing as repossession.  I spoke to the customer and found that he the husband had just returned from deployment in Afghanistan.  He told me he had called the bank that held his auto loan before he went to Afghanistan and told them to place his loan under Active Duty Deferment.  Unfortunately, they didn’t do it.  So, I called Hyundai Motor Capital, spent 25 minutes explaining the situation to our analyst.  I told our analyst the customer’s story and how not only did he serve in Afghanistan, but that he also serves as a local police officer.  Our analyst gave us a Tier 1 approval on the lease, and we were able to give the customer the ability to build his credit back up.  They drove out that same night in their brand new Sonata and vowed that they would tell everyone that Key Hyundai was definitely the Dealer For the People.   

This is a great example of being a Solution Provider.  Most dealerships would have looked only at the customer’s credit score and rushed him out the door.  By making it our mission to help people drive nicer, newer cars, we went the extra mile and fought for our customer.  In turn, we literally changed his life.  Thanks to all of you who put your heart and soul to living within our mission and vision, “we are solution providers and not product pushers.  We believe everyone deserves to drive a nicer, newer car.  At Key Hyundai, we want to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it”.

A big thank you to all our employees and customers who have so proudly served in the U.S. Military.

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Weekly Musings: Practice is the Key to Success|Ct Hyundai dealer

Do you ever look at someone and feel jealous about what they have? How far they’ve gotten in life? Do you ever think, “why not me?” Well, there’s an alternative to that thinking.

We all want “quick fixes”. We want to win the lottery, take a pill to lose weight, etc. I promise you, though, most people get what they want by lots and lots of practice. The success starts slowly and with more practice and more discipline comes more success.
I have friends that are great business people but terrible parents. Not surprising. They put 120% effort into business, attending seminars, reading journals, working long hours and they put very little time into parenting. The truth is, they could have both if they dedicated the practice to both. You can be successful in lots of areas of life if you just dedicate the time and energy to doing so.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Outliers,” (highly recommend) he conducted a study that showed it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something, whether its golf, or medicine, or the guitar, or parenting. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t have pretty darn good command of a subject with 5,000 hours or even 1,000 hours.
So, I ask you to think about it this week, what areas do you want success in? Your career? Your family life? A sport? Whatever area it is, what are you doing to practice it every single day? If you are a sales person and want to excel at it, are you watching sales videos, reading books and articles and practicing role playing with your colleagues? If you are a technician, are you taking classes, reading magazines, tackling ever tougher problems until you figure them out?

For me, one of my focus areas is leadership. I love it and I want to get better at it. So, I have committed to being a student of leadership. I am always reading a leadership book, studying a blog and looking for insight in other people I encounter.

As the great actor Will Smith says, “I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.”

At Key Hyundai, we practice our mission statement every day, “we believe everyone deserves to drive a nicer, newer car.  Key Hyundai wants to keep your car fun and safe to drive for as long as you wish to drive it.

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Weekly Musings: Hope on Wheels & Key Hyundai, Kicking Pediatric Cancer’s Butt

By far, the best thing about being a Hyundai dealer is Hyundai Hope on Wheels.  With Hyundai Hope on Wheels, we donate money to fund pediatric cancer research for every car we sell and Hyundai matches it.  Hyundai and the Hyundai dealers are the single largest funders of pediatric cancer research in the United States.  In fact, the US Government designates less than 3% of its national cancer research funds towards pediatrics.  Without Hyundai, more kids would be dying.  That’s a fact.  In my book, the words kids and cancer shouldn’t go together.

Through Hyundai Hope On Wheels, we have donated a total of over $72 million to fund pediatric cancer research at institutions across the country, including Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and Yale New Haven Hospital.  Just this week, Jeff and I were lucky enough to help donate a $250,000 at Yale to an amazing researcher studying how to improve outcomes for kids with brain cancer.  In total, over $1 million has been donated right here in Connecticut since 1998.  That’s a lot of money!!  So, to all our employees and customers, thank you!

September is pediatric cancer awareness month.  I encourage you to get involved!  Go to http://www.hyundaihopeonwheels.org to learn as much as you can!  Key Hyundai has a car in each showroom (Key Hyundai in Manchester and Key Hyundai in Milford) with kid’s handprints on it.  Those are actual handprints of kids with cancer from across the country.  TELL EVERY CUSTOMER ABOUT IT!!  The more awareness we have, the more kids we’ll save.  Jeff, ,my brother and partner, went to the check ceremony at Yale New Haven and watched sick kids paint there hands and put them on a piece of paper in preparation to be next years cling on for the car handprints.  It is incredibly moving.  I’ve been to these ceremonies a dozen times and they never get any easier.

So, if you are ever looking for inspiration or looking for the “why” in what we do everyday, look no further than saving kid’s lives.  Please, go to the website and get involved.  It’s easy.  As a mom of young kids, I can’t imagine what these kids and parents go through.  We have to continue on with our mission to eradicate pediatric cancer.

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