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My Car Was Stolen. Here's What I Learned

leadership Jan 03, 2020

At 9:22 a.m. on December 21, 2019, I was lounging on the couch as it was the first day of the holiday break. Dorsey, the family dog, was giving the look. If you have a dog, you know the look. 

On went my shoes, grabbed my ear buds and tuuk as I hit the garage door opener. Dorsey took a sprint out the door and into the driveway. Yelling for her to come back I noticed something looked different. 

The driveway had tons of space. I walked out thinking I parked the car on the street for some reason. 


At 9:34 am I dialed 9-1-1 with one phone, and Googled “What to do when your car is stolen” with another. 

You might be asking, how could your car be stolen...from your driveway!!!

If you do not prepare on the front end, you will be repairing on the back end. 

For the next 60 hours, from the car being stolen until it was found, here is what I learned: 

For things to change, you need to change: Don’t leave your car unlocked, especially when you have a habit of leaving your wallet and key fob in the car! 

If you are seeking to change the results in your life, no matter the area, you need to first change something about yourself. 

Inspect what you expect: I’ve owned that car for three years and I would guess that at least 10% of the time I forget to grab my fob. If you own a car with a fob you know it doesn’t matter if you lock the door, the door won’t stay locked with the fob inside. By the time I walk into my house whether my car is locked is no longer front of mind, but it should be. It made me think about what other areas of my life and I just “trusting” that it is done? 

If it is important, it needs a verification process. If it’s critical, it should be measured and analyzed daily. 

Realize, you are not alone: Shockingly over 700,000 cars are stolen every year. A little over 50% are found within a week. Just by posting a few questions on social media I learned many of my inner circle had their car stolen or had a relative who experienced it. All basically giving me a similar story about what to expect and how long it takes. Click here for reference.  

Having informal mentors rooting for a great ending kept me in a positive mindset and with a step by step plan throughout this experience. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small: It always could be worse.I lost some valuables, some can be replaced, some cannot, but they are just things. They could have walked right into the house as they had the keys and the garage door opener. 

Where your focus goes your energy flows. If everything in your life is important, then nothing is. Know your purpose. Know what matters. 

Your success in life is determined by the books you read and the five people you spend the most time with: When I was summoned by police to pick up the car, at 3:17 am on December 24th, I was educated by the officer that a group of boys, ages 14 and 15, were who took the car. I found the coats, sneakers, wallet and McDonald’s visor of one of the boy’s. He was picked up in the car after it was stolen. Whether he knew the car was stolen or not, he automatically became an accessory to grand theft. 

When you find yourself at the head of the class, it’s time to find a new class. 

You would be amazed if you took the time to break your life down in five year segments. Take the time to identify what you were reading, who was making the biggest impact on your life. Watch this short lesson on how to create your timeline of awareness. It will cause you to take a deep look at where and who you are spending your time with. 

As a reminder, we provide complimentary youth leadership sessions for schools and community centers. I’ll even do one for your staff to create common language. Having my car “borrowed without permission” my adolescents reminds me of how much all school’s need values based training. Click here to set up your FREE session

Your goal needs all of you!: To reach your goals, your goal needs 100% of you. If 10% of the time you are leaving your goal to chance or trusting it will just happen. I am afraid to say you are settling for less and may never reach your full potential. 

To sum it all up, If you do not prepare on the front end, you will be repairing on the back end if you do not: 

  • Have a plan for personal and professional growth; 
  • Set expectations and verify they are being done with fidelity; 
  • Surround yourself with knowledgeable, trustworthy mentors and peers; and, 
  • Not focus on your priorities your daily life can be hard. 


If this happened to me ten to five years ago I would have spent the majority of my time over the holiday break complaining about the poor service, blaming society and the parents of these youth, worrying about what I would do without a car for three weeks!

The truth is, you cannot lead anyone if you cannot lead yourself. If I would have locked my car door, not just this day, but every day, none of this would have ever happened. 

Everyone would benefit from having an accountability partner or group in their life. I encourage you to join one of our mastermind groups or accountability partnerships. Your goal needs ALL of you. You are worth the investment.

Dr. Tom Miller is the owner of Leaders Building Leaders, an organization that provides high quality professional development, consulting and grant writing to learning organizations and businesses. If this blog added value to you please share on your social media and join our daily leadership message below. 

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