The Power of Action

Greetings, friends! As we get ready to start 2020 (yikes!) I wanted to share something I learned in 2019 that might help you in the new year. It wasn’t a big, impactful event, but I think it can teach us all about how we can react in business and in life. I traveled quite a bit in 2019, but there were two flights that stand out in my mind more than all the others. I want to share the stories of those flights with you.

One night, as I was getting ready to go to sleep before a trip to Indianapolis to work a trade show, my phone buzzed with a text message. My eyes grew wide as I thought “OH NO, FLIGHT PROBLEMS!” Sure enough, my flight in the morning had been cancelled, most likely due to weather issues in another part of the country, and they were working on auto-booking me on another flight. I hate being late, so my half-asleep mind raced through the options available to me. I quickly opened the airline app and found another flight to book myself on that left an hour earlier than my original flight! I booked it immediately and went to sleep. In the morning, everything went fine (how shocking!) Though I got an hour less sleep than I would have liked, I made it to my destination early feeling pretty good about the whole experience.

I didn’t give it much more thought until I talked to my mom a week later. As I shared the story of my good luck, mom said “wow, if that was me, I would have had no idea my flight was cancelled.” We talked about how she might have showed up at the airport at the regular time and had an awful day. As we talked, I realized that maybe there was more than luck involved in my trip. In fact, there were some important lessons to think about:

  • Use Technology to Your Advantage ­— I’m not a huge fan of tech cluttering up my life, but when it makes things easier and more efficient, I’m all for it. By signing up for flight alerts and using the airline’s app, I avoided a real mess.
  • Stay Informed — I make it my goal to be the first to know when it comes to industry news, market conditions, the weather… you name it. It pays to be in the know.
  • Consider Other Options —The airline did its best to book me on a new flight, but I wanted to see what else was available. I took responsibility for my own schedule, and it paid off big time.
  • Act Fast — While other passengers were either asleep, trying to call the airline or thinking about what to do, I booked my earlier flight. Being decisive and quick can have major benefits.

I didn’t have to wait long until I put these lessons to the test. Coming home from New York later in the fall, I landed for a connection in Chicago and received another delayed flight text as soon as I turned off airplane mode. I was supposed to take off at 8pm. I was now delayed until 10:30, and it was currently only 6pm. GREAT. But if I had good luck last time…maybe I could be lucky again! I wasn’t able to re-book anything good on my phone, so I walked up to a gate agent who wasn’t busy. He found a flight that was delayed from 5:30 to 7, and it still had seats available! I happily claimed my middle seat in the back of the plane, and we took off after another delay at 8pm – my original flight time. Everyone else on the flight was upset, but I was delighted! Somehow I time-traveled and ended up home at the exact time I had planned.

It worked again. My technique was starting to look more like a skill than luck. Will it work every time? No. Will it solve everyone’s problems? No. But I think I’ve got a better shot than the next person in row 23. And you do too. Come to think of it, as I read back through these lessons, it reminds me of the story of Copart’s decision to become the first all-online auto auction back in 2003. No wonder I fit in well around here!

In closing, I hope I’ve shared something useful or something that at least makes you think as we travel into the 2020s together. Happy New Year everyone, and I’ll see you soon…even if I have to switch my flight to get there!

Amanda Zmolek is the industry relations analyst for Copart, an online vehicle auction with more than 150,000 salvage and clean title vehicles available to bid on each day. She started her career with GreenLeaf Auto Recyclers in 2006 and has a marketing degree from San Diego State and a marketing MBA from UT Arlington. Amanda joined Copart in 2015 and is proud to serve as the Copart account representative for auto recyclers.

Contact Amanda at 972-391-5759 or