The Fantastic Life

Back Your Car In


Even if you don’t like this week’s article, this week’s LIFEies proves one point: You CAN find anything you want on the internet to prove your point.  🙂

Below is an article about why leaders should back their car in Batman style.  I have been doing this, to the chagrin of my wife and kids, for the past two decades. Why do I do it?  Because I like being prepared in advance. I like taking the time up front so I can pull out without getting hit.

BUT, there are greater implications for you and your team:

–       Plan for the unknown. Planning ahead shows your concern for the future and the uncertainties associated with it.
–       Create a safe atmosphere. People are their best when they aren’t worried about their basic needs, safety included.
–       Be confident. Being aware of your abilities speaks volumes and can increase the self-confidence of others around you.

Enjoy your week.  LIFEies are learned anytime and anywhere…Just like living your life.

Rule #5 from my book The Fantastic Life: Get a Win
Some days, the only win you get is an easy parking job. That’s okay. Get a win whenever and wherever you can. They build up over time.


Why Leaders Should Back Their Car In

By: Michael Cizek

September 16, 2017

There is a silent movement happening all over the country. It largely goes unnoticed because of its simplicity, but it has a dedicated following. The movement? Backing your car in.

It may sound simple, but backing your car can say a lot about the person who drives it.

Ever since I was sixteen, I’ve backed my car in because that’s what all the “car guys” at school did. But in parking this way for years, I’ve learned that it’s not just cars guys who should back in—leaders should back in. Why? Leaders are called to vigorously plan, do what is best for others, and be confident in themselves—actions that are taken when backing your vehicle in.

By backing your car in, as a leader you will learn how to…

Plan for the Unknown
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin

When I finally find a spot in a busy parking lot (bonus points if it’s close to the entrance), I pass it first to see if the spot is clear of pedestrians and shopping carts. I can then back into a known situation. When it’s time to leave, I can fully see my surroundings and safely pull out instead of backing into unknown traffic. Choosing to back in (planning) alleviates risk of a collision (failure).
Whether it’s parking or leading others, the best leaders understand the importance of planning. The first three habits in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey describe planning:

1.     Be Proactive (Don’t wait to react to problems, but be proactive in planning ahead to avoid them)
2.     Begin with the End in Mind (Envision your future and make everything you do revolve around getting you there)
3.     Put First Things First (Know each task’s importance and urgency, and spend your time only on the highest priority tasks)

Planning keeps everyone working towards the same goal, alleviates misunderstandings, and maximizes efficiency. By backing in, leaders have successfully planned for an unknown future parking lot situation.

Provide Safety for Self and Others
Safety brings first aid to the uninjured.” –F.S. Hughes

In the Midwest winters after WWII, the wisest drivers would back in. If the battery died in the sub-zero temperatures, it was safer and easier to jump the car with the engine facing the street.

But cold weather isn’t the only prime time to back in. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that accidents involving cars backing into traffic, known as a backover collisions, account for an estimated 18,000 injuries and 292 fatalities annually. This happens backing out of both parking spaces and driveways.

When driving a vehicle, you are charged with the safety of others in and around your vehicle. When leading a team, you are charged with the safety of those in, and impacted by, your team.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that basic human needs must be met before being able to focus on higher needs. One basic need is safety. If the people we lead do not feel safe, we cannot expect them to perform. We must make sure that our team feels safe in all aspects of life: physically, mentally, financially, socially, and spiritually. For example, discussing personnel issues in a private environment provides safety from embarrassment, while praising team members publicly provides job security.

Backing in keeps you and everyone around you safer—an action every leader should take.

Grow in Self-Confidence
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” –E.E. Cummings

When I catch a ride with a friend, I’ll sometimes give them a hard time when they park head-in. The common response is that backing in is too difficult. The ironic part? It is often more difficult to back out of a space safely than it is to back in. Most people simply lack self-confidence, but their driving abilities fully enable them to back in.

If we can’t lead ourselves, how can we be expected to lead others?

What if we decided to have confidence in our abilities?

To become more self-confident, I say “we will” not “we will try to,” practice being comfortable with the uncomfortable, come prepared, and do what I say I’m going to do. If all else fails, I fake it ‘till I make it.

Having confidence in your ability to lead (park) will give you the ability to overcome adversity (back in).

The Bottom Line: Intentionally backing your car in might sound trivial, but it showcases leadership. Backing in shows that you are a planner, put others before self, and are confident in yourself.

Stumped about how to actually back in? Watch this.

Michael Cizek is a rising senior at the University of Florida. He is getting a B.S. in Marketing with a minor in Leadership while working towards a M.S. in International Business. Michael is interested in opportunities in sales, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and/or management consulting. In his free time, you can find him biking with friends or driving his beloved 1986 Toyota 4Runner. Feel free to contact him at

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