Article > Mitch’s World

Who's Not Interested In Becoming Extraordinary?

By Mitch Schneider

Mitch Schneider
I’m excited! And, if you find a hint of evil at the corners of my crooked smile — well, so what! It’s been a while, and smiling feels pretty good right about now.

What is it that feels so good? I’m afraid you’re going to have a wait just a little while longer to find out.

In the meantime, there is something else I’d like to share with you — the key elements of two books I just finished reading, both written by Seth Godin. The first is “Tribes,” a book about leading and leadership. And, the second is “Linchpin.” a “how-to” book on becoming indispensible. In many ways, “Linchpin” is the logical extension of “Tribes,” and I would highly recommend both books to anyone interested in becoming extraordinary.

You have to stop and think about that last sentence for a moment; at least, I do: “and I would highly recommend both books to anyone interested in becoming extraordinary.”

How sad it is that there is a need to clarify that statement with the awareness, no, the realization, that there are people out there who aren’t interested in becoming extraordinary. But it’s the truth and you know it.

To a large degree, both “Tribes” and “Linchpin” explain the how and the why of it. And the how and the why of it is the reason I’m so happy. Not because I just finished dealing with an individual or a group satisfied and content with the ordinary, but because I just got done dealing with a group of individuals —  a company —a corporate culture, that both elevates and celebrates the extraordinary.

The key elements here are stepping up and stepping out, leading by example and allowing people to follow. Recognize that it can and probably will be messy because you don’t want people to follow blindly. It’s about the work — the art or gift all of us are capable of creating in the work we have chosen to do. It’s about the gift — what we share openly and willingly, often without compensation, with the tribes we lead. It’s about the concept of shipping — finishing what you start and getting the work out on time and under budget. And it’s about the fear — otherwise known as the resistance generated by the “Lizard Brain” (aka: the Amygdala, the part of the brain charged with processing and memory of emotional reactions).

What has any of this got to do with extraordinary, becoming a leader or indispensible, or both? Everything!
Think about it for a second … When was the last time you ran into someone you felt was incredible, extraordinary, indispensible, or a leader who — didn’t lead or lead by example? Who didn’t do the work or get it done? Who didn’t offer the work, their work, freely and without hesitation? Who didn’t meet their deadlines — who didn’t ship on time? And, who, in order to accomplish all of that, hadn’t overcome the resistance?

I didn’t think so.

This is some pretty powerful stuff, powerful when you first encounter it, powerful when you consider what you have encountered, and even more powerful when you begin to understand and integrate these principles into your own life; powerful when you recognize it in others.

In the context of the business world: our world, it is a game-changer – or, at least, it can be. And that’s the reason for my crooked little smile. I’m watching a miraculous transformation take place with one of our suppliers, no less profound no less wondrous and astounding, than watching a caterpillar become a butterfly. I’m smiling because I stand to benefit from all of this and apparently all it took was the appropriate tools and the removal of the necessary obstacles. But the tools were always there and the obstacles could have been removed at any time. What wasn’t there before was the belief, the belief that it was possible, the belief they were capable of removing the obstacles standing between them and the extraordinary.

I don’t think all this occurred because someone read either of these two books. One was just off the presses when I read it and the other was an advance copy. But I do believe none of it would have been possible without a deep, almost innate understanding of the principles advanced in either.

The experience left me even more committed to leading my own tribe than I was before, but it also left me wanting to become a member of their tribe. And by understanding and then choosing to become indispensible within the context of my own tribes, the automotive service company I own and operate and the motorists who follow me and who I take care of, it afforded me the ability to recognize when someone else is trying to do the same for me.

Mitch Schneider co-owns and operates Schneider’s Automotive Service in Simi Valley, CA. Readers can contact him at
  Previous Comments
avatar   Daniel   star   6/16/2010   10:59 PM

I work in a store with 2 iss's and anytime 1 is at lunch or have 4 or 5 lines going i am helping. They appreciate it when i do the leg work to find that hard to find part. The guys i work with understand it is about the team and store not just themselves. This store has only been open for 9 months and has already taken a large part of the market without haveing to give the store away. Our customers respect us and we respect them. We say hay we screwed up and they will do the same (most of Them). If you feel like an iss does not do they're share of work you are very wrong. i have seen the ones who do not want help. Very few of them are successful. I only know 1 who does it by herself and her customers will wait to deal with her specifically. If you are complaining about how they treat you then you need to see if you are more hinderance than help. You want more pay push yourself. you will not get more to just be average. I know that my team will either work to be extrordinary or they will not work for me long.

avatar   Tuner Guy   star   6/15/2010   9:29 PM

I dont know where to stand on this issue. My ISS gets alot of phone calls, but I take alot of those calls for him even though I am a "Counter Guy". He trust me and my Knowledge about cars to get the shops the right parts. The shops around my area know me and if my ISS is gone for the day then the shops ask for me by name and if I'm not there then they will hang up. So the whole all ISS grip and whin thing is a crock. Work along side them for a day and see how much crap they have to deal with. Then the counter guys are lazy thing come work in my store and you wont have a chance to be lazy.

avatar   Dave Elliott   star   5/26/2010   11:44 AM

bill jones, I have waited until I cooled off a little before replying. I don't know about the ISS in your store, but here we do the bulk of the business. Now I understand your frustration, because I worked the front counter for 25 years before becoming an ISS. There are more knuckleheads on the front counter (both sides) than you can shake a stick at. Now I just have to babysit mechanics who think that you should pander to their every whim. But we have done this to ourselves by "out servicing" the competition. (sucking up and giving them the store) And when something goes wrong? "I'll never buy another thing from you!!!" Even though you've done everything you can do and then some crap you made up.

Our phone here is a shriller ring, louder, and twice as fast a repeat as the front phone. I don't need someone telling me if it's ringing. I can hear it. we used to have a guy that did that all the time and it really got under my skin. He wouldn't lift a finger to answer it either. I really didn't want him answering it cause I didn't want to have to clean up what he screwed up anyway. But I'm expected to watch the front when there is no help scheduled in the store til 8 o'clock and the manager has to go outside to check a battery or something. My lines ringing off the hook and I gotta talk to Bertha who doesn't know what she drives or what she wants to buy? Puhleeeeeeze!

avatar   bill jones   star   5/25/2010   9:01 PM

it sounds like all ISS's are the same they gripe when you dont answer it when there "busy" but when you do they throw a fit cause that was there line. and every single one of them think since they make more sales that thety are the only one who is working and everyone else is just holdin the counter down

avatar   RYAN    star   5/18/2010   5:07 PM


avatar   Dave Elliott   star   5/12/2010   9:06 AM

Hey Wasted Payroll, I guess you are named for what you do at your store. You better have someone at that ISS counter while he's at lunch. Your commercial customers expect it and most of the folks who work the front counter are pre programmed to ignore the commercial lines. And if he is between calls? so what! At least he is doing something related to his job. We can learn from this forum, or we can just blow it off,. So Wasted payroll....clock out and go home and do your manager a favor.

avatar   Steve-O   star   5/7/2010   11:48 AM

Hey Wasted Payroll, what do you think your doin yourself?

Another corporate Goon!!!

avatar   Wasted Payroll   star   5/7/2010   9:45 AM

Yeah, right. You're on your lunch break. SURE you are. You're probably sitting at the ISS counter while he is at lunch, when you should be up front helping customers and raising your productivity.

avatar   kaptain amerika   star   5/6/2010   3:36 PM

I just had to spread weed killer and weed wack? whats up with that??

avatar   O'reiily employee   star   5/6/2010   2:36 PM

I'm on lunch, how about you?

avatar   O'reilly employee   star   5/6/2010   2:31 PM

I'm on my lunch break!

avatar   howardg   star   5/5/2010   4:48 PM

No im not illiterate I know who my daddy is

avatar   howardg   star   5/5/2010   4:44 PM

you guys quit talking bout grammer she was a good woman that worked hard for all her kids.

avatar   Mike   star   5/5/2010   4:00 PM

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!

avatar   Ed   star   5/5/2010   2:49 PM

If you see words when we are talking face-to-face, my spelling and grammar is the last of your concerns. However the purple giraffe in your passenger seat and monkey on your roof should be,

avatar   Ryan's kid   star   5/5/2010   1:40 PM

Crystal....You you rock girl!!!!!

avatar   Crystal   star   5/5/2010   1:16 PM

Ryans kid..i want to b on your team. your story was funny. I try to not let moronic customers get to me but some days i think.. you know what i don't get paid enough to put up with this. If the big boys want me to be EXTRAORDINARY then pay me to be.

avatar   Ryan's kid   star   5/5/2010   12:29 PM

Gabe.....always llok forward to your comments on here...and you picked up a fan in Crystal. If you were both on my team we would have BBQ's at my house every weekend.

Im sure you guys dont take s*it from nobody, cause i sure dont.

and by the way, the man who was pulling on my door was a vendor here to fix my lights!

But do i care....nope. I get tired of customers that are rude or are having a bad day. And the company tells me to roll with the punches with that crap??? I dont think so. If they give me hell, theyll get it back two-fold. Then they say Im going to lose my job.

Well guess what....IM STILL HERE!!!

avatar   Tad   star   5/5/2010   12:19 PM

If you're trying to communicate with someone but can't do so with proper grammar or spelling, you're going to look like an idiot. If you don't care enough to learn the english language well enough to use it properly, why would someone assume you care enough about automotive repair to know what you're doing?

Whether or not you actually are a moron is a different issue. The point is that improper use of the language, written or spoken, is going to make you appear less intelligent. Childish name calling doesn't help the issue. Nor does pretending that spelling and grammar aren't important when trying to communicate intelligently.

avatar   Ryan's kid   star   5/5/2010   11:47 AM

How can I be extrodinary????

Well not off to a good start this morning when some jerk-off is pulling on your door 5 minutes before you open knowing were not open yet and he thinks somehow it will magically open.

So I opened the door and told the man " What would make you think by pulling the doors that it would open". He seemed surprised i confronted him like that but I didnt care. I also told him that the lights werent even on. He said he couldnt tell the store wasnt open. Come on.....No Lights / Doors Closed???? hhmmmm????

I asked his opinion, I gave him there is a great start to a lovely day, but I wont be Extrordinary. Did I let it get to me? Sure. But i get tired of customers thinking they know my job but they dont even know what year their car is/ or my favorite is when a guy asks a girl to put on wipers. I make fun of them when i see that.

avatar   SLAPPY J   star   5/4/2010   5:29 PM


avatar   Dave Elliott   star   5/4/2010   2:43 PM

Thank you Barnes and Barnes. could we hear "I'm lookin' over my dead dog rover I hit with the poswer mower"?

avatar   Dr. Demento   star   5/4/2010   1:36 PM

Fish heads, fish heads, rolly-polly fish heads.

avatar   Gabe   star   5/3/2010   4:20 PM

Crystal- You are absolutely right! The main crew I work with Manager came from- Burger King/ Assistant- Excavating RSS- 1 is an old school hot rodder knows alot about old cars, was in the auto body shops, and insurance adjuster. 2- Young guy never on time have to schedule him at 11 to be here at 1 knows his stuff, but has never really done most of what he knows. But he is learning. Then there is me worked in auto shops since I was 16 over 15 years experience. I know what is wrong with cars. I know what problems occur over and over on the same cars. DPFE's on roughly 2000 up Ford's with an EGR code. I know when all 4 oxygen sensors light up on the OBD2 scanner it is probably not all 4 oxygen sensors, but most likely the mass air flow sensor has to be cleaned.

I have one other somewhat full time person I work with. He comes from dealerships, selling parts. He will be the first one tell you in the year and a half he has worked here, he has learned so much working with me, than he has most of his life working on cars.

But he is also super extraverted I mean he has no filter from his brain to his mouth. If he thinks it, it comes out. Put he can say the normally offensive things sometimes, but no one ever takes offense, because he is so innocent about it. He gets written up in the O'Reilly team spirit book. Full page article for helping a customer. Me on the other hand I tend to handle all the complex issues customers have. Have I ever been noticed for it? No! Never, but I am not an extravert I am an intravert, and if I don't know you, I just don't open up and gab with you. Which can tend to make me seem complaisant? (Spelling? Tiny I need your help here!) or not caring. Although I am trying to help them figure out their problem.

I think extraordinary really has to do with attitude how others perceive you.

avatar   crystal   star   5/3/2010   2:16 PM

Oops sorry tiny i meant any space more.

avatar   Crystal    star   5/3/2010   2:14 PM

Tiny..what can i say u set urself up for all that. Gabe would like to meet u someday always LOVE your comments makes my day. What was this article about again?? oh yea. extraordinary sumthin other..why be extraordinary if your not going to get paid anymore for it.? some customers no matter how extraordinary u are STILL will not be happy. just my opinion.

avatar   Gabe   star   5/2/2010   3:54 PM

meh- Just so you know I wasn't seeking out confrontation. I just get annoyed not just on here, but on internet forums also. When someone makes a comment about grammar. Like somehow they are more holy, smarter or an English teacher.

Ziggy!-Right on! Since when does grammar matter in the auto industry. For most of us, we all understand mechanical reasoning better than, "What is the verb in that sentence?" Why!? Because who really cares what the verb is in that sentence. I have never been asked that since school. Nor have I been asked what Iambic Pentameter, Endoplasmic Reticulum, or Linear Isomorphism is so?... Worthless knowledge.

avatar   The Spiders from Mars.    star   5/1/2010   11:59 AM

Ziggy? We've been looking for you since 1975! Lets get the band back together and tour the world!!

(ULTRA obscure David Bowie reference)

avatar   the real tiny   star   4/30/2010   11:52 PM

i didn't add these last two posts.

avatar   tiny   star   4/30/2010   8:17 PM


avatar   ziggy   star   4/30/2010   7:30 PM

No Matter what type of book you read, if it helps you to help someone else, read it. If a car self-help book helps you solve the customers problem and then helps him/her to learn what parts are needed to fix the vehicle you have taugth soomeone something. if a new tech book comes out, you read it and teach or help your fellow co-workers the new trick or techniques, you've accomplished something far greater than just reading it and holding the info in. You want to become extraordinary, learn something new everyday and pass it on to anybody and everybody.

p.s. - since when goes grammar count in the auto industry

avatar   TINY   star   4/30/2010   3:49 PM

First of all, self help books can be useless. Personally, I find them to hold no useful information, but to those that do find them useful, it is generally because they are researching a specific problem and the book does carry useful information specific to that problem. Then again, I am confident in my abilities and am not looking to make anything regarding that better.

As far as Gabe goes, I am certain it ****** you off that women are smarter than you. I work for a living, I type these responses on my break as well, yet I manage to use the best grammar I can. So, don't be mad that other people are smarter than you, read a self help book and learn to make it better instead of deflecting your shortcomings onto others. You can call me a moron all you want, I don't care. I know I am not. But what does that say about you? It doesn't speak highly of you that instead of addressing the problem, you call me names and allude to my sexuality. That's not a very grown up thing to do. In fact, it's a very childish, bratty thing to do.

avatar   Ed   star   4/30/2010   3:11 PM

A few years back, I was handed a book to read, I think the title was "114 Ways to Walk the Talk". I read it and you know what I got out of it? That I should be an author, that the market for those who lack professional self-esteem is endless. Every step in that book and every "revelation" I've read flipping through these other "self-help" books is the same, presented from a different angle, be it spirtual, cultural, animal, whatever.

So in short, less self-help Mitch and more of Mitch "You won't like me when I'm angry about my Mercedes radiator" Schneider/Hulk.

avatar   tiny   star   4/30/2010   1:13 PM

Maybe, but I am a moron that uses proper grammar. It amazes me that you will post a comment for everyone to read, yet you won't look it over to make sure its readable. You can call me moron all you want, sir, but the proof is on the page. I don't have to defend myself on this, you're doing a wonderful job proving my point for me. I posted a comment on one of Mitch's earlier articles regarding effective communication. A large part of effective communication is having enough of a command of your native language, both spoken and written, to effectively make your point understood. Obviously, you do not. To further make it worse, when someone calls you on it, instead of noticing an issue and working to resolve it, you resort to childish name calling, which solves nothing and further proves that your communication skills, sir, suck. Thank you, though, for trying. It was cute.

avatar   Greg   star   4/27/2010   6:25 PM

Sounds like books written by Dr. Demming back in the 80s. They were a joke

avatar   tiny   star   4/27/2010   1:26 PM

mike, misspellings is one word. otherwise, good call.

avatar   Mike S.   star   4/26/2010   2:39 PM

WOW!!!! So many different opinions. First: Mitch good article. I agree with most of it. (remember opinions are like @$$ho!3s everyones got one, LOL) Second: Gabe SEMPER FI!!! My grandfather was a purple heart awarded Marine from WWII. It's funny what competition will do when you out service them! I have way too many competitors to count around me, but I kick thier butts everyday because of my over 20 years experience and fast deliver service. GO TEAM O'REILLY!! Last: Jay, I got a headache trying to figure out what you just said in all that mess. So many miss spellings and run on sentences. Ouch!!

avatar   Jay   star   4/24/2010   5:27 PM

Now for all the ones that say that their competitors employee's are coming to you and filling aplication for employment is that a good thing or a bad thing if they are not doing good business in your town is it the employee that is leaving or is it the company.? Don't they always say in the the company that people buy from people. if that is the case then the question begs to be asked is he or she that is leaving the other company worth hiring. sense this company is faultering or is it worth our while that we that are succeding in our field of experiance to go to that company looking for a job? Because we now have something they do not that is the loyalty or the respect of the customer. does it matter which company that you rent your time and knowlege to? we as the employee are here to make money plain and simple the rest that happens just goes a long with the territory. So is that what you would call extraordinary? To become the salesman or woman that far supasses everyone else in your field of knowledge. Then you can decide who to work for and for what. but staying well challenge is still the key and well I just don't feel challenged anymore so I would be falling from the Extraordinary to just..............

avatar   JAY   star   4/24/2010   5:02 PM

Competition is the is the devil! No competition is the devil! That is some fresh H2O.

avatar   Gabe   star   4/24/2010   1:51 PM

Dave not deliveries, drive by's that is why I am training O'Reilly employees in the way of the ninja, and samurai. To settle a turf war.

6 sigma black belt-I know they are hurting. Where my store is. I have one competitor in town, Carquest. They close at like 5 pm not even open Sundays. Put they way we know they are hurting? They went to our commercial accounts that came to us. They offered them all 20% off their normal price. I am just waiting for them to shut the doors.

avatar   Dave Elliott   star   4/24/2010   10:17 AM

Gabe, leftover Cheker scooters????

Enlighten me please! Scooters for deliveries?

wouldn't that be kind of dangerous for our drivers?

Or are we talking about the razor foot operated kind?

avatar   Gabe    star   4/23/2010   3:37 PM

I went to Ninja school in Tibet, and Bushido school in Osaka so I am not worried about competition. I am now training all O'Reilly employees to kick a**! SO we can have an all out turf war. I shouldn't share this, but we are going to be using left over Checker scooters to do drive by's on our competitors starting with Autozone. SO we definately are not staying stagnant.

avatar   6 Sigma Black Belt   star   4/20/2010   9:01 PM

Naysayers might say Mitch is off base thinking outside the box, but if you remain stagnant your competition wont.

Learn, think outside your market, embrace technology that improves your productivity...

Process over person dependence??? hmmmm???

avatar   Gabe   star   4/20/2010   3:19 PM

Ryan has a point! Would I want allthe phone calls, and E-mails from DM's, and LP about my store. How I didn't reach my goal for the month. Or that I am too high in labor. Or a million other things. No thanks! Too much to do for the cump change they pay. I think I will stick to what I know best. Cars, and not sit in the spotlight.

avatar   Ryans Kid   star   4/20/2010   1:51 PM

Why lead when you can follow and do the bare minimum and possibly pick up goodies along the way?

Leaders get fired; followers still ahve jobs. Woot!

avatar   dave elliott   star   4/20/2010   9:53 AM

Homer, I didn't figure you for a film guy. I thought maybe you'd reccommend s good book like The Illiad and The Odyssey. Or if its a different Homer, the taaining and safety manual for the Springfield neuclear plant. I'm just sayin.............

avatar   Homer   star   4/19/2010   2:55 PM

If you've never seen the move "Hoosiers" I highly recommend it, it's extraordinary.

avatar   HOWARDG   star   4/19/2010   9:18 AM

Gabe uh -rah. The marines definitely teach you how to overcome and adapt. But the better lessons were the t.o.w. missle and proper placement of claymores.

avatar   tiny   star   4/17/2010   3:53 PM

Mitch, you're on the right track. I don't like to consider myself a leader; I would never be that presumptuous, however, I do hold a position of leadership. I strive every day to lead by example. In my dealings as a follower, I've always been impressed with a leader who isn't afraid to get next to me and share the work. It makes me respect him or her more.

In my field, which is the same field shared by a majority of your readers, it seems there is a lack of leadership. Store managers are afraid of the counter, counter people are afraid of the stock work, and all of them are afraid of a commercial customer with a 69 camaro redone with mix and match parts.

My passion is writing. As a published writer, I tend to notice quite a few interesting things about writers who discuss with me their aspirations. The two pieces of advice I always give and that are almost never followed are read a lot and write a lot. It takes practice. Everything I do with any certainty of doing well takes practice. I also play music. I have to every day. That's what it takes. DO IT!

That is all.

avatar   Mitch Schneider   star   4/16/2010   2:20 PM

First of all, what makes you guys think that I haven't spent some time with the Shaolin monks? Oh, and Semper Fi, Gabe: 235 years of history not one day marred by progress. The funniest part of the comments here is the fact that I never once thought about Survivor because I don't watch television (a couple of hours max a week, if that much. So, the reference to tribes in that regard was never a consideration...

I guess the point is personal responsibility and leadership: there is no reason to - improvise, adapt, overcome... if you are willing to let someone else accept that role. Then, all you have to do is decide whether or not they are worthy of following.

Stay well and take care guys. And, thanks for your comments.


avatar   Brad   star   4/13/2010   6:30 PM

Gabe, I certainly hold pride for our armed forces and commend you for your service.

avatar   Gabe   star   4/13/2010   4:33 PM

Nope! I wanna see him on survivor! Then he can be a secret member of both tribes, and when the merge happens he is set. That is if he is extraordinary in the challenges.

Mitch is this worldly person it seems. Looking for self improvement, and enlightenment. I served in the Marine Corps one thing I learned from the Marines is no obstacle will stand in my way. Adapt and overcome. So here is my enlightenment life sometimes sucks, sometimes there are obstacles, sometimes things don't go like you want. Sometimes people argue politics, when really there is no point. Politicians will do what they are going to do, and you just have to deal with the choices they make.

My enlightenment came from the Marines. I learned to adapt and overcome. I learned that no matter what happens in life, no matter what obstacle I will adpat to the changes, and push through any obstacle in my way, and that is what makes me extraordinary.

There ya go Mitch more enlightenment for ya. But I am waiting for the article where you go to Nepal, and spend some time with the shaolin monks.

avatar   Outlaw Rex Kane   star   4/13/2010   2:34 PM

tribe? become a member of theirs? they become a member of mine? heck mitch, lets just play mafia wars!

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