Leadership Organizational Management Team Building Shop Culture

A Mental Awakening

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As a shop owner, one of Mark Probst’s biggest fears is having a difficult conversation with a staff member. Well, it was his biggest fear.

“Knowing there might be some conflict, I would lose sleep,” Probst, owner of Probst Auto Body in Dieterich, Ill., says.

However, after attending a four-day retreat with Discover Leadership Training, Probst was able to take a step back and put his fears in perspective. This realization came to him when he was challenged with one of the processes at the retreat. It wasn’t during the actual process that he was most anxious, it was during the time he spent waiting for the people ahead of him to go.

“What I’ve found is the anticipation is worse than doing it,” Probst says. “For most people, something we did [at Discover Leadership Training] hit on some sort of fear.”

A Different Type of Training

Discover Leadership Training is open to all industries, but counts many collision repair shop owners as fans. In fact, the reason Probst signed up was because he heard great things about it in his Axalta Business Council group.

“I know that over half of the guys in our group have gone to it,” Probst says. “Every time I would go to a quarterly meeting, someone new would say they had gone. Curiosity got the best of me.”

So, Probst decided to take the plunge and headed to the Discover Leadership Ranch where he was off the grid for the entire four-day period. He then joined 36 others and started on a journey that changed not only the way he thought about his business, but his personal life, as well.

Finding Perspective

What would your spouse say at your funeral? Your kids? Friends?

Probst came to the realization that he only had one life to live.

Before the training, Probst was not unlike many in the collision repair industry and referred to himself as a workaholic who was always putting things off. For example, he’d put off seeing his mother because the time wasn’t quite right or he’d often miss out on doing stuff with his kids because work needed to be done. As soon as Probst got back from the training, he went to visit his mother and told her exactly what he appreciated about her and he vowed to spend more time with his kids doing activities that they enjoyed.

Mental Strength

Probst almost didn’t sign up for Discover Leadership Training because he was signed up to participate in an Iron Man a few weeks after the training would take place.

“I didn’t think I could afford to take four days off from training,” Probst says.

It was because of this that fellow shop owner Grant Sunday said he had to do it.

“Grant said it was the best way to mentally prepare,” Probst says. “You’re pushed to the limit at Discover Leadership Training.”

Probst, who has run two half Iron Mans in the past, says that although the full race was without a doubt the most physically challenging thing he had ever done, he found it easier than the shorter races because of his mental capacity.

“I thought to myself, I’m going to go until I can’t go anymore,” Probst says. “My body might go out, but my mind can handle it.”

Lifelong Takeaways

Probst says that although he still faces challenges, Discover Leadership Training has given him the necessary tools to handle them. After learning that anticipation was one of his biggest fears, he learned how to deal with that and approach it in a way that rid him of his anxiety. Rather than stress the night before a confrontation, he just makes sure that he plans it out so he can approach the conversation in the best possible way.

Another lesson he learned was that failure can be a positive. In fact, he failed the very first exercise of the training, as did most. Throughout the retreat, he learned that not only was failure acceptable, but it’s one of the best ways to grow. He’s implemented that lesson in his shop by asking for more input from his team rather than dictating every decision.

“The old Mark would say, ‘That’s stupid, that won’t work.’ The new Mark says, ‘Let’s do it and if it works, great, if not, we can change to a different approach.’ All of those exercises taught us to change the approach,” Probst says.  

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Probst says he has learned personal responsibility.

“What I saw while I was there was that I need to take more responsibility for what’s going on,” Probst says. “If my estimator is not performing, instead of talking about them, what can I do to better help them? It’s all on me.”

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