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Rains: Living in the Gap or the Gain?

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This is that time of year that many of us start to look back over the first quarter. It’s a natural time, really; the luster of a new year has worn off and some of the goals we may have been super excited about in January have become actual undertakings. I’m the same way; I recently found myself checking in on those goals I set a few months ago. 

One of my core practices is to set 10-12 goals for the year, but I work on them in batches of two or three per quarter. I’ve found that to be a far more manageable way to tackle my goals, and it’s easier to break them down into monthly, weekly and daily action items. My goals for this quarter were fairly straightforward—launch one new shop, launch a business outside the collision industry with my son, and lose four inches off my waistline. 

Strong Returns

I only said they were straight forward—I never said they were easy! So, how did I do? Well, this isn’t always the case, but it was a strong Q1 for me and my team. 

First, we launched one new shop! I defined “launched” as delivering one to two cars per week for the first month; having all the exterior and office areas repainted; acquiring all the tools needed and having them in good working order; and having a manager and two technicians hired and working. This one was completed as we opened CARSTAR Beechmont on March 1 and started flowing work through in the first week. 

My son, Izaac, and I launched a new cabin rental and guided adventures business together. After keeping our little slice of paradise in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky to just our family for the past 15 years or so, we decided to open it up to guests. We want others to enjoy what we have enjoyed: 50 acres of national forest with two waterfalls, 150-foot cliffs rimming one side, beautiful rock overhangs, an off-the-grid cabin we helped build, and several off-road trails. We’ve had three groups book the cabin and adventures in our opening month. It’s been an amazingly fulfilling experience so far, one made all the more special by taking it on with my son.

Unfortunately, the goal I made the least progress on was the last one. My waist only decreased by two inches, not four, although I did implement intermittent fasting as a strategy to shed those first two inches.

Acknowledge the Gains

Believe it or not, the lessons and takeaways that have impacted me the most are from that last goal. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “You either win or you learn;” well, the learning and the growth for me is in No. 3. Whenever I miss a goal, I see that as an opportunity to live in the gain and not in the gap. 

“The gap” is a phrase developed by Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, meant to illustrate that there will always be a gap between what we shoot for and what we hit. Let that sink in for a moment. Whenever we “arrive” at a goal, what’s the first thing we tend to do? We move the target further out! If we have a goal for our shops to hit $100,000 in monthly revenue, at 5 percent net profit, and we start hitting that regularly, what do we do? We think, “Well, that’s easy now! Why not go for $150,000 and 8 percent?” 

We move the target out further. We are designed to challenge and stretch ourselves. It’s what makes us entrepreneurs and leaders—we stay out ahead. But it also means that we have a hard time celebrating—or even acknowledging—the gains. Living in the gain means that I celebrate the two inches that I lost versus obsessing over the two that I didn’t. It means acknowledging that I took those first steps (sometimes the hardest of all!) to begin the journey of finding a solution that works for me and my lifestyle. It means that I recognized the value of healthy living and deemed it a worthy pursuit. That’s something to celebrate! 

We all know the saying, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” and while, sure, it’s turned into a cliché, isn’t it true? Don’t we all remember those early years in our careers where we thought, “Man, if I could just get to $1 million in yearly sales; then I’d be living the life!”? We owe it to our past selves, who had those dreams and set those goals, to acknowledge the gains before we move on to focusing on the gap. That’s my focus for the rest of the year, and I hope you’ll consider making it yours, too.

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