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Zeck: Leave It Behind

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I’m writing this right before Christmas break and beyond the many things I’m looking forward to about a holiday break, one of the biggest is the slowing down. You know that in-between week before New Year’s, where no one answers the phone or emails, and nothing is going on? 

I live for that week. It’s a guilt-free week to lay low before things ramp back up again. 

Recently I was talking to a consultant and he said he loved that week for another reason: It’s an opportunity to quiet the mind and reflect on the year. He recommended looking at everything in your shop—staffing, marketing, car count, the numbers, training—and look at it with curiosity, not with ego or contempt. Just use it as data, nothing more nothing less. 

I like what Kevin Rains said in his column this month, about asking yourself what you want to leave behind in 2021. January is stereotypically notorious as a month for setting big goals—and then quickly abandoning them. So, before you delve too deeply into grandiose visions, start with discarding what didn’t serve you this year. Like Kevin said, that could be relationships, tasks, processes. But think critically about those; in some ways, they hold the keys to your success this year. 

It’s said insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result; how can we ever accomplish our goals if we don’t free up the space—mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually—to focus and discard the noise? 

That’s what we wanted to leave you with this issue and it’s why we kicked off the year with a feature asking top shop owners for their brightest industry ideas. You’ll see that those ideas run the gamut but, having met all these operators personally, I know for sure that they are all focused on the big picture—clearly, to big success. 

As you read through the stories, maybe you’ll start to pick up on a subtle theme. Nearly all of the shop owners’ brightest ideas involved a pivot; for their success to take shape, they all had to let go of something that wasn’t working. That could be a leadership style, an idea about culture, or even traditional shop floor setup.

That’s what Jason Boggs has challenged us all to do this month, too; to take a look at our beliefs and ask ourselves whether any of them could be wrong. He took a look at the industry's belief that small shops can’t compete against MSOs but there are surely tons of long-held beliefs that may not be accurate any longer.

This year, don’t accept the status quo for yourself. And instead, usher in a new era of success.

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