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Boggs: What Fear is Holding You Back?

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My family went to an amusement park for the day in Hershey, Pennsylvania, when I was 12 years old. My dad wanted to go on the roller coaster named The Super Duper Looper. My sister and I weren’t going anywhere near it. My dad finally grabbed my sister by the hand and said, “Let’s go, we’re going on.“ He then looked at me and his eyes said it all: if she’s going, you’re going. Of course, you know how this story ends. As soon as we got off the ride, my sister and I ran to get back in line so we could go on it again.  

From that day forward I’ve been an adrenaline junkie. I’m terrified of heights, yet when I found myself in Vegas I rode Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere tower. I thoroughly enjoyed that ride, yet it might have never happened if it wasn’t for the Super Duper Looper.  

The reason I share my childhood experience with you is that fear can be crippling and keep us from so many good things. I almost didn’t meet my wife due to the fact that we met at a funeral and I was afraid of “picking someone up” at a funeral.   

There was once an employee who I knew needed to be terminated, but I was afraid of the consequences. I feared that he might retaliate or generally make things messy. I also feared we’d miss his production, as he was a solid technician. But once I finally made the decision to part ways with him, due to his attitude, our shop benefited greatly.   

So what are you afraid of? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to hire enough people? It’s an understandable fear, but if it becomes crippling to the point that you aren’t even trying, then you are missing out on great things. One of the things I love about our industry is it reeks of ingenuity. I could write a book about the ways people in our industry found new ways to solve problems. Don’t let the fear of the difficulty of hiring keep you from being the one in your area who is the new HR genius and hires more techs than everyone else.

And if you strike out figuring out how to reinvent the hiring process, are you going to let that fear control you? If you do, you will likely miss out on solutions that are in house. In the mid-2000s our shop was not performing the way I wanted. We had plenty of work, and a solid team of technicians, albeit an aging team. I knew processes were going to be the key to moving forward. We started down the difficult journey of becoming a process centered environment. It took me a while to get buy-in from the team. I almost let the fear of them leaving vs sticking with me through the changes keep me from forging ahead with the changes. Three years later we hit a record sales figure, with less people than we started the journey with. The processes allowed us to get more cars fixed, with less people, and be far more profitable while at the same time paying our technicians more, which certainly helps with retention.   

Over the past year I had a fear of rejection, not wanting to ask insurers for a labor rate increase because I didn’t want to battle and constantly lose. I have no idea where that fear came from. Our shop has been a pioneer in our region for finding new line items to charge for. We asked until we got the answer we were looking for. We professionally pushed the limit. But for some reason I let that fear in and it kept our shop from getting an increase in rates for far too long. This time around, when we finally started asking for an increase, I was shocked at how quickly we saw results. Silly fear, keeping everyone on our team from something good.

So what are you afraid of? Maybe it’s so ingrained in you that you don’t even realize what it is.  Ask some of your team members what they think. And listen to them when they respond, don’t get bent out of shape when they give you feedback. Once you realize what you are fearing, it’s time to get to work. Attack your fear head on and you’ll likely find your fear has no teeth. Unless you have the fear of falling or loud sounds, it’s not a natural fear. Something in your past experiences helped you develop this unhealthy fear.

Do you know the Bible speaks of not being afraid 365 times? It’s as if the author knew we would need the reminder every single day. I’ve let fear keep me from some good things in life, from the Super Duper Looper to some very profitable times for our company. Take a minute to do an honest evaluation of your life and see what you might be missing out on due to a silly fear. 

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