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Attitude is Everything

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Julius Erving once summed up his job by saying, “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”

Don’t you love that quote? You can apply it to any profession, including ours. No matter how much you might love cars, there will be days when the garage is the last place you want to be.

It happens to everybody. Most people choose a career they are passionate about, but as the years pass and the excitement wears off, routine sets in and it starts to feel like work. It’s often been said that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. But every job, no matter how passionate you are about it, comes with some unpleasantries. I’ll admit that there are mornings I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s not illegal for us to have days like that, but it’s important not to carry any negativity into the workplace, especially as a business leader.

If you go to work wishing you were somewhere else, it will be reflected in the way you present yourself. Customers can sense negativity from a mile away. “Suck it up,” isn’t helpful advice, so what can you do? Some things to consider:

Remember why your job matters. I don’t know why you chose to become a technician, service advisor, or auto shop owner. My reasoning was simple: Working on cars makes me feel strong, accomplished and self-sufficient. What’s your “why?”

Maybe you’ve loved cars since you were a small child. Maybe you want an active job, because you hate the thought of being chained to a desk. Maybe it’s the satisfaction you get from helping people in need. Whatever your reason, it’s important to have a “why,” and remember it when you’re down.

Start your day with a smile (seriously). Have you ever tried to stay in a bad mood with a smile on your face? It’s impossible (and it’s contagious). Prove me wrong. Watch or listen to something that will make you laugh or feel good before you get to the shop. It’ll make a difference. I’m a sucker for stand-up comedy. One of my favorite comedians is Ellen DeGeneres. When I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I search for a clip from one of her specials. It never fails.

Be grateful. I know this might be a weird thing to say in a column for the auto service industry, but I feel everybody can benefit from gratitude. The next time you don’t want to be at work, remember there are millions of unemployed people who would be happy to have your job. Make a list of your blessings. By the time you finish your list, I bet you’ll feel better.

This all seems like simple stuff, I know, but it’s so often overlooked and we forget how much of a difference our attitudes as shop leaders can make in the lives of our colleagues and customers. If you dread your work and are just going through the motions, the repercussions to your business can be catastrophic. A leader’s behavior, for better or worse, has a tendency to rub off on staff, affecting everything from productivity to customer interaction.

If you want to be perceived as a professional, do the work you love to do, even when you don’t want to. Run your shop with the attitude your staff and customers deserve.

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