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Stop Limiting Your Potential

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What’s your ceiling? When have you maxed out your potential? When have you reached your limit on all you can do in your business, in your community, in your personal life?

Is there a vision that comes to mind?

I won’t give it all away here, our cover subject this month, Aaron Stokes, discusses the self-imposed “ceilings” many of us have. Both in business and our personal lives, we often set limits (sometimes, limits that would be deemed highly successful to many) based on some prior experience or perception that tells us this is what we can do, this is our potential, this is all we’re ever meant to be.

Why do we do this? Well, there’s a whole litany of reasons, and for each of us, it’s different. For Stokes, it was partly his background as a “poor, white-trash kid growing up in trailer parks with stains on my jeans and T-shirts,” as he colorfully puts it.

Stokes’ story—a truly remarkable one of failure, perseverance and success—is part of our annual How They Did It feature, which shares the inspiring stories of three shop operators and how each of them, presented with the opportunity to settle, changed course and pushed forward, positioning their businesses for seemingly limitless growth, expansion and improvement.

It’s a good read; don’t miss it. And I hope it causes you to reflect a bit on your own life and operation—it did for me.

Recently, we conducted our 2017 Ratchet+Wrench Readership Study, which surveyed many of you as to your feelings about our publication, its value, and how we stack up against competition. It’s an invaluable resource to give an objective “grade” of sorts to our work here at Ratchet+Wrench. I don’t want to get into the numbers, apart from saying that we, as a team here, are extremely humbled, grateful and, somewhat, validated in the response we received. It was overwhelmingly, embarrassingly positive.

When we founded this publication we set out to be your go-to resource for business-building strategies and inspiration. We wanted to be the unquestioned leader in our space. Now, we can argue as to whether we’re in that position or not. That’s not my point here. I bring this up because that was our goal; certainly not a ceiling or limit for us.

How’d we react internally to the results of our survey? We realized we can do a lot better in a number of areas. Over the next several months, you’ll notice a steady rollout of new online-only content and features from us. There will be increased multimedia use coming, and additional products previously unreleased. And we’ll continue to fine-tune our editorial approach for the print publication.

Sharing stories like the three in our How They Did It feature exemplifies our purpose as a publication, and Stokes’ clear advice in that piece nicely sets the stage for all other stories you’ll read from us. Don’t set limits. Don’t stop improving. Together, let’s keep pushing forward.

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