Callahan: Finding Your Tribe

March 25, 2024
One of the keys to success in life and business is aligning yourself with the right people.

In February, I attended the Women in Auto Care Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was vividly reminded how critical it is to have positive, uplifting, supportive, and honest people in my life. I often quote Jim Rohn to my daughters: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." I believe this is a straightforward way to assess your current situation—success or struggle. 

If you are currently in a struggle scenario, ask yourself if you are spending much of your time talking to people who are obsessed with all the negative things in their lives—a dip in the stock market, the current election polls, or maybe your friends are all Arizona Cardinals fans. (No shade toward the Cardinals; they are the team with the most regular season losses through 2023—803, says Google, so it must be true!) Focusing on the light around you is tough when all you see and hear about from friends is dark. 

On the contrary, if you spend time with people who help others in your community, meet regularly with people for networking or self-improvement, or meet weekly for fun, games, and laughs with buddies, you can better navigate the junk that inevitably comes along because you are keenly aware that there is balance. 

Why am I going into all this? Because finding my tribe has been pivotal to my success in the automotive industry. None of us are on an island all alone. Often, we feel that way, but it isn't true.  

As a shop owner, I know it is a challenge to attend conferences due to time and budget constraints. However, connecting with others in the industry is a great way to surround yourself with people who will mentor and cheer you on to success. Make a budget (now) and save money to attend a conference or training each year. No excuses hold up for why you cannot participate in something. So many companies and groups are now offering virtual training. Women in Auto Care has monthly Connection Circles on various topics of interest that keep people all over the industry connected and learning. Almost every region in the country has a division of the Auto Care Alliance, and they do smaller training events: MWACA = VISION, FLACA = Accelerate, MAACA = Super Saturday; your parts suppliers likely host training classes throughout the year. This publication, Ratchet+Wrench, has a great management conference every fall. Go to ASTE or come out to AAPEX/SEMA in November. Aside from increasing your knowledge, the point is to expand your circle of influence and "raise your average." Having a group of like-minded people around you and ready to be your cheerleader or provide a shoulder to lean on is critical to continued success.  

As a little bonus this month, here are some insights from the Women in Auto Care conference that I believe are beneficial for everyone: 

  • Unity within our community leads to mutual success!

  • It's critical to stand up for oneself while supporting others.

  • Facing challenges head-on can boost our success.

  • Achieving a balance between work and life is vital to productivity and engagement in our duties.

  • Acknowledging our individuality is essential in striving to be our best selves.

  • It's important to pause, take responsibility, be empathetic, and act with intention.

  • Most notably, enjoy the journey and remember that sometimes it's necessary to claim your space proactively rather than waiting for an invitation proactively! 

So, make plans to attend a conference this year, and if I am there, make sure you say hi! 

About the Author

Kathleen Callahan | Owner

Kathleen Callahan has owned Florida’s Xpertech Auto Repair for 20 years. In 2020, she joined Repair Shop of Tomorrow as a coach to pursue her passion for developing people and creating thriving shop cultures. Callahan is the 2018 Women in Auto Care Shop Owner of the Year, nationally recognized by AAA for three consecutive years, testified for Right to Repair on Capitol Hill, and is Vice Chair of Women in Auto Care.

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