How to Reset For True Peak Performance

June 3, 2021
When you've set a personal record and exceeded your business expectations, where do you go from there? Shop Fix Academy's Aaron Stokes explains.

For a lot of shops I work with business is booming. Across the country, shops are seeing record numbers and scrambling to hire enough techs to keep up with demand. On paper, they’re doing great. 

But with that boost in business, I’m seeing a familiar struggle. As a coach I see it all the time and I’ve faced it myself. A lot of shop owners are used to the hustle. They’ve worked hard to turn a profit and committed years of blood, sweat, and tears to get their businesses off the ground. They’re used to being the underdog and fighting hard and sacrificing for what they’ve built. They’re used to things going wrong, and in a lot of ways it’s what they’ve come to expect. 

They also usually have a dollar amount in mind—a figure they think they need to hit to turn things around and take the pressure off—and I get to help them reach it. Maybe they never thought they could reach $100,000 in monthly sales and we’ll get them on track in five months. I have a client that we helped go from $45,000 per year in net profit to $380,000, and another who was making $150,000 that we brought to $1 million in net profit in just 18 months. Those are lives that have been entirely flipped upside down at a pretty fast clip. Suddenly, they’re not struggling anymore. 

And you know what they say when they hit that big goal? “Oh. What now?” 

To them, they’ve peaked; they think they’ve seen as good as it gets … and they’re not as happy as they thought they’d be. Sure, it’s a relief that they can finally fix up the house and pay off all of their bills, but beyond those initial stressors, they’re usually feeling lost and in shock.

They’ve spent years working towards something they never really thought they’d reach, so when they get there, they have no idea what they really want to do with it. They want to enjoy their new success, but they don’t know how. It’s a unique, but not rare, kind of crisis that most successful shop owners I know can relate to. 

On top of that? They’ve lost a major motivator for moving the business forward. The big target they’ve had in sight or the finish line they’ve been racing toward is behind them now.

Better still? Now they’ve got to face the new responsibility that comes with that influx of cash. Who do you give it to? Maybe you’ll donate it to a cause you care about? How about a nonprofit or an orphanage? And if you do, how will you research the organization to make sure they’re being responsible with that money? With great success comes new responsibility and, often, a need for a full reset.

Here’s how I advise fellow shop owners: When in doubt you’ve got to focus out.

 In a moment of uncertainty, most people have a tendency to turn inward, but it’s when you’re focused on helping other people that you find what you’re really passionate about, and you realize how your success can make a real impact.

It’s not revolutionary. Everyone knows helping others in need can make you feel good. But I’ll work with clients facing major debt and as soon as they start dedicating their time and energy to a specific cause, they throw themselves into the business even harder so they can donate and support on an even bigger scale. They’ll have a record month in sales with this new motivator that they would have never hit for themselves. 

For some that cause might mean taking care of family, buying their parents a home or helping someone pay off medical bills. I’ve seen others start their own trade schools to give students a new alternative to secondary education and a way to avoid crippling debt, while others have focused those efforts on opening additional shop locations. They’re building out their operations so they can give their team a brighter future and create a more advanced career path for the loyal employees that have stuck by them. 

And what’s actually more important: Start today. Don’t wait until you’ve hit your dream number to figure out what you’re really actually working for. Our successes are about so much more than us and you’ll be surprised what you can really achieve when you’ve set out on the mission that will motivate you most.

About the Author

Aaron Stokes

A nearly 20-year veteran of the automotive repair industry, Aaron Stokes grew his business, AutoFix, from a one-car garage to a six-shop operation that is widely regarded as one of the top repair businesses in the country. Stokes, the founder of Shop Fix Academy, is an operational guru with a unique business and leadership philosophy that has led his business to great heights.

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