Shop Life

Navigating the Unknown

Order Reprints

My oldest daughter was afraid of the dark.

She was about 5 then, but at all other moments (during the day, at least), she was fearless. She was on skis at 3, biking without training wheels six months after that, and she always acted far older than her age; still does. But, she didn’t like the dark.

So, we created somewhat of a routine: Before turning off the lights, she’d sit up in bed and survey her room, taking a mental picture of all that was there and where it sat; she’d take a deep breath, picture that image of her room with her eyes closed, and we’d turn off the lights. Some nights, we’d have to repeat it a couple times. Regardless, it always ended with her very rationally stating: “Everything’s still the same, even if I can’t see it.”

That phrase popped into my head today as I sat to write this. Every month in these letters, I try to pull some inspiration from the issue’s content to help add some context and rationale to the editorial choices we make—and, at times, to highlight certain pieces that are clear can’t-miss stories. And don’t misunderstand me; this month’s issue has a number of great pieces. We have a main feature on how hiring veterans is a pathway to reduce the industry’s talent shortage, and we have pieces on everything from better use of KPI tracking to a list of books that can help you further your journey as a business leader.

I could (and gladly would) write all day about a number of the topics we cover in this month’s issue, but a part of me feels that’s disingenuous to the difficulties, anxieties, and fears many of us are experiencing as we wade through the murky cloud of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has cast over not only our industry but world as a whole.

And that’s why my daughter’s phrase came to mind.

Everything’s still the same, even if I can’t see it.

Bottom line: There’s nothing we can do to control the unknown, and there is no SOP in place to handle the current obstacles everyone faces. However, there are a lot of elements we can control. The advice is given so often that it’s become a cliche, but when faced with adversity, “controlling the controllables” is often the only course of action. We can shore up our processes, we can streamline our workflow, we can implement new concepts, and we can continue to improve what we do every day. Those elements aren’t drastically different today than they were months ago. The ideas in this month’s magazine for business improvement are just as crucial now, if not more crucial, than they’ve ever been. That needs to be the focus.

All those elements that make your business successful, they’re still there; they’re the items all around your room. Everything’s still the same, even if I can’t see it. Once you realize that, the darkness starts to fade. Here’s to brighter days.

Recommended Products

2009 Fast Lube Operator Survey

2010 Fast Lube Operator Survey

2011 Fast Lube Operator Survey

Related Articles

Auto shops still navigating tight labor market

Why Success Comes from Focusing on the Process, Not the Results

Pennzoil Joyride Through The Tundra

You must login or register in order to post a comment.