Happy New Year!

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As I write this, I just got back from a wake for an old friend, Dan Swint, of Wyandotte, Michigan. Some of you might remember Swint. He was very active as a multiple term board member of AOCA. He was one of the good ones. He died unexpectedly on a business trip at the age of 54. He leaves behind his wife, four wonderful kids and a grandchild. Swint passing reminded me how fleeting life can be but I’m happy to say while on earth, he lived life as fully as one could.

I hadn’t seen Swint in at least eight years as he left the quick lube business to follow his dream. He became a noted, successful sports photographer and followed his passion around the country. I certainly admired and respected that. I’m lucky. Selling automotive performance chemicals and working with my family was a dream of mine — it really was.

Another life lesson I recently thought of was from another great guy, my dad. When he was 79, he stunned the family by sharing his bucket list. Dad said when he turned 80 he was going to start smoking and much to my Mom’s — his wife of 50 plus years — confusion, having unsafe sex. We never found out what would happen when 80 arrived because God took him at 79 and a half.

I’ve struggled with the meaning of this for many years but I’ve narrowed it down to two. No. 1: don’t taunt God with your plans. No. 2: don’t put things off. I started smoking cigarettes for the first time ever at age 53 and stopped at age 56. I got closer to God as a result and tried to be truly present with everyone I came in contact with. I still have a bucket list, nothing too fancy, but I’d like to add some more things to it this year. Drop me a note and share yours.

It’s New Years, the perfect time for making new goals for the year. Here are seven I found on the American Express website by Katie Morrel:

Welcome to the anti-New Year’s resolution list. If you’re like me, you can’t stand resolutions, and by February 1 you’ve already thrown them to the wind anyway. So forget resolutions. Instead, focus on goals — goals that will help your business next year, goals that are attainable, ones you can achieve with minimal effort and ones that will guarantee to make you a happier and more relaxed small-business CEO next year. Here are seven that should be on your list.

Goal No. 7: Get out of your office

Goal No. 6: Stay present

Goal No. 5: Give up control issues

Goal No. 4: Say no (except certain chemical pitchmen)

Goal No. 3: Take a vacation

Goal No. 2: Market your business effectively

Goal No. 1: Separate your work identity from your personal identity.

What are your goals for next year? One of mine is to do 12 Great American Traveling Quick Lube Training Roadshow seminars. These will be fun, educational and ticket building seminars guaranteed to save you money, make you money and keep bringing in loyal customers and making you more money. To learn how the roadshow can come to your town give me a call it’s open to all!

DAVID PRANGE is currently assistant to the chairman at Next Generation Mfg. He can be reached at 630.699.6813 or: daveprange@aol.com

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