Wham! That was the sound I heard as our team called a time out and we huddled at the bench. As we were standing there, I suddenly heard that loud noise inside my football helmet; turning only to see our defensive coach with his big eyes looking right inside my helmet………………. yes, straight at me!
“You’ve not been called offsides the entire game……. what’s going on?” I was the defensive center linebacker, and it was my job to stand up anyone playing the center position on the opposing team. My heavily padded forearm was used to wake them up and hopefully keep them concerned/confused with what’s coming next. Once I got the center out of the way it was my mission to head to and hopefully take out the quarterback or anyone possessing the football.
It took me a minute to figure all this “coaching session” out, yet I soon gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of what had happened that day. Coach saw the big picture and knew I had to do what he’d said to keep the other team wondering what was coming. “Keep them on their toes” as he said. At first, I didn’t quite see things as he did yet he knew what was needed and took action. AND …………he told me to change. NOW!
As I transitioned from a technician to a shop owner I often thought “What don’t I see?” I knew there was a lot to being a business owner and wanted to do whatever it took to make certain I succeeded. I read almost any book and article I could find regarding owning and the successful operation of an automotive store. I bought all the training tapes and listened to them all over and over. I met with other owners at our monthly IGO meetings and travelled frequently to numerous industry events across the nation. I learned quick and learned things I would have never…. ever…. have known otherwise. Business was good, but I wanted more.
While attending a national CarQuest event where our shop was awarded “Top 10 in the Nation” for the third year in a row, I overheard some of the other winners discuss a 20 group. I didn’t know much about a 20 group yet wanted to find out more. I learned that they were in a national group which was limited to twenty participants. The only way to get in was for someone to leave the group. It wasn’t long before I got a call where I was invited to an upcoming meeting as they were adding two new members to replace some owners that had recently retired. Thankfully after participating in the initial three-day meeting, I was accepted into the group along with a new friend/shop owner from Wisconsin. I was in that group for eight years and learned more than I ever imagined. There was a moderator of the group yet most of my knowledge came from my interaction with the other group members. I later joined other groups where there was more of a leader who would call me regularly to help me plan and equip for the growth I was desiring so much.
I am now in my fifth automotive group over the past twenty-five years. I also participate in other industry management groups (motorcycle dealership, property management, & etc.) to help us in some of our other ventures. I wasn’t too shocked when learning of a 20-group program for coin operated laundromat operators. No, I don’t own a laundromat…….yet.
I‘ve been in my current automotive group for seven years; since its inception when some of us who had met in the other groups along the way helped each other and our leader build a program more tailored for what we wanted and just couldn’t seem to find elsewhere. It took a few years for it all to come together and get the group launched yet I have never been more fulfilled and excited.
It’s much larger than twenty members yet I still have a coach with whom I talk multiple times per week. The group’s Facebook chats along with several in person meetings throughout the year and frequent online events help keep me connected and moving on up. I appreciate too that my daughter is able to participate in the meetings and training.
There are plenty of groups around with some of the best people you’ll ever find. Various platforms like online, in person, hybrids, and almost every format imaginable is available. I don’t think anyone wouldn’t be amazed at what they discover by participating with a coach and the associated group members.
The important thing to gain is that we only see what is near to us. A group and coach can open your mind to endless options to grow and succeed. It may take you trying out a few different groups as I have yet, I can assure you there is one available that will fit you.
With ASTA and especially our upcoming September ASTE event you are able meet some of these leaders/groups and sample what their programs offer. Don’t hold back asking the hard questions in an effort to make certain you’re going for the best fit. Tell them where you are and where you want to be….soon. Let them know your expectations. Tell them what you don’t like. Shake things up as much as you can to ensure you find out the details that matter to you.
-See you soon…. see you there?