Archive for May, 2012

Day One…

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I’ve been doing so much for so long doing too much seems almost like not enough…

If that makes sense to you, you’re in too deep and in as much trouble as I generally am, trouble that probably stems from being ‘Recognition Dependent’ and never really being able to say, No!

If you think I’m kidding ask your analyst… No, really, I’m not going to force you schedule an appointment. Instead, I’ll offer my own definition.

In its simplest form, “Recognition Dependent” just means caring too much about being recognized – how you are thought of or esteemed by others – particularly, those whose opinions are meaningful to you. Because you want people to think highly of you, because you want people to like you… You are likely to do whatever they ask you to do, whatever you think they want, need or expect from you.

My experience has taught me most ‘good’ shop owners are “Recognition Dependent.” They care and act accordingly as the result of that caring. They bend over backwards to satisfy their clients, at least in part because they want their clients to ‘like’ them.

Most of us are “Recognition Dependent” to one degree or another if you think about it and that’s OK. The wheels start to come off, however, when you’re trying to please too many different people or groups of people, especially when there are conflicting agendas.

I’m no stranger when it comes to being over committed. I’ve been working at the shop, writing to the Automotive Aftermarket, presenting seminars and delivering speeches for more than twenty five years. That’s a long time and a lot of balls in the air. It’s a lot of conversations that end with, “Sure, I’ll do it!”
If you don’t believe me you can ask Lesley, my wife! Our conversations generally either start or end with Lesley asking, “When were you going to tell me you were going out of town? The night before…” And, me responding with, “I’m almost sure we talked about this when it came up a few months ago…”

The biggest problem with being over committed, at least for me is fighting fires: putting out the hottest and most pressing fires before they singe the door and burn everything in your front yard to the ground. You do that a lot when you have lots of fires and lots of deadlines and you’re trying to juggle them all without searing your toes. Oddly enough, I’ve gotten pretty good at managing the chaos and frankly, I must like it because I’m stilling doing it!

The bad news is, I fall apart when the fire is out and I have to figure out where I was and what’s left to do on all the other projects that were abandoned when the alarm bells began to ring and I went diving for that shiny brass pole in the center of that big hole in the middle of the floor.

I mean, where do you start?

The answer came from a blog I read yesterday morning, a blog by Chris Brogan, a web marketing expert, auther, speaker and all around good guy…

The blog was titled, What Does Day One Look Like, and it really struck a nerve. Strange how something like that can turn your world upside down…

What I got out of the blog was elegantly simple… when things fall apart and it’s time to clean up and get started again, instead of looking at whatever it was you were involved in from the beginning, pick it up from where you left off as if where you left off was the beginning. In other words, as if it was Day One…

Hurt your back and quit going to the gym, but you’re feeling better now: Day One…

Got distracted by a wedding and watched the Marketing Plan you were working on grind to a halt, but the wedding is over now and the kids are back from their honeymoon, so there is no reason not to start working on it all over again… No problem: Day One…

Way behind on writing assignments or the presentation looming up in your rear view mirror because you were working on everything else… Fugheddaboudit! Day One…

The coolest part about it is I have great hope it just might work! OK… So, it’s early and I’ve only tried it twice and it is only the first day! But… so far it’s two for two. In fact, I’m convinced it’s going to work.

Of course, it wouldn’t hurt anything if I could just learn to say, No! a little more forcefully and a little more often!

Qi Thieves…

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I am not a Roshi or a Tao Master. Nor, am I an Obi-Wan Kenobi “wanna be.” But, it would be hard to deny there isn’t some kind of a unifying force at work in the world. 
It’s role may not always be altogether clear, but most of us have sensed its presence or felt it at work. It may not always be referred to as Qi, Ch’i or even, the “Force.” However, what it’s called isn’t nearly as important as what it is, how it works or the impact it can and does have on your everyday existence.
When everything in your world is ‘aligned,’ this energy flows through you as well as all around you. When things are out of alignment – something many of us know an awful lot about – things begin to fall apart rather quickly. In fact, depending upon the severity of the mis-alignment, it can feel like the wheels are just about ready to come off your life.
In the human body, the nexus for this energy is the Tan T’ien, located an inch or two below the navel. For all intent and purpose, it’s the body’s warehouse for Qi. Everyone has a spiritual center. Although, it’s certain not everyone is in touch with theirs. It is equally as certain the majority of people are just plain unaware it exists at all.
The more aware of this energy center you become the more you begin to realize just how important it is to remain centered and an integral part of the world surrounding you: a kind of “at one with.” You do this through situational awareness and a sensitivity to the energy of everything in your world. If you have ever folded your body onto the floor board between the front seat of the vehicle you are working on and the firewall, reached up into the wiring harness and instrument cluster between the brake and accelerator pedals like a surgeon searching for a leaky blood vessel, closed your eyes and then seen something you could not see or done something you knew you could not do, because for that fleeting moment you and the vehicle were one, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
You know with equal certainty that it’s impossible to do that unless you have achieved a minimal level of harmony, both internal and external. You know just as clearly how little it takes to destroy that moment and how quickly you can find yourself struggling with the machine, contending against self-imposed physical and mental constraints. 
Much of this we bring on ourselves – our minds and our lives are filled with a symphony of noise and clutter.  The chaos that surrounds all of us and fills our lives with a constant and unrealistic demand for attention loves nothing more then to draw you in: texts, cell phone calls, blog posts, tweets, four thousand friends clamoring for attention and the never ending requests to “send this to your ten  closest friends” is more than enough to disturb the calm we secretly yearn for and our minds and bodies so desperately need.
But, as frustrating and distracting as the world around us is or can be, it is not the devil I fear most. The devil I fear most is the Qi Thief! He is the insidious bastard who delights in destroying the harmony you seek. He is the monster lulling you into a false sense of peace and security and then sharttering the harmony you yearn to be a part of by crashing and banging through your world like a Dragon in the middle of a Chinese New Year’s parade!
He is the master of the unkind word, the center of his own selfish world. He doesn’t care about anyone or anything else. Because of the demons that torment him, he can never be at peace, and because he will never be at peace, he will do whatever he can to ensure you will never find the peace you seek. 
Where you try to tread lightly, he is likely to stomp. Where you try desperately to find that quiet place within, he works just as hard to marshal a roiling storm of chaos and contention pointing it all straight at you.
If you’ve been in this industry as long as I have, you’ve already associated a name with the portrait I’ve just painted. You know this person… Or, you knew him (Or, her…). They are energy thieves and they rob you of your center. Sadly, the worst part is they aren’t trying to steal the life out of you because they want it for themselves… All they really want is to ensure that if they can’t find peace, you will never have it either. 
There is no rehabilitating a Qi Thief, at least nothing I know of that will work. You can try, but experience has taught me that it is rarely more than a game: a game created by the Qi Thief to frustrate and disappoint you. The only way to win is not to play. The only way to win is to become strong enough to ignore their efforts to disturb you and the world around you or to eliminate them from your world altogether.
The best way to ensure harmony and a constant flow of energy to you and through you is to create an environment that is as peaceful and calm as you can make it: as peaceful and calm as it needs to be. 
The best way to ensure that constant flow of energy is to deny the Qi Thief his prize or to steal it back from him when he isn’t paying attention.