Anxiety, Anticipation, Angst and Unbridled Enthusiasm…

Written by mitch. Posted in Aftermarket, Blog, Consumer, Distribution, General Community, Manufacturing, Repair Community

Starting a new project, especially a massive project that has implications far beyond what you are likely to experience in your little corner of the world, is frightening. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The minute you go to the cupboard and pour a little “unknown” into the mix, the result is bound to be a frothy, bubbly ring of anxiety building up around the edge of the bowl.

There is no, “If This/Then That!” There is only, “If This… Well, let’s see what happens!” And, for most of us, “let’s see what happens…” is a little too vague; a little too disconcerting for comfort.

“Let’s see what happens…” results in anxiety that stems from an anticipation of the unknown: our subconscious working overtime to create vivid images of horrible consequences both real and imagined.

What if no one likes what we’ve created? What if no one responds? What if it doesn’t work? What if our clients and friends hate it? What if they no longer like or respect us? What if they abandon us?

What if…?

What if… is cloaked in words like might, could, should and possible.

What if… equals anxiety. But, anxiety isn’t the same as fear. Fear is real. Fear is immediate. It’s tangible. You can taste it. You can reach out and touch it. Worse yet, it just might reach out and touch you.

Angst is anxiety mitigated by hope:  hope defined as that part of our human awareness that allows us to continue regardless of the circumstance and despite what we are currently forced to endure.

As we get ready to pull the trigger and launch “First Choice… Buy American!” the most ambitious program we’ve ever implemented here at the shop and a program I hope will catch on across America, I’m experiencing all of the above: the full palette of human emotion. It’s caused my heart rate to increase and the muscles in my chest to contract: the Lizard Brain and the Resistance hard at work to prevent any real change in the status quo from occurring.

Nevertheless, I’m excited… excited and filled with unbridled enthusiasm.

I’m excited because I know “First Choice… Buy American!” can work. I’m enthusiastic because I believe it just might!

You see it’s up to us: shop owners and members of the repair community like me and motorists, clients and customers like you. And, all we have to do is ask for manufactured products made here in the States.

Sure, there are others involved: manufacturers and distributors. But, they are driven by demand. Creating that demand is up to us, a hundred thousand shop owners like me, and the millions of motorists out there just like you.

If you would like to know more about “First Choice…,” go to: and click on “first choice” at the top of the page just below the star or go to videos and click on “Mitch First Choice Blog.”

If you’re one of our “Family of Families” and you’re still curious, call 805.581.2340 for more information or better yet just come by and ask us about “First Choice…” in person.

Be Nice…

Written by mitch. Posted in Aftermarket, Blog, Distribution, Manufacturing, Repair Community

My wife was at a Staff Meeting tonight, which basically means I was on my own. Now, for some people that might mean dinner out and a chance to do whatever they want. For me it meant two slices of left over mushroom quesadilla, U-Verse, and a chance to watch Road House… yet again!

MV5BMTU1MTE2Mjk2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTUzNjYzNA@@._V1._SY317_If Lesley was home and walked into the family room and Road House was on… again: the conversation would go something like this, “How many times are you going to watch that movie? Don’t you have it memorized by now!” and, I’d probably respond with something clever, like: “As many times as it’s on… And, almost, but not quite yet!”

To tell you the truth, I have memorized most, if not all of it. But, there are great lessons to be learned from Sam Elliott’s character and still more to be learned from Patrick Swayze. One of those things is something I learned a long time ago and that’s, “Be nice…”

It comes during a scene at the very beginning of the movie where Swayze’s character, Dalton, is sharing what turns out to be both his operational strategy for the bar he’s supposed to reclaim and resurrect and his own personal philosophy: “Be nice… Be nice no matter what happens: no matter what anyone does, no matter what anyone says. Be nice until it’s time not to be nice.”

It’s an operational strategy and philosophy I’ve tried to adopt, but honestly, my execution is generally something less than perfect. In fact, it’s something I have trouble with just about every day…

Why? Because, it’s hard to be nice when you’re dealing with someone who by nature appears to be anything but nice. It’s hard to be nice to someone who appears to be ‘working you’ every time they show up: nice when in your presence and bordering on malicious when you aren’t there and they’re skulking around in the shadows.

There isn’t enough time or ink to tell the whole story here, but I’d be willing to bet if you’ve been in this business for more than an hour-and-a-half you know this guy or at least, his type. In fact, if you’ve been in this business for more than an hour-and-a-half you’ve probably already had him in your office.

Be nice… “

While he can be absolutely charming when or if he chooses: you can just as quickly and easily find yourself confronted with someone how is condescending, demanding, annoying, confounding, insulting and contradictory – and, as my wife would say, “Those are his GOOD points!”

Be nice…”

My attitude may have been poisoned by the email he sent a few weeks ago implying one of our technicians actually sabotaged his vehicle, creating a problem just because he didn’t like working on his vehicle. Or, it could have been his unwillingness to believe me when I tried to tell him that couldn’t be further from the truth: that our technician actually had no problem working on his car.

What I should have told him, but didn’t – what I couldn’t tell him – was that the problem our technician had was working with the owner, not with the vehicle!

Be nice…”

I’ve tried. But, it’s hard – almost impossible – to be nice to someone who isn’t nice to you. It’s hard to be nice to someone who has insulted you. Or, worse yet, insulted people you respect: people who have earned that respect over a lifetime of service. And, yet, I keep trying.

I keep trying even when the veneer of that effort is worn so thin it’s almost become transparent.

Be nice…”

I’m giving it one last shot… going over the vehicle one last time and at least attempting to knock every last concern off this guy’s list. I’m going to kill him with kindness… Or, maybe, I’ll just kill him? Who knows…

Whatever I do, I’ll be doing it for me and not for him and that’s kind of a shame because he’ll probably read it the wrong way and think it’s all about him and everything is OK.

I’ll be nice because that’s who I am: that’s who we are… It’s how we are with just about everyone who comes here.

It’s the way we do things: the way I was raised, the only way we know.

But, it will be the last time we’ll be nice. Because I think we’ve reached the point it’s finally time not to be so nice!”