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I am a fourth generation, forty-sixy year veteran of the automotive aftermarket: an ASE Certified Master Technician, Service Consultant and Approved Automotive Manager. I grew up in this business with a passion for all things mechanical, particularly those things relating to performance. That passion grew to include all aspects of management, leadership and personal development with a special focus on every day shop operations which resulted in an eight-volume series on automotive shop management published by Cengage Learning and Thomson Publishing. I have been a trade journalist writing to the aftermarket for almost thirty years, devoting my professional life to improving both the image and experience of everyone struggling to succeed in the service industry and I've worked diligently to improve communication and increase understanding between all segments of my industry. This site and everything on it is both an extension and a continuation of those efforts

Words Matter…

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

We think in images. But, since we can’t all be Rembrandt’s (I’m more a Dali or a Picasso!), we struggle to communicate those images in pictures painted with words.

There is a chapter in the book I’m just finishing that deals with what I refer to as “D” Words.

I think “D” Words are important. So important I’ve been writing about them for a very long time. So long, they found a place in the 8-volume management series I wrote and published in 2003.

But, “D” Words can be sneaky, especially if you ‘string’ a bunch of them together. Especially, when you build an entire chapter around their importance. Which is exactly what I did in the book.

The first four “D” Words I talked about were Desire, Discipline, Determination and Drive.

I suggested these four words (among a few others) are the foundational elements of character: the very core of who we are. And, that Character – an essential “C” Word – is all about the choices we make when no one is looking. When no one is around to witness those choices.

Other than myself and a dear friend who is helping me with the final research necessary to complete the book, our son, Ryan, is the only one on the planet who has seen the manuscript.

He liked it! Really, liked it… But, he did have a question. He wanted to know why I felt compelled to string so many “D” Words, so similar in meaning together.

Like all of his comments, I took his question seriously. So seriously, I eneded up rewriting the entire chapter! I rewrote the chapter, because while similar, these words are different: different enough to make them even more meaningful when used together.

Here’s how I see those differences. But, in all honesty, I’d be really interested to learn how you see them…

Desire, simply stated, is something you want: something you would like.

Think about everyone you know… Think about the human condition… There are things we’d all would like.

We’ve all got desires of one kind or another, both personal and professional.

“I want to run a marathon! I’d like to win the Lottery… I need to take my business to over $1,000,000 or $ 2,000,000 in Sales!

The question is, what do we do with those desires. And, the sad commentary is most of us do nothing more than fantasize about them.

Most of us are satisfied to use those desires to fuel our daydreams and not much else. We’re not willing to take the ‘next step’ and Do the Work!

For Desires to be more than the stuff daydreams are made of: somewhere, somehow, someone has to sprinkle them with a little Action!

Discipline is important. Critical, in fact.

Discipline is the mental toughness it takes to do what has to be done: what needs to be done, even when you aren’t motivated to do it!

But, it also implies negative consequences associated with failure.

Discipline works best when you are motivated, of course… But, it doesn’t have to work that way!

Drive is really all about motivation: selfmotivation. As in, ‘I am driven to fix my business!’ Or, I am driven ‘to break that bad habit!’

Certainly, there are external forces that could drive you to do something. Even, something you don’t really want to do. But, for the most part, when we talk about Drive, we’re talking about the fire in your belly that compels you to do whatever has to be done.

Like most words, Determination can have more than one meaning. But, when I talk about Determination, you can be pretty sure I’m talking about firmness of purpose: about being resolute.

You can have Desire, but without Determination, Discipline and Drive you’ve got another “D” Word: Dreaming.

You can have Determination, but without Desire, Discipline and Drive, your efforts will probably remain unfocused: diffused.

You can be Disciplined, but without Determination, Drive and Desire you just might find yourself wondering, Disciplined to what end!

And, finally, you may find yourself Driven: propelled toward a certain goal or objective, but without Desire, Determination and Discipline, the chances are high your journey will take longer and cost more both physically and emotionally, than it would if all four “D” works were working in concert!

There is one more “D” Word that should be considered in a discussion of “D” Words, and that is Dedication. It just may be the most powerful of all the “D” Words, because it speaks to a critical “P” Word: Passion. Your Passion for whatever it is you are doing. Your commitment to see that task through to completion, regardless.

Regardless of the inconvenience. Regardless of the difficulties. Regardless of the obstacles. Regardless of the cost…”

Words matter… All the “D” Words mentioned above… Along with a bunch of “C” Words like Courage, Commitment, Character, Care and Concern. And, some “P” Words, like the Passion, Principled, Perception and Perfection!

They matter even more when they form the building blocks of a very special “L” Word:  a word like, Leadership!

Intent, Motivation and Discipline…

Written by mitch. Posted in Blog, General Community, Personal

It’s New Year’s Day, 2018 and I’m not gonna lie… I’m pretty happy about makin’ it through another full cycle of the Gregorian Calendar!

It’s nice!

I slept in this morning.

Watched the Rose Parade –

And, No! The weather is NOT always what you witnessed on television if you were watching the Parade with me this morning!

It gets cold… And, it does rain!

OK… It doesn’t rain as often or as much! Nor, does it get as cold as it probably gets where you are! But, still – for those of us who have been here for a while and become acclimated: it’s cold for us!

Aside from that, it’s insanely expensive to live here! And, despite what you’ve heard, we do have four seasons, just like everybody else – they’re just different!

You have Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall…

We have Fire, Flood, Earthquake and Mudslides! Something to think about before you call a realtor tomorrow after you’ve finished shoveling your way out of the house…

We had breakfast. And, I read as much of the paper as I was able to. Most of it was a reprise of the previous twelve months, and most of that was too damned depressing to revisit having already lived through it once!

Then, I visited my Inbox and deleted more than ninety-percent of the emails that were waiting for me there.

Most of what remained was focused on the New Year’s Resolutions you either should or should not make for the coming year.

Like most everything else: these emails provided an endless supply of mostly meaningless content. Uninvited content, spilling into your life like the overflow of an unattended bathtub: A tidal wave of bubbles, soap and water, that can leave you sitting on the floor, soaking wet and gasping for air!

It isn’t that I’m immune to the fact a new year begins again this morning, and with it a universe of new opportunities. In all honesty, I’m as excited about this an anyone else. I just don’t see it in the same way!

I see my life as a continuum: a continuing thread of events, challenges and opportunities that doesn’t artificially come to a screeching halt on December 31st.  And, then, slowly, begins its battle to overcome the Inertia of Rest again, at 12:01 AM, on January 1st!

For me, every day brings with it the Challenge of Choice: What to do, when to do it and, when to have it finished by.

Every day is a battle between Intent and the Inertia of Rest! Between the desire to accomplish something of consequence and a natural willingness to wait: wait until the time is “right…” Wait until the necessary resources have become available… Wait until the demand is overwhelming… Wait until later this afternoon or maybe even tomorrow.

It isn’t a matter of motivation or discipline either… At least, not for me!

Discipline isn’t the problem, not if discipline is all about using negative reinforcement to force desired behavior. Once I’ve accepted a responsibility, the problem isn’t getting me to continue until it’s completed… The problem is getting me to stop until the commitment is satisfied!

I don’t have a problem with motivation either. In fact, when it comes to motivation, I think I’m pretty much in agreement with what George Carlin had to say on the subject!

“What happened here? Suddenly everybody needs to be motivated? It’s a fairly simple thing. Either you want to do something or you don’t. What’s the big mystery? Besides, if you’re motivated enough to go the store to buy a motivation book, aren’t you motivated enough to do that (whatever it is you want or need to do) so you don’t need the book?

Put it back.


Tell the clerk “I’m motivated”, “I’m going home”.

So, I’m not sure what this Intent, Discipline and Motivation stuff is all about, and why it seems to come bubbling to the surface of our collective consciousness just once every year: pretty much today, and today only.

Why it isn’t an integral part of our being all year round…

It seems like we’d all get a lot more accomplished if we just kept working away at our goals and objectives. If we didn’t all agree on some artificial place to stop and review an arbitrary piece of our past efforts.

Don’t misunderstand…

I think reflection is good. Great, in fact!

I think it’s one of those inherently human characteristics that separates us from the rest of creation.

In fact, I think it’s so important, it shouldn’t be constrained to just once a year!

Now, the question is: What do you think?