By Definition…

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

Who are you and what do you do?

No, really… If you were asked those questions how would you answer?

Are you the person everyone else thinks you are or ought to be? Is your sense of self defined externally? Or, are you actively engaged in becoming everything you were meant to be according to your own terms: your own design?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: more than I’d like to. And, while I can’t say I am consumed by questions like these, they occupy a lot more of my time than I’d like.

It isn’t something that just occurred to me either. I’ve been struggling with the question of how I am to be defined: whether by myself or by others, as long as I can remember. And, honestly, I don’t think I’m alone.

Mitch early 80s

If you asked me to introduce myself, I’d more than likely begin with, “My name is Mitch Schneider and I fix cars.”

That would be more accurate than you could possibly know and more honest than you can possibly imagine. In fact, there are those who might suggest that’s everything you need to know about me. But, that’s only if you understand who I think I am or ought to be.

There is more to me than all but a few will ever know, just like there is probably a lot more to you than you are willing to share with all but a very small and select group. The fact that “My name is Mitch Schneider and I fix cars…” tells you everything you need to know about me only if you recognize that I am constantly engaged in the process of redefining who I am and have yet to become: actively involved in ensuring that who I am and who I have yet to become never remains static or becomes stagnant. If you get to know me you’ll learn that I bristle when I’m held captive by someone else’s definition of who I am or should be: especially, when I know I am the sum total of everyone I’ve met and everything I’ve read, the living embodiment of everywhere I’ve been and everything I’ve experienced and the fact this journey is not yet over.

Interestingly enough, those of you who have been reading my columns for all these years probably know more about me and know me better than most if not all of my oldest and closest friends.


“My name is Mitch Schneider and I fix cars.” But, that isn’t all I am. It isn’t everything I am. I am a husband, a father, a business owner and a writer. The writing, however, is more a function of who I am in the process of becoming than I am a function of what I’ve written. Perhaps, because the writing is a constant and compelling struggle to define who that really is, what that person does and what he’s all about.

Who are you and what do you do?

Are you doing what you love to do? Are you following your passion? Are you creating art in everything you do or have you allowed others to define you: who you are and who you have yet to become?

Life is all about perception: how you perceive yourself, as well as how you are perceived by others.

By definition, a life well lived is a life in which you are the architect, a life you have both defined and designed.

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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

Comments (3)

  • CPearson


    I like the usage of the word “Passion” as it creates an absolute vision of what I/we do on a daily basis in our adventures of “Fixing Cars” and a reflection of our makeup in life. Through the evolution of time we adjust to the nuances of change as we learn about who we really are and experience the true passion of living.

    thanks Mitch


    • mitch


      Thanks, Chuck…
      Passion works because, realistically, you just couldn’t do this: at least, not well, without it! It’s more a ‘calling’ than it is anything else. We’re drawn to it: held captive by it. But, it’s what we love so what the hell! ;-{)}


  • Ron K


    I have been fixing cars professionally for 32 years, I have an associates degree in Mechanical Engineering and I am an ASE Re certified Master Tech for 30 plus years, I have become an automotive instructor. After three years of teaching and realizing that I have found my passion, the school went bankrupt. So with three bad spinal discs and acute tennis elbow I must re invent myself once again. I will and I enjoy reading your information. A very healthy and happy holiday season to you and your family and friends..Ron K


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