A Difficult Day…

Written by mitch on. Posted in Uncategorized

Today was a difficult day… Actually, it wasn’t today… as in: Sunday the 21st. Today was a difficult day as in: Thursday, February 17th – that’s when I started writing this and the fact that it took four days to get it down on paper might suggest just how difficult it was!
Not for any special reason. Just, because…
It started out that way, and once begun, I guess there was just no way to effectively turn things around. Another day of re-acting, rather than acting. 
I’m not a big fan of days that begin this way. They result in far too much philosophical reflection as far as I’m concerned. And, realistically, I would rather be “doing” than “thinking” anyway!
There was no indication I would be sailing with the “Tidy Bowl Man” when I awoke this morning. In fact, I felt pretty good. So good, I decided to dine out for breakfast and a turkey sausage and egg soufflé at Panera sounded absolutely wonderful. Those of you who might be following this blog already know that eating breakfast out was a family ritual for more than thirty-eight years. It was the best way my father could find to keep the family in our family business, and it worked. However, since I’m the only Schneider at Schneider’s Automotive these days, dining out has lost a lot of its significance and consequently, its appeal.
Instead of anxiously looking forward to the sense of community breakfast provided first thing each morning, I find myself eating out when being alone and reflecting on the last few days or planning for the next seems somehow necessary or more important than working out or sleeping in.
This morning was one of those “reflective” mornings… At least, it did until I found someone from the original breakfast club sitting down at my booth.
Please don’t misunderstand! I like this person. I really do! I just didn’t want company THIS particular morning and things just naturally seemed to go to hell from there. She can be a bit negative at times: Why am I doing this? I hate it! I want to retire… NOW!
That kind of negativity can be contagious and this morning, I caught it!
After arriving at work there were problems with suppliers, customers, equipment and technicians… just about my whole universe when you think about it. Even one of the dogs was limping when I got in: an open sore on his right front paw which meant an unscheduled trip to the Vet.
There was a time when me at the nexus of all of these things coming together would have been more than enough send me into the bathroom for a serious attempt to drown myself in the toilet, but the way things were going I was pretty sure it would just back up, and…
I think you get the visual.
That being said, I’m not the same person I was a number of years ago when my reaction would have been less than mature, or adult, or even appropriate.
Now, I just try to back up a little and reflect… Reflect on what just happened… Reflect on why it may have happened… Reflect on the role I may have played in causing it to happen… You get the idea.
Instead of internalizing everything, I try to back away at least a little and process it all with an: “Isn’t that fascinating…” Or, two. You would be surprised how much of a difference not taking these kinds of problems personally can really make on your day, especially when they seem to be occurring minute-by-minute and with frightening regularity.
What makes it all worse is being a professional technician by trade. I’ve spent my life ‘fixing’ stuff and problems like these fall into the “This needs fixing NOW!” bucket. The only problem is that not everything in the bucket can be fixed right now… As a matter of fact, not all the broken things you are likely to encounter can be fixed at all; At least, not by you!
You see, if it wasn’t ‘yours’ to break, it isn’t likely you’re going to be able to ‘fix’ it: I mean, really fix it! You may find a work around or two, but “Fixed?” I don’t think so! The people who broke it are going to have to fix it – and, that’s only fair.
And, the minute you begin to realize that a day that started out to be difficult can get a whole lot easier… And, it did!

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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

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