Absent With Good Cause…

Written by mitch on. Posted in Uncategorized

I just finished writing a piece for Auto-Insights, our newsletter at the shop, and “tweaked” it just a bit so it would work here in Counter-Intuitive. It is titled, “Creative Tension.”
Creative Tension is the sensation we experience as we move from the “Current Reality” we know toward our Vision for the future: a Vision whose reality, no matter how clear or carefully thought out will still remain largely unknown and as a result uncomfortable.
It’s hard to write about something like that without considering your own “Current Reality” and the “Creative Tension” that seems to fill every empty crevice of your life: hard, if not impossible. Especially, when that “Creative Tension” is always more stressful and anxiety-laden then you think it ought to be. One of the primary sources of that tension has to do with another interesting principle – something I try mention every time I’m in front of an audience doing the presentation work I do.
The principle is “Loss of Opportunity” and it’s something everyone doing presentation work is familiar with. The concept is simple enough… If I say I’m going to be somewhere, doing something – what I’ve really done is acknowledge the fact that I can’t be anywhere else, doing anything else; at least, not at that at that particular time or place.
It’s so much a part of the world of presentations and speakers it is generally addressed in the contract requiring the host to compensate the speaker in the event of a cancelation, recognizing the difficulty “filling” that space at the last minute constitutes. However, Loss of Opportunity impacts just about every one of us.
All of us are forced to make difficult choices when it comes to allocating our time, especially today when with the intense pressure of so many worthwhile and competitive demands. Doing this means we can’t do that… Being here means we can’t possibly be there… And, not doing that: not being there, almost always means we are ultimately going to frustrate or disappoint at least one other person, even if that one other person is us!
I experience the frustration, disappointment and tension associated with Loss of Opportunity all the time, especially when I’m trying to reconcile “Want To’s” with “Have To’s.”
Unfortunately, one of the best examples of that is this blog – Which is, most assuredly a “Want To!” I like writing here and experience a fair amount of frustration when the fates and my own lack of planning forces large gapping spaces between entries. It doesn’t matter how important the reason, how necessary the absence… You just can’t be in two different places doing two different things at the same time no matter how appealing or important. It is both physically and emotionally impossible.
This time, it was a ten-day business trip to Florida to both attend and present at two different, yet very similar automotive aftermarket conferences. I suppose I could have found a little time to write at least something. But, quite frankly, I was so immersed in everything that was going on around me – including a little R&R at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth” – it never occurred to me; at least, it never occurred to me when I had the time or the opportunity to think of something I felt worthy of sharing. Before that, it was the weeks of preparation ramping up for the conferences combined with constantly thinking about actually getting up in front of hundreds of my peers the eleven times I would be sharing the two presentations I created for both events.
It seems there is always something looming in the background: some “Have To” that inevitably takes precedence over this very enticing “Want To.” And, while I’d like to think I was absent with good cause, the fact remains that for whatever reason, I was gone, nevertheless.
I’ve decided that going forward I’m going to try my best to be more consistent, even if it means just checking in as often as I can with what “Sweet” Dick Whittington, an old L.A. drive-time Disc Jockey, called “Clean Thoughts on a Dirty Wall.” That way, even if I am absent with good cause, we can still keep in touch and you can still remain an integral and important part of my life…

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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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