The Experience

Hard to imagine that it is already November. In northern tier states such as Minnesota, the leaves are gone. Frosty mornings are the norm, many days are gray, and we await the snow that usually brightens our landscape for months to come.

Many prepare for that most significant of state holidays: opening day of deer hunting. It’s a time when friends and family join to chase through fields and woods wearing warm gear and carrying guns. Most spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in fuel, lodging, gear, guns, ammo, food and beverage, licenses and more. The fortunate ones get to spend dollars processing the precious meat.

When you break it down, it may not seem efficient – perhaps not even logical – but it is primarily about the experience. The experience includes the anticipation, camaraderie, meals, libation, the stories, the outdoors, the thrill of the hunt and the memories.

Older hunters pass on techniques and stories to the younger ones. Each year, subtle evidence of changes in age can be observed and eventually the younger hunters find themselves saying and doing things the older ones did (a shock when it occurs to them). Next, they find themselves coaching the younger hunters, especially as older ones step aside.

As individuals, we change and slide into different phases of our lives, just as one season slides into another.

Likewise, our businesses and our industry change. Many things are consistent, like character, ethics, customer service, salesmanship, beliefs, and quality. Yet some of the old is always replaced with the new. Today we find ourselves talking about scanners, crush zones, software, estimate scrubbers and telematics. Those terms would have been foreign to many of us in the early years of our career. Yet, when we think of it, isn’t it the experience that brings some of the most fulfillment to us? Is it not up to us to make the most of the experience?

How fortunate we are to be able to experience the challenge of learning new technologies, the fulfillment in mastering new techniques, and the excitement in the power of restoring broken or malfunctioning complicated vehicles back to their intended appearance and function. There is also the experience of developing, maintaining and growing a successful business in today’s environment.

I believe it is all about our own attitudes and perspectives. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Likewise, for the most part, we can make our business life experience as fulfilling, rewarding and exciting as we make it.

In this issue we have Part II of our comprehensive coverage on shop management software, as well as an article on telematics. I urge you to read and learn about these significant topics. New to many of us, but how cool is it to experience these revolutionary changes in our automotive industry? Intimidating, yet exciting, each in its own way. If we pay attention and act accordingly, our association can positively influence the direction these issues take.

I urge you to read, learn and make the most of your business and life experience!