By Vic Tarasik, owner, Vic’s Precision Automotive
At the end of every year, I reflect on the events that transpired over the past 12 months that pertain to my business and personal life. Reflection can have a powerful impact on how you act in a similar situation you may encounter in the future.
As you replay the events in your mind, you get the opportunity to insert different actions, words and potential outcomes. I look at reflection as an essential part of the planning process for the year ahead.
Attitude, a key component of your behavior, can complement your reflection efforts or detract from them, steering you toward smooth or rough sailing.
As I reflected back on 2013, I looked at some of the opportunities and serious challenges I had, along with how I responded to them. I thought about my attitude during the challenge and the overall outcome. As I did this exercise, I was reminded of a parable which, after thinking about it, has helped me to adjust my course for the coming year.
There was a wise old man who lived high up in the Himalayan Mountains and, every so often, he would make the long, rough trek down to the village in the valley below. The villagers looked forward to seeing his stooped-over body as he would hobble into the town square. There, he would entertain passersby and he always drew a crowd while he performed their favorite magic tricks and other feats of wisdom he had mastered over his many years.
Many speculated on his age, as he was rumored to be well over 100 years old. The villagers looked forward to one of his tricks more than any other though; the wise old man had an uncanny ability to identify the contents of their pockets and boxes, and even what they were thinking.
In all of his years of coming to the village, he was never wrong in his predictions. Some of the young boys in town knew this, and they were determined to trick and discredit the wise man the next time he came to town. As part of their plan, they trapped a small canary.
As the wise man was in the middle of the villagers’ favorite trick, one of the young boys stepped out of the crowd ready to discredit him. The man gazed at the boy and invited him forward. The boy had the canary cupped in his hand, so the wise man could not hear or see the little bird.
The young boy had devised a plan, and he was sure it would trick the wise old man. He stepped up confidently and said, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?” The old man replied, “It is a yellow canary.”
With a feigned smile, the boy responded, “Yes, you are right!” The boy now knew that his plan was going to work. He asked the old man, “When I open my hands, will the bird be alive or dead?” His plan was if the old man said it was alive, he would crush the bird before opening his hand revealing the dead bird. If the old man said it was dead, he would open his hands and let the bird fly free. In the boy’s mind, he had him.
The old man appeared to be stumped. As he stroked his beard, he stared at the ground as the crowd looked on. The old man then looked up and gazed back at the boy and spoke to him softly, “Whether the bird lives or dies, it will be as you wish!”
And so be it. The “it will be as you wish” motto can be that rudder that steers us away from conflict with an employee, customer or vendor. It can also steer us toward a new fleet opportunity, or maybe a new employee or other opportunities that will impact our shop’s bottom line!
This story speaks to me such that my attitude and the environment it creates are my choice. While I may not have control over a certain circumstance, I do have a choice regarding how I handle it and how I can influence the outcome. I have a choice in what example I set for my team, the behavior I exemplify and what behaviors I want replicated around my shop. The attitude I project has a huge outcome on everything and everyone around me, and I want to be known as the one to go to when someone needs answers.
For 2014, my motto is, “It will be as you wish,” and my plan is that no matter what comes my way, I’m capable of overcoming it, and I will come out on top.
How about you? Will you choose to have the year as you wish?
Vic Tarasik is the owner of Vic’s Precision Automotive, The Woodlands, TX, a 30-year
industry veteran and long-time 20 Group member. His 10-bay, 7,000 sq.-ft. shop specializes in customer service, in addition to expert vehicle repairs. Vic can be reached at [email protected].