The discipline of showing up

Mary Slepicka
Publish Date: 
Nov 14, 2013
By Mary Slepicka

It’s late October as I write this. We’re down one staff editor, two are traveling, another one’s on vacation, and I’ve got a head cold. But the issue has to get to the printer, the e-newsletters have to blast out, news has to post to the website, the strat plans are due, and we’ve got about five research projects in play, including one that has to be tallied by oh, like, a week ago.

This “perfect storm” of uber-productivity happens only once in a great while, but every time it does we are reminded of the single guy running the service shop, or the two owners who every day have to turn the lights on, open the store, position the stuff, sell the stuff, order the stuff, repair the stuff, finance the stuff, tally the proceeds, sweep up, lock up and turn the lights off.

This isn’t fun. I thought this was supposed to be fun. When’s the last time you went for a ride? When’s the last time you took a day off?

Well, think about this: perhaps now is not the time for you to take a day off. Perhaps now is the time to keep going.

You may be working seven days a week, but if you’re turning the lights on in the morning and off at night it means you’re still in business – and that’s quite an achievement, given the last few years. The discipline of “showing up” gives you the strength to set the stage for a brighter and, yes, maybe a different future.  According to our latest Dealer Sentiment Index, more dealers are either experiencing a healthier sales environment or they expect it down the road. What’s your future going to be?

On Sept. 11, 2001, I called my father – a Great Depression teenager, a World War II veteran – and asked, “Dad, I don’t know what to do. What should I do?” He said, “Turn off the TV and go to work. Get on with your day. Show them that they haven’t licked you. That’s what being an American is all about.”

That discipline applies today and every day.

Show your market what you’re all about. In bad times, better times and rebuilding times, the ones who stay in it are putting one step in front of the other. Ask your OEM and distributor reps for help. Talk to other dealers (and other retailers). Punch the numbers into Excel. Challenge your assumptions. Take five minutes and start a list. Map out the calendar and drive your future.

Even if you’re going below the speed limit, you’re still moving forward. Cheers to you.