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Auto Repair Shop Owners: How Big is Your Circle?


Circle of Control by Lucas Underwood

 I want to talk to you about something that I tell my staff about. I tell my family about it. I tell everybody about it. There are three circles on a page, and then there's everything else. There's a small circle. The circle of control, a medium circle, the circle of influence. And then that big sheet of paper has everything else on it. Years ago, I was talking to Rick, and I was talking about all these problems I had in the shop. One of the things that I really wanted to solve with hiring a coach is I wanted all these problems to go away. And Rick came to me, and he said, “Listen, when all your problems go away, you're dead. We just need better problems.” Now that hit me like a ton of bricks because I never thought about it that way.

I just looked at all the problems the exact same. He talked to me about something called the circle of control. Now put my own little spin on it, but I want you guys to kind of understand where I'm going with this. This is about taking inventory and I'm not talking about the parts on the shelf. This is about taking recognition of your thoughts and what's going on in your life. You see most folks take everything in life, every scenario, every situation, and they throw it all into one big batch and they try and solve all their problems in that one big batch. But we need to do a little bit of inventory and place things where they belong. We need to do a little bit of organization if you will. So we have to recognize what the circle of control is, and this changed my life.

The first thing is the Circle of Control as the smallest circle for a reason. And it's because it's all the things in your life you can control. And that circle is pretty small. It's what you say, what you do, what you think, how you act. Those are the things that you can truly control. You can't control any other aspects. So, I would like you to take a pen and a piece of paper and write down the things that you can control? The next circle, it's a little bit bigger. And it's called the Circle of Influence. Now the circle of influence contains people and things that we can encourage, that we can move in a direction.

Think about your spouse.  Think about your children. Think about your animals. You might be able to get that dog to go outside to use the bathroom, but you can't force it to go if you know what I mean. Those are things we don't control. And so often we look at these things like we should be able to control them, and we try and force our way and we go backward. And then there's a Circle of Everything Else. And the reality of it is you can't do a thing about everything else. You can't control the weather. You can't control these scenarios that are so far outside of that circle of control. There's no point in trying, but all too often, we use our most precious resource, our energy, our time, the one thing we can't get back, we use that to try and control everything else. In turn, we try and control the circle of influence.

You remember when you were young, you had that magnifying glass. You found a leaf on the ground, and you put it out there in front of the sun. All of a sudden that leaf began to burn. When we take our energy and we get it focused into a laser light focus beam, and we focus it on the circle of control. What we say, what we do, how we act us, guess what the circle of control begins to grow. Because the next thing that happens is the circle of influence begins to grow. Guess what? When the circle of control and the circle of influence grow, there's less room for everything else.

The key is, we have to focus that energy in the right way. That's what Rick has been talking about for years and years. He has been talking about focusing. He talks about what you must focus on to improve things. He talks about focusing your energy, where you can truly make a difference and truly improve your life and the life of those around you, your employees, your families. But all too often, we focus on everything altogether at once.

I'm going to challenge you today to really dig in and focus on what you're saying. When I was little, my dad always said, “Son, be careful. You get what you speak.” I thought it was hogwash. When I was young, I didn't really respect my dad or understand how smart he was. Today, I realize the man is a genius.  He's so smart because you really do get what you say.

Let's start getting some positivity coming out of our mouths. Let's start focusing on the things that we can improve. The things that we can do. I've got a huge lesson on this right now. I've just been going through building a building. There are so many aspects of this that I can't control. I'm waiting on the inspector. I'm waiting on the electrician. I'm waiting on the plumber. I'm waiting on the weather. I'm waiting on the bank. And there are so many things that I can't control. And I am so glad I learned this lesson before. The reality is, I would have driven myself crazy trying to focus on those things. I couldn't do anything about it. And so often that's what we do.  We spin our wheels. We get so frustrated. We get so aggravated over these things that have already happened. They're done. They're over with. All we can do is make them better. We spend our energy focusing on things that we have no control over. I can't call that inspector and say, “I need you here today. Right now.” He doesn't care.

We must focus on where we can control things. Now imagine this. If I was very polite with the inspector and I explained my concerns and my needs, as opposed to being rude and brash with him, I might grow my circle of influence. I might be able to get him here a little bit sooner, but it takes positivity. It takes focusing on the things that I can do something about.   It's time to turn the tides. You must take some recognition of this little circle right here. You need to sit down and write this in. You have to be able to actually see what you've got going on. You must be able to document where you're going. You must be able to document those things you can control and the things you can't control. Take inventory of it. Write it down.

I hope you have a great day and I hope this message has helped you get started.


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