Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Are ANTs Blocking Your Shop’s Success? Think Positive!

“What you think about, you create, and what you think about yourself, you become.”Dr. Cindra Kamphoff

Meet “Ron.” Ron had just graduated from college as a star athlete, with a short-term goal of becoming the sporting goods manager with Montgomery Wards, a major retailer at the time. (FYI to the millennials who’ve never heard of Montgomery Wards: They went under in the 90s!)

Ron’s goal was to sit in “the big chair” as a Montgomery Ward’s Store General Manager.

He interviewed with the Hiring Manager and felt that things went well. His feelings changed the following day, after receiving a phone call to inform him that he didn’t get the position.

Ron felt devastated and demoralized. His mother provided him with the following words of comfort: “Everything happens for a reason.” Shortly after this conversation, Ron landed a job as a sports radio anchor.

The notoriety he received as a sports anchor, led to him becoming an actor. The exposure from acting aided his transition into politics.

The “Ron” in this story is Ronald Reagan. Many historians believe that if he had landed the Montgomery Ward’s job he was hoping for, he may have never become President of the United States! 

ATI fundamental # 14 teaches us to Recognize the power of beliefs to influence actions. The key is to always hold onto the following belief: Everything is happening FOR YOU, not TO YOU. This is the secret to maintaining the right mindset.

Before you can do this, you must eliminate the ants. 

Keep reading to uncover the details.

Ideas to grow your businessDo you struggle with turning obstacles into opportunities? Grow your business and improve your bottom-line. Discover valuable, easy-to-implement tips and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events. Register today at

Eliminating the ants

Have you recently had one of the following thoughts?

“My best employee just resigned. These millennials don’t want to work!”

“My car count is down. It always slows down this time of year!”

“My average repair order has dropped. We are still feeling the effect of that government shutdown!” (BTW, it ended on 1/25/19.)

“Mrs. Johnson didn’t want to make an exit appointment yesterday! This is proof that the customers in my area don’t like it!”

If you can identify with any of these thoughts, you have a case of the ants.

In her book Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to Gain the High-Performance Edge, Dr. Cindra Kamphoff makes reference to the “ants” which stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts.

She points out that the most dangerous ant of all is blaming someone or something else for your problems.

You feel better when you blame the millennials for your staffing. When business is down, it’s easier to look at the White House instead of looking in the mirror at the owner of your house. I get it!

This pattern of thinking places you in the role of the victim. When you’re the victim, everything is happening to you.

As previously stated, your beliefs influence your actions. Your belief that the solution is outside of your control will influence your inactivity.

After all, why would you try to fix something that’s out of your control? If you hold on to your ants, you will be a victim of circumstances.

Embracing the belief that everything happens for you, will destroy the ants and inspire you to move in the direction of your goals!

Examples from Your Shop

I repeat: everything is happening for you, not to you!

For example, receiving that surprise resignation from your best employee, happened for you to become a better leader who is focused on employee engagement. (BTW, according to Gallop data, 75% of employees leave because of the boss, not the job.)

The recent downturn in car count is happening for you to review how your advisors are answering the phones. (BTW, according to Randy Somers, only 4% of phone shopped advisors offer an appointment!)

Your recent experience of low ARO is happening for you to recommit to the daily repair order audits. (BTW, the average technician estimate is $100 for every 10K miles on the car!)

In each example, your belief influences an action that will move you in the right direction. When everything happens to you you’re the victim. When everything happens for you you’re the victor!


So, there you have it. Ron’s mom helped him realized that Montgomery Ward’s rejection happened for him to pursue a different path.

This belief influenced actions that resulted in him becoming President of the United States!

What’s possible for you?

At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.