Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How To Grow Into A Better Version Of Yourself

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'"Muhammad Ali

So, how do you grow into a better version of yourself? As I ponder this question, I’m reminded of the lobster.

As a lobster starts to grow, its existing shell begins to feel uncomfortable and confining. The discomfort from the shell creates so much pain, that the lobster casts off the old shell, and produces a new one. The shell is what protects it from being eaten by predators, so removing it is risky.

Since it’s impossible to grow without taking risks, the lobster presses on with its improvement plan. To minimize the risk, it hides under a rock during the process.

As it continues to grow, the latest version of the shell gets uncomfortable, forcing it to repeat the process of going under the rock to produce a newer upgrade. Pain is nature’s way of demanding that the lobster continues to grow. 

It’s painful when your new technician leaves you to return to his old shop. It’s painful when you have too much month at the end of your money, and making payroll becomes a problem. It’s painful when your 5-star efforts result in a 1-star yelp review.

Here’s the big idea from the lobster story: if you want to grow into a better version of yourself, you must view pain as a necessary part of the process.

Now, you may be thinking, “Cute story Coach, but you’ve been living under a rock! Running a successful shop in my area is harder now than ever. How do I embrace pain as part of the process?”

Keep reading and you will learn what you can do to grow into a better version of yourself. 

Focus on the Other Side

In his book, The Tools: Transform Your Problems into  Courage, Confidence, and Creativity, Phil Stutz writes about a conversation he had with his high school football playing classmate who was considered to be the best running back in the city.

He had achieved the distinction of first-team All-City and had numerous scholarship offers to prove it. He was explaining to Phil how he’d achieved this honor. What he had to say was shocking.

He told Phil that he wasn’t the fastest running back in town. He mentioned that others around the city were stronger than him. It was his attitude about getting hit that separated him from the pack.

When he got the ball, he would run towards the nearest tackler and absorb the hit, no matter how much it hurt.

Many of the other backs were more skilled but they avoided contact out of fear. His mindset helped to overcome the difference in skillset.

His goal was to get into the end zone, so he knew that what he wanted was on the other side of the pain.

What’s in It for You?

I know of service advisors who would rather “run out of bounds” than make a CSI call to a lost customer. I know of service managers who “slide” to avoid the pain of having their sales presentation videotaped in the advanced sales class.

I know of shop owners who would love to “hand-off” the opportunity to have their 20 Group members visit their shop and critique their operation.

What does your end zone look like? Like the running back, it resides on the other side of the pain.

For example, getting through the pain of the CSI call will give you the opportunity to get into the end zone of happier customers. Getting through the pain of the practice video will improve your selling process and get you into the end zone of additional gross profit.

Getting through the pain of the shop visits will improve your overall operations and get you into the end zone of improved efficiency.

Happier customers, additional gross profit, and improved efficiency would be the result of you becoming a better version of yourself. 


So, there you have it. The lobster can’t grow without first experiencing pain. If you focus on what’s on the other side of the pain, you will grow into a better version of yourself, and experience the results that come with it.

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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.