Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Move from Excuses to Excellence

“There is nothing either good or bad. Thinking makes it so.”William Shakespeare

Do your results at the shop depend on external events? As I ponder this question, I’m reminded of a story I shared in a previous post about this single father with two young sons.

The father was laid off from his job and struggling to make ends meet. After several months of unemployment, he became desperate and robbed the local convenience store.

The father was arrested and sentenced to twenty years in prison. The two boys were separated from each other and placed in the foster care system.

Fifteen years later, a news anchor got wind of the story and decided to check in to see how the boys were doing. The youngest son had become a drug addict who was always in trouble with the law. The older son had become a successful entrepreneur and community activist.

The reporter met with the boys separately and asked them both the same question: “Why do believe you turned out the way you did?”

They both had the same reply: What else would you expect with a father like that? The boys got different results, even though they experienced the same event. But why?

The Bridge

It’s the same reason that you and that owner in your 20 Group can get different parts margin results even though your customers have the same median income.

It’s the same reason that you and that owner you met at the SuperConference can have different car count results even though you both share the experience of being in a small town.

You both are experiencing the same event, but one of you is making excuses while the other is achieving excellence. You bring a different perspective to the shared experience.

Your perspective is the bridge that can take you from excuses to excellence. Which side of the bridge are you on? defines perspective as a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something. 

For example, when you watch the news and the reporter interviews two people who witnessed an accident, they usually mention a different account of the same accident. Their individual beliefs have shaped the way they regard the event.

Here’s the bottom line: If your beliefs about your situation, your shop, or yourself aren’t moving you closer to your goals, then a change of perspective is in order. When your perspective lines up with your goals, it becomes the bridge that takes you from excuses to excellence.

The Question

I spoke with two shop owners this past week, “Tom” and “Todd.” Tom ranked in the ATI Top 25 for 2017, while Todd has a negative gross profit dollar lift average for the year.

Both told me how their vendors were saying that the entire area was slow. Both mentioned that their competitors were complaining about their bays being empty.

Tom experienced a record-setting week in mechanical sales and gross profit, while Todd blamed his local economy for his subpar performance. Why did they get different results despite experiencing similar slowness?

As Tom was going through his experience, he asked himself the following question, “What can I do differently?”

When you’re faced with a problem, like low sales or low car count, ask yourself the previously mentioned question until you can come up with eight different options to overcome the issue. 

Doing this will change your perspective and cause you to move from excuses to excellence.


So, there you have it. Embracing the right perspective will move you from excuses to excellence. Asking the right question will position you to experience profits while others are complaining about problems. What else would you expect with a mindset like that?

P.S. I have a Perspectives Tool that can help you to identify eight different options to overcome your most pressing problem. Email if you would like a copy.

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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.