Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Secret to Avoiding Your Biggest Regret

“We’re not on this stage because of talent and ability. We’re up here because of 4am!”Kobe Bryant

What is your biggest regret as a shop owner?

As I ponder this question, I’m reminded of an interview I watched with basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

The reporter asked him if he regretted the fact that he fell short of winning six NBA championships like his idol Michael Jordan.

After all, Kobe finished his career with “only” five championships rings. (That’s like making the ATI Top 12 “only” five times!)

His response grabbed my attention:

“I have no regrets because I know that I did everything humanly possible to be ready every single night! I can retire in peace.”

Are you doing everything humanly possible, or will you look back with regrets?

Consider this:

When you look back on your time at the shop, you’ll regret the actions you failed to take more than your failed attempts at achievement.

Keep reading to discover how you can avoid this level of regret.

Ideas to grow your businessWant tips for how to improve processes, increase your bottom-line, and grow your shop? Discover valuable, easy-to-implement ideas and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events. Register today at

What’s Your Preference?

What If I showed up to your next 20 group meeting and asked the following question: “Raise your hand if you want to be recognized on stage with a plaque for being an ATI Top 12 Shop?”

I would see 20 hands in the air! (Even your “no-shows” would raise their hand!)

But what if I asked, “By a show of hands, who wants to spend 4% of their sales on marketing, conduct daily repair order audits, and have difficult conversations with irate customers on a regular basis?”

There would be a grand total of zero hands up in response to this question!

Therein lies the problem!

Most shop owners value the prize more than they do the process. What’s your preference?

ATI Fundamental #9 teaches us that strong processes are the foundation of success.

Here’s the big secret that can help you avoid your biggest regret: The process is the prize.

The Process is the Prize

The following example that was mentioned in a previous post will help you to recognize that the process is the prize.

In his book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller writes about a study that was conducted of 262 college students who were preparing for a final exam. The students were split into two groups.

Group #1 was told to visualize the result they expected to achieve on the test. An example of the desired result would be getting an “A.”

Group #2 was instructed to visualize the process needed to achieve the desired outcome. They focused on things like how often they would study and how long their sessions would last.

Which group do you think performed better? If you chose group #1, my biggest regret as a coach is the fact that we disagree!

The students in group #2, who focused on the process performed better across the board than those focused on the prize. They started earlier, studied longer, and got better grades!

The starting earlier and studying longer was the true prize. What’s possible if you commit to starting earlier and studying your ATI class takeaways longer?

These habits can result in you being surrounded by “A” players in an “A” level business!

Now that we understand that the process is the prize, we can focus on making this work at your shop.

The Process at Your Shop

Instead of just wishing for more cars, focus on the process of scheduling exit appointments!

Instead of just hoping for the right “A” technician, focus on the process of “always be hiring” even when you’re fully staffed! (BTW, hope is NOT an effective strategy!)

Instead of just wanting more money in the bank, focus on the process of updating and staying in compliance with your 5-year budget!

Just wishing, hoping, and wanting success isn’t enough. You must focus on the process with the eye of the tiger!


So, there you have it. Kobe’s level of contentment with his career proves that the real prize is the process.

You may fall short of winning six ATI Top Shop plaques, but you can retire in peace, knowing that you did everything humanly possible to be ready every single day!

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.