Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Don’t Be Seduced by Success! Try This Instead

“Nothing fails like success. Because when you are at the top, it’s so easy to stop doing the very things that brought you to the top.”Robin Sharma

Imagine for a moment that you’re a NASA astronaut. Just being selected makes you a success, considering they only pick one person for every six hundred applications received.

The years of study, service, and sacrifice have finally paid off, and now it’s time for your mission.

You strap into your seat, adjust your gauges, and prepare for take-off. In your headset, you hear “five, four, three, two, one, liftoff!”

The rocket shoots in the air, and you are headed for the skies! But, before you reach outer space, you make a fateful decision.  

You decide to take your finger off the jets and start coasting, believing you have already made it to the next level.

Sadly, your miscalculation of how much momentum you need causes you to come crashing back to earth.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to reach your goals, improve your bottom-line, and grow your business in ATI’s shop owner events. Register at

Maintain Your Momentum

You may be thinking: “Thanks for sharing Twiggs, but what does this have to do with me?”

Like the astronaut, you’ve invested years of study, service, and sacrifice in getting where you are. You have profit in your pocket, and making payroll is no longer a problem.

According to a recent Forbes Magazine study, 67% of small business owners are either breaking even or losing money, so you’ve beaten the odds.

As a shop owner, you are flying higher than you ever thought possible. It’s easy to become seduced by success!

But here’s the big takeaway from the rocket illustration: You’re either pressing forward or plunging backward. 

Bad things happen when you take your finger off the jets. So, what can you do to maintain your momentum? First, don’t take off before I explain!

Play the “What If” Game

Back when I was a district manager, I recall experiencing a period of success that caused me to ease up.

I was winning awards because of our KPI rankings and was fully staffed in each location. Since I had the right people in place, I put my habits of running ads and visiting competitors on hold.

But everything changed when my best manager, who was running my most difficult location, handed me his resignation letter.

Because I had stopped searching and sourcing, it took six months to find a qualified replacement.

Thus, I had to spend more time at this location, which caused me to lose focus on the bigger picture.

This experience taught me to always play “the what if” game.

Every week, I asked myself the following question: “What if I lost my best manager tomorrow?” Answering this question every week kept me from getting comfortable and forced me to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Have you stopped searching and sourcing?

Here are some “what if” questions you can ask yourself to get back on track:

  • “What if my best technician never comes back from his lunch break today?”
  • “What if I experienced an emergency that forced me to be away from my shop for sixty days?”
  • “What if I lost my best and biggest fleet account?”

Playing the weekly “what if” game will motivate you to keep your finger on the jets!

Set 90-Day Stretch Goals

We use the benchmarks in the ATI portal to establish stretch goals. Then, every 90 days, we review your performance in comparison to these benchmarks.

I once had a client named “Kim,” and she was either meeting or exceeding her sales target every quarter.

I would suggest that we increase the goal, and she would always push back, saying the new target was too aggressive. Then, finally, after five minutes of debate, she would give in, and I would “raise the bar.”

We engaged in this healthy debate every quarter for two years until, one day, we realized she had doubled her weekly sales volume!

The debates ended as she looked at her completely green portal screen. However, having the stretch goal motivated Kim to keep reaching for the next level.

What Are You Reaching For?

I challenge you to establish three specific and measurable goals you expect to accomplish within the next 90 days. If you’re struggling to come up with goals, try beginning with the end in mind.

Here’s how it works: Imagine that it’s October of 2021, and you’re bragging about having the best quarter in the history of your business. 

During your conversation with your coach, you utter the following words: “We did it!”

What did you do? What three things would need to happen for you to feel this way?


So, there you have it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that playing the what-if game and setting 90-day stretch goals will help you to maintain your momentum and overcome the seduction of success.

I challenge you to keep reaching for the next level. You may not get to the moon, but stars will surround you!

Non-ATI Members: For more tips on achieving specific results and running a productive, profitable shop, check out our shop owner events at

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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.