There are many commonalities between the homeless living on Skid Row, the mediocre, and the successful. Each may have received a low or high-degree of education. Each may have been born into a humble or affluent family. And the universal commonality: each has been knocked down many times in life. The homeless man has given up; the mediocre seeks safety and security to avoid being knocked down again; and, the successful takes risks and keeps getting back up!

When you truly get to know, and understand, the most successful men and women in the collision repair industry, you may be surprised to learn how many struggles they too have been through to get where they are today. The big difference is how they view struggle.

Life gives us tremendous blessings every day called “problems”. Sure, on the surface, problems seem more like, well, a problem. However, while we usually don’t like them, how they are acknowledged makes a world of difference in one’s ability to succeed to the highest levels.

The unsuccessful man encounters a problem, and says, “Well, I won’t try that again!” The successful man says, “Well, that wasn’t very fun, but what can I learn from this to do better next time?”

The unsuccessful woman says, “Oh, gee, what have I done to deserve this struggle?” The successful woman says, “I won’t pretend this struggle is fun; but I honor it, and know it is necessary to grow to my next level of success.”

Some of the world’s best collision repairers also take a different stance on failures from an operational standpoint. Great companies like Toyota have taught us that exposing problems and system failures should be viewed as a positive, not a negative. Those who are diligent about continuous improvement know that you cannot improve flawed processes unless the flaws are first exposed. The same can also be said about improving one’s self. Unfortunately, most shops’ cultures do not allow for this positive attitude towards failure; instead, they follow a “try everything in our power to cover up problems” approach.

Those who are stuck in the victim zone are rarely open-minded enough to take such a constructive approach to improvement. A great deal of self-confidence is required to be proactive in problem solving. It requires a willingness to set ego aside long enough to discover the areas of opportunity in either one’s self or their business.

I have found that those who do this the best seem to have an advanced sense of curiosity. They are always on the lookout for ways to improve themselves and their business. This curiosity takes precedence over the need to impress everyone; in fact, some of the most successful people I have met are almost self-deprecating at times. They often speak of how much they still need to learn and improve even though they are already miles ahead of the competition!

In our book, The Secrets of America’s Greatest Body Shops, you will hear the stories of real people. They are a testament to the fact that with the right mindset, anything becomes possible in life and business.

There is no doubt that the collision repair business is not for the faint of heart; it can be a very tough business and requires an amazing level of persistence and grit to be successful. With all the challenges we face, we can no longer afford to approach our work with a negative mindset and expect a positive outcome. The great news is, anyone can change their mindset by first learning to simply become aware of their current thinking habits. As the great Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!”