Secret To Success

There’s No Magic Fix

The secret to success? There is no magic fix and often the answer isn’t glamorous, but regardless of what you’ve been told, there is no secret to success. It is obvious that hard work, driven progressively in the same direction, will get the job done. Don’t fall for the easy fix because all you will end up with is something that is not worthy of your mission. Set your goals for what you need to achieve and plot out your plan on how to get there with success. Stumble, and you will, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back at it. No one succeeds without first failing and that is a truth you can take to the bank.

I often tell people when consulting with them that I really am not a genius, I have just failed at a lot of things in my many years. The real secret I learned was to not stop trying until I succeeded. What is counterproductive is failing to learn from each failure as you will doom yourself to more failure.

What Is Success?

Success has many meanings to each of us and we should never measure our success against that of others. Set your own goals in life and be content to live up to only who you are and what you consider success. Plan to succeed and you will, fail to plan and you will fail. I like to tell people to write your plan out and use it often as your guide. We all need checks and balances to keep us focused so find a way to make that part of your plan. Don’t be content to just reach simple goals put yourself out there, dream big and take chances. Yes, you may fail but learn from it and move forward.

Often it’s not easy to see where you fit in, but it is clear where you don’t, so start with that. When you feel it’s a bad fit, move on quickly. There’s no time to waste. If you try something and it’s obviously not going to work out, don’t keep fighting upstream, cut the line and get over it. Trust your innate instincts and don’t second guess yourself, you are the master of your destiny. Seek advice but know what direction you want to go before implementing any of the advice. Our industry is so unique and there are many experts out there to help you get there, but there is no one fit for all. You are unique and so is your business model, that’s what is so fantastic about automotive vehicle recycling. In the end what your measurement of success is certainly may not be the next person’s perspective.

Strength In Numbers

One of the strengths of any business is the dynamics of your team. The truly strong teams are diverse in all aspects and that should be your primary goal. A homogenous team could be what is holding your team and the growth of your company back. We must never stop bringing in new perspectives and backgrounds as this will be the strong catalyst for the kinds of discussions that generate fresh, new ideas that have shown to grow businesses.

Build your team by finding as many diversities as you possibly can. Diverse teams have a wide variety of perspectives and experiences that help enlighten and craft output. The value of diversity is that opposing opinions and viewpoints are often the bedrock of many strong concepts. Venting the diverse ideas may lead to conflict and postpone reaching consensus but at least you will assure your team’s ideas have gone through the wringer before reaching the light of day.

Make sure you are not afraid of hiring someone smarter than you because you will certainly fail if you don’t. You need people who can multi-task and cross train so you never find yourself without someone qualified to fill a vacancy if only for the short term. Now this is really important … YOU don’t have to like or understand everyone - it’s actually better if you don’t. A team of you-clones can’t accomplish anything beyond what you could do alone. I know we often wish we could clone ourselves but that is selfish and short sighted not to mention vain.

Talk It Out

Foster debate in the workplace that will fuel your “idea factory.” You may find yourself playing the devil’s advocate as the head of your team and the best way to foster this behavior is leading by example. Respectfully challenge prevailing opinions and offer viewpoints to stimulate your team, even if it is a straw man argument meant to strengthen your original idea. You will find it will help demonstrate the outcome you desire.

Never be afraid to acknowledge dissenting opinions because as your team begins to adopt ideas of their own, you must call attention to the fact they are contributing in a positive way. It will also assure they continue to speak up because they are not afraid to voice their perspective.

One of the most difficult things for most of us when faced with a dilemma or challenge is remaining calm but we must focus more on doing just that. Diverse views always have the potential to turn into an argument and you must protect yourself and your team against any damaging effects by projecting a relaxed demeanor during discussions. Don’t lose out on potential progress because you or someone on your team gets their feelings hurt and lose their desire to move forward.

Make sure before the debate that you have someone who assumes the role of the decision maker to keep the debate from going off track or continuing indefinitely. If no one is able to definitively make their case that person will step in, end the debate and finalize the decision. In lieu of this it might be preferable to set a deadline for forming a consensus.

If you find yourself not content maintaining your current pace, then you are ready to take a risk. Why creep along when you can fly? What would it take to launch you? You’ll get there faster and you’ll have a better view once you launch.

The countdown may have begun so be ready to blastoff to your next goal, your success and future are counting on you to be ready to recognize what you are willing to risk to achieve your dreams. Never stop believing and dreaming!

Sandy Blalock is an industry consultant and owner of Blalock Consulting, based in Edgewood, N.M. and also the executive director of the Automotive Recyclers of Indiana. Sandy is the former owner of Capo’s Truck & Auto Parts in Albuquerque and is an ARA past president. Contact her at

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