Sep 1, 2020 | Industry

By Sandy Blalock • ARA Executive Director

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” 

Amelia Earhart

What our industry and the world is facing today is not something most of us have ever faced in our lives. We have had a lot thrown at us in this first half of 2020 and with an uncertain future it sometimes appears that it’s never going to end. But this too shall pass, and our tenaciousness will get us through this too. Recyclers are a committed bunch that constantly fight for what we believe in and never give up on the fact that we have a right to do business just like everyone else. 

We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, then quickly get going again knowing we have learned a little more today than we did before this began. Tenacity is probably the single most important trait of an entrepreneur. It’s the person who never gives up – who never accepts “no” for an answer.

I’ve heard many stories from recyclers on how they adapted to this new environment and am always impressed with how open to new ideas everyone of you are because you want to keep learning and building your businesses. As leaders, tenacity allows us to seek new opportunities, then lead our teams towards a new purpose even if that means taking a completely different path than you were on before all this began.

Tenacity is being flexible, not being stubborn, because it allows you to change your views and adjust your route. Take a look around you and always remember ideas do not work in isolation. Communicate with your team and know when to share your vision. Once you have made a decision on the direction you plan to take, be crystal clear about what the purpose of your actions and the expected outcome.

For instance, is your new purpose or plan focused on company growth and employee security and wellbeing? Remember to be flexible but clear about what your purpose is in making changes. 

Don’t be afraid to address contrary views of your plan and remember to listen and learn. Sometimes we have to admit there may be better ideas that will help you get what you want sooner and easier. Always keep in mind the benefits of what you plan and remember you can inspire your team to see your vision if you have built the trust that is so important for every successful organization. We can focus on the fears that come up and let them drown us, preventing us from stepping forward and acting. Don’t let procrastination and excuses be your protector from all of your fears. Focus on all of the possibilities that could become a reality if you just stick to your plan and keep taking steps forward one day at a time.

Keep focused on your “why,” because tenacity is about acting with a strength of purpose. There are many ways you can train your brain to focus on the positive outcomes that you are striving to achieve. Where is the vision for your business on display in your workplace? Think about using vision boards or making sure that you verbalize your ideas with your team. Delegating tasks among employees, asking for help from neighbors or friends when you need it, or even leaning on them when you are feeling down, and talking through your concerns. We all have people on whom we can rely to help when we need it most, sometimes the hardest part is putting up our hand to ask for it.

Tenacity will help you face the challenge because without challenge how do we learn to adapt in order to succeed. Always, look beyond an obstacle and treat it as an opportunity to improve. Never stop learning and never stop yearning to face every challenge head on with purpose and drive to seek out solutions.

Reach Sandy Blalock at sandy@a-r-a.org. Share your thoughts pertaining to the advancement of professional automotive recycling. Your letter could be published in an upcoming issue.

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