Our One and Only Is Your Body's "Check Engine" Light On?

There’s a topic that isn’t usually covered in business school or in sales training, but this factor can impact every step we take in our career at our dealerships: our physical and mental health. 

In the day-to-day operations of leading our teams, serving our customers and building our dealerships, taking care of our health can often come in second place, or ignored completely. If we want to be effective in our efforts, however, dealing with health challenges will sap our energy and leave us with less to work with. 

One of my Theory of 5 mentors shared a mental exercise with me years ago that has stuck with me all this time. Imagine if, as a 16-year-old, a wealthy person came up to you and said, “Hey, listen. I’m going to buy you a new car — any new car you want. Price is no issue. Say the word, and it’ll be in your driveway tomorrow.”

Sounds like a great deal, right? Well, there’s one catch, the wealthy person says: “That’s the only vehicle you are going to have for the rest of your life.”

Knowing that, think for a moment about how you would take care of that vehicle. 

Would you make sure the car had proper maintenance? Would you ensure that the fluids stayed topped off, the tires were rotated on time every time and everything else you could do to keep that vehicle on the road was done? If the “check engine” light came on, would you ignore it or would you take it into the garage to see what was going on?

We’d do all these things to keep our “forever” car in top condition, but we so often ignore warning signs our body gives us, and neglect the activities that will keep us in shape, ready to take on the challenges of our lives. 

Reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, lower quality of work, a lack of enjoyment in performing in our chosen profession — these are all symptoms of a lack of focus on our physical and mental wellbeing. 

If there was a chance our vehicle regularly just wouldn’t start on given days — that we wouldn’t be able to rely on it — we wouldn’t hesitate to take it in for servicing and see what was wrong. 

So, how should we take care of our “one and only” body? 

Preventative maintenance — just as we take our vehicles in for milestone milage checks, we should prioritize preventative healthcare appointments such as annual physicals, dental cleanings and other activities to make sure everything is proceeding normally, and head off potential problems before they take root.

Proper fuel — We wouldn’t put kerosene in our vehicle’s fuel tank and expect everything to operate normally. It might run for a second, but the damage is going to be severe. It’s the same thing with our bodies. If we fuel our bodies with a balanced diet, we’ll be using high-quality fuel for our own longevity and performance.

Roadwork — If we park our car and don’t drive it for weeks, months or years, it’s not going to run when we need it to. Its tires, hoses and other components will deteriorate through disuse. Our bodies are much the same as our vehicles in this way. If we don’t exercise and move, our muscles and joints will not respond the way we want them to when we need them to. We need to run our bodies — we need to move — to keep them in top form. 

Onboard computer care — We should maintain our mental well-being through stress management techniques, self-care practices, and seeking professional help when needed, just as we would address any unusual noises or performance issues in your car. Ignoring a problem usually won’t make it go away; it often allows it to go deeper and become more damaging.

Schedule and track — Consistent effort over time is key to maintaining a healthy body and mind, just as consistent care is essential for keeping a car in top condition for years to come. It takes a lifelong commitment to our health and fitness, because that’s how long we need our bodies to last.

If we had one vehicle that had to last for the rest of our lives, we’d keep it clean — we’d keep it spotless — because we loved it and depended on it. That’s no different from our health and fitness. We’ve got to maintain our bodies and minds the same way.

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