As I was talking to a dealer last week, he and his wife were lamenting on the mistakes they had made over the years in running their dealership and how they wished they could turn back the clock and have a do over.

While I am sure most of us in life would like to do some things differently, the reality of where we are at has to do more with the mistakes we made and the lessons learned from them than anything else in our lives.  As a dealer or manager it is important to understand that most of what you have learned in life and in running a dealership did not come from the successes you have had, but from the mistakes you have made and your willingness to learn a lesson from the mistake and then to continue to drive forward.

Mistakes are not a bad thing as some of my dealers believe, but a focal point that in most cases leads to success.  When you make a mistake, you learn what works and just as importantly what doesn’t work.   Mistakes force us to think outside the box we live in day to day and allow us to develop and use our creativity.  Mistakes are what toughens you up for the harder and more difficult battle ahead as you continue to push forward on your dreams. Mistakes create wisdom.  Once a mistake is made and you acknowledge it you are a wiser owner or manager because of the mistake than you would have been had you not made the mistake.

And lastly, I think the beauty of mistakes is the humbling effect they have our souls.  I don’t care who you are or where you have been, we have all made mistakes.  I have had more than my fair share, but I believe I am better at what I do in working with dealers because of the mistakes I have made than I would have been had I not made the decision that lead to a mistake.

Are mistakes costly and painful?  Sometimes, but I will always believe that we are better people because of the things we did wrong and learned from, rather that the things we did right and moved on from.  As you look back over the “what went right” and “what went wrong” in your dealership in 2019, take a moment, spend some time on the “what went wrong” decisions, embrace what you learned and leverage those decisions into a strong and profitable 2020.  Remember the only mistake that was a mistake, was the one that you didn’t learn and grow from.