Is your business purring along like a Ferrari... or limping along like an old clunker?

Like the rest of you, periodically my business like my car, requires some routine servicing. During my most recent visit to my neighborhood car care center, I found myself engaged in a thought process about the very nature of getting my oil (and filter) “changed”.

Why do any of us actually need to get our oil changed? I have obviously been watching too many oil company commercials on television... as I quickly began relating to myself about how the ”viscosity” of the oil breaks down with time, friction and the heat of the internal combustion engine.

After getting past that initial moment of finding a bit of humor in myself, I realized that this was a subject worthy of greater understanding.

The key point of comprehension is that when oil loses its viscosity... the oil has actually lost its “integrity”, “effectiveness” and the resultant “ability” to perform the job that it was designed to do.

In like fashion, the oil filter’s job is to filter out the “impurities” and dirt that can further contribute to the break down of the engine oil, the engine’s overall “performance” and the all important fuel “efficiency”.

Perhaps you can already see where I’m going with this scenario. As human beings, we face the exact same problem every single work day. When confronted with the heat and stress of the daily battle of business, in the form of stiff competition, pressure, deadlines and the like... we in similar fashion, often compromise our “integrity”, lose “effectiveness”, become “inefficient” and falter in our follow through to do the job to the “best of our ability”.

When faced with the real stresses of business and life, not only do we fail to breathe deeply... we also fail to “think” deeply and often waiver in the decision making process of taking the right action. Thereby limiting or negating our own “creativity”. The simple fact is, that we are far more capable of breaking down in the face of pressure, than we are most often willing to admit.

Like the vehicle’s oil filter, the “impurity” of our stressed actions can ultimately cost us dearly. Failing to pay attention to important details, cutting corners to meet looming deadlines, not getting back to our customers in a timely fashion, all carry a very real price tag.

Now, I ask you to take a moment to consider the following perspectives about “change”:

We regularly do change the oil in our cars and trucks.
We change our clothes.
We change light bulbs.
We change the baby’s diapers.
We change ink cartridges in our printer.
All too often, we change our mind.
And much more...

The reality is that we deal with many forms of “change” in our lives each and every day... and we don’t think twice about it. We simply and routinely perform these ordinary tasks of “change” on a daily basis. So, the BIG question is... “why” is it that when we are confronted with having to make important and significant changes in our businesses, careers and lives... that we fail to embrace the process of change?

There are times when we simply need to change the wind in our sails (attitudes). Instead, we tend to act in a manner which is contrary and inconsistent with the way that we handle change in lesser arenas of life in an ongoing basis.

So take a moment, to take in a slow deep breath and then be brutally honest with yourself:

What really needs to change in your life?
What is the one thing that you absolutely have to change?
How long have you been putting it off?
What are the excuses that you’ve been making?
What is the “cost” if you fail to change?
Where is it that you need help?

When you’ve appropriately answered yourself, then consider what actions you need to initiate:

Are you due for an oil (business/life) change?
Do you need an attitude “tune-up” to get back up to speed?
Perhaps some “metal” work at the body shop?
Or... are you in urgent need of an engine (life) over haul?

Why keep spitting and sputtering down the road of life... when you are capable of so much more?

Take the time to get that much needed attitude adjustment, some positive behavior change, a goals tune-up and then enjoy your improved effectiveness and MPG (Motivation, Performance and Goals achievement).


Develop forward, execute right action and take your business and life to the next level!

Copyright © 2008 Executive Coaching International / Thomas H. Swank, DBC. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Swank is a highly respected Developmental Business Coach and Motivational Speaker. Mr. Swank is the Founder and President of Executive Coaching International, which is known for the development of “High Performance People and Organizations”. Tom is recognized as an expert in the field of “business and personal improvement”, as well as a contributing author by, the number one ranked website for personal improvement. He is also a contributing author to the number one ranked website for small business and entrepreneurs, Evan Tom’s articles are also regularly featured on

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