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The Mechanic’s Mentor – Success starts in the mind

By autotech-nath on December 11, 2022

The second article in an exclusive series where we look at how A&J Fleetcare are progressing on their mentoring journey with international bestselling small business author Dee Blick.

The saying, ‘you are what you think’ is apt when it comes to running your own business. The power of positive thinking can do wonders for your bottom line, not least by empowering you to make decisions and take calculated risks – confident you can do it. And so began my second mentoring session with Alan and Jeanette Landale, the directors of Leeds based A&J Fleetcare. I was keen to find out what they thought about their business and the concept of the success mindset – did they embrace it or were they allowing self-limiting beliefs to crowd their thinking? It turned out that both of them, despite being passionate about their business, were unwittingly stopping short of allowing themselves to dream big and to believe they had what it takes to be even more successful.

For Alan, his working-class upbringing and lack of performance at school were the main reasons why he felt unworthy of headlight success. Likewise, Jeanette, who is one of the fiercest customer care champions I’ve worked with, had self-doubts too. Both of them were shying away from dreaming big because they were letting ‘stuff ’ from the past get in the way of allowing themselves to think they not only deserved success, but they were more than capable of attaining it. They hadn’t stopped to look at how far they had come with their business on the smallest of budgets. That despite the global pandemic making trading tough they had taken the bold decision to move to a more centrally appointed location with more bays and a real chance of cracking some local fleet customers. Real entrepreneurial spirit on show, if proof were needed.

I had entered their business at just the right time because this session helped them to see what they had accomplished. It also gave them the impetus, or permission if you like, to change their thinking. We talked about self-limiting beliefs and how some experiences of the past can shape us in a positive way whereas others should be kicked to the kerb because they neither define nor help us. It mattered little how Alan had performed at school. What mattered now was how he and his team delivered a 100% first-time fix. Likewise, Jeanette, who didn’t need a string of qualifications to make customers feel happy, welcomed and reassured they were in the right hands.

Darren Darling conducts some on-site training at the workshop.

During this session we explored what success meant to them. For Alan, it was about being able to increase the investment in training and development and take on new apprentices. For Jeanette, it was about being able to focus wholeheartedly on the business and not allow herself to become distracted with family issues. Both agreed they wanted to build their fleet customer base and to maintain their customer retention rate, despite increasing their charges to reflect the high value services they were offering; and the hike in business running costs.

We concluded our second session with the four elements of success mindset, namely:

• Thinking about success so any self-limiting beliefs could be replaced with positive thoughts

• Talking about success – decanting thoughts into regular discussions to bring them to life

• Planning success – making a list of what they wanted to accomplish

• Actioning success – setting timescales to implement what they had planned and getting on with the task of ticking off completed actions one by one.

I’ve had some people tell me this amounts to common sense. My response? Common sense is in short supply. It’s definitely uncommon. How many of us step outside our daily routine to explore what’s holding us back and to lay bare our bold plans and dreams for the future? Not enough of us! It’s easier to go with what we’re doing day to day. And that’s no bad thing if we’re running a successful business. However, taking time out to reflect on how we think about ourselves, and where we would like to take our business, can only spur us on to accomplish even bigger and better things.

So, I’ll leave you with a few lines from an email Jeanette sent to me after our second session. They sum up what I hoped would happen.

“I feel so much more positive about our business and where we can take it under our own steam. Neither of us have ever spent time looking at our skills and abilities but I can see now that we deserve success because we work hard, and we do have what it takes to succeed. This isn’t something we acknowledged before we began our mentoring journey with you.”

Next month: Claiming your space as a time-served expert

You can get in touch with Dee at

Alan with DPF Doctor founder Darren Darling.


About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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