First things first, Happy New Year to you all. Here’s hoping it’s a positive one for all of us, full of innovation, support, positivity and success. And here’s wishing you all the best. It’s become a staple of our celebrations as the clocks strike midnight on the 31st December, to mark the New Year with new resolutions. However, more often than not, these resolutions will focus on things you shouldn’t do, actions and habits to give up, and generally cutting out things that are bad for you. Of course there is nothing wrong with this in principle, but I can’t believe any of us are without sin when it comes to enjoying or carrying out actions and habits that we know full well are detrimental to our own healthy living, or that of others! However, perhaps it’s time we looked ahead in a more positive and upbeat way. I’d like to challenge you to come up with five things you should do in 2018; things that begin “I will…” rather than “I won’t…”. After all, it’s a lot easier to achieve goals and improve yourself when they’re positive in nature, rather than negative from the outset. Negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity.

Here are just a few ideas to get your grey matter working:

● I will attend a conference or exhibition to broaden my awareness and my horizon.
● I will join, or be a more prominent member of a local driving instructor association.
● I will increase my prices at least once this year, if not twice, to benefit from the demand for my skills and positively reflect the high standard of my work.
● I will expand my knowledge and/or skills by completing a training course relevant to my career.
● I will read, network or go online to research alternative strategies and methods for my teaching style and business organisation, trying new things and becoming better informed to make more productive decisions.

Junctions Ahead

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more open to change. It is so easy for all of us to become set in our ways and hardened to new ideas as we get older. Routine and habit are necessary in our very busy, stressful and hectic lives to ensure we can get the the basics covered, and there’s also a psychological value in sticking with what we know; remaining within our comfort zone, reducing the stress and remaining confident. But I’m pledging to strive for continual improvement as I get older and the years pass faster, and that starts this year. I want to be further ahead and achieving more by this time next year, and I won’t accomplish that goal if I play safe and stay still. Where’s the fun in standing in the same spot and watching the rest of the world pass you by and leave you behind? This can only benefit my business too, because my eyes will be open to new ideas, concepts and methods that I would’ve too easily dismissed out of hand last year. It’s imperative in business growth that you make informed decisions about the options available, that you are open to new initiatives, even if you decide to stick with your current methods having done that research. There is always inherent value in fully understanding the pros and cons of the alternatives, even if it simply reinforces your current stance, and it may stimulate new thoughts and ideas going forward that are worth researching and sounding out.

Take the Exit

It’s easy for all of us to sit back on our laurels, become complacent and lose the sharpness of thinking and design that got us where we are, and which can propel us further ahead. In this industry, where we spend so much time working on our own, it is easy to become stale; same old lessons, same old routes, same old outcomes. If that’s enough for you, that’s absolutely fine, but the problem tends to be that your satisfaction with your work, as well as that of customers, ebbs away. Monotony needn’t be the norm, especially with a world of knowledge out there at your fingertips, and help at the end of the phone, from new teaching methods, marketing makeovers, training in different vehicles, helping with special needs… a list of endless possibilities. Or, become a greater part of the instructor community by joining a local or national association, and make a real difference to your profession. Or expand your business by forging a consortium, or new driving school with other local instructors. Why not diversify into PDI training to create the next generation of driving instructors based on your own knowledge and values?

Full Speed Ahead

All this is possible in 2018 if you want to spread your wings and fly. The emergence of the Internet means instant answers to virtually every conceivable question. There’s no excuse for not knowing or for blindly assuming things. Just Google it (other search engines are available, of course!). The industry has enough naysayers, those who love to moan and criticise from their car seat, or test centre waiting rooms, but aren’t willing to get involved, roll up their sleeves and make a difference. Like the driving test itself, little has changed in over 80 years. But even the test has changed gear recently, so why don’t you too? The New Year is a new opportunity, and we can
really help make the difference by broadening our grip and extending our reach, helping us all realise new opportunities while steerin us toward new destinations.

Dan hill –