Less than a month ago, I was fortunate enough to go on the trip of a lifetime — cruising through amazing European ports of call — Spain, France and Italy. One of the days at sea, en route to Venice, I decided to challenge myself and try something new that had a degree of difficulty built into it. I signed up to try my skills on the ship’s rock climbing wall.

Once I committed to this, there was certainly no turning back. So, when my name was called, I stepped up and accepted this self-imposed challenge, knowing it would be worth every step. After a quick safety briefing I was suited up with the proper harness and footwear, never losing sight of the goal — to successfully climb the rock wall, 40 feet above the ship’s deck. I figured from that unique vantage point, it would be therapeutic to take in the soothing sea air, enjoy a bird’s eye view of the deep blue, and then ring the bell when reaching the apex. I’m very happy to say, that I did indeed conquer the rock climbing wall with no problems, proudly rang the bell and repelled back down 40 feet onto the ship’s deck, knowing that I successfully completed my mission.

As I was walking away, a group of three women came up to me and asked me some questions, as they were nervous about doing the climb. They said they wanted to hear how it was from someone who just experienced it and would I mind staying there a bit longer, to encourage and support them as they nervously waited on line. I was happy to tell them how I approached the climb and how much fun it was. Before I knew it, I found myself in a position to lead by example, show encouragement, positivity and guidance. Without hesitation,  I decided to stay there and be this group’s “coach,” supervising them, helping them face their fears, keeping them focused on the goal — all key qualities necessary in an effective manager. These three ladies accomplished their goal with ease and thanked me for helping give them the much needed direction, encouragement and support. They said that I helped them gain the confidence in themselves and remained laser-focused to accomplish the task at hand.

These are all traits thoroughly discussed in the CarWash College Management Program. Whether you are in work mode or on vacation, valuing human relationships, showing support, teamwork, commitment, recognizing/nurturing human talent when you see it always applies. Equipping yourself with these characteristics will enable you to build the right team and cultivate long-term, productive employees which are essential when connecting with your customers on a deeper level, setting you apart from your competition.


Valerie Sanchez is the Marketing Communication Manager for Sonny’s The CarWash Factory, and an instructor in CarWash College, with over 10 years’ experience in print and digital communications, tradeshow management and in the hospitality industry. Valerie can be reached at [email protected]

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