Tightrope walking
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SONNY's Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Tightrope walking

Did you ever go to the circus as a kid and see the tightrope walker? You know, the daredevils that walked on a rope, high above the crowd without a net? Sometimes they use a pole to help them keep their balance. Other times, it’s just them, their feet and the rope. One wrong move, and their lives could be altered forever.

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Yet, they perform every night with unwavering focus and discipline and probably don’t give the death-defying risks much thought. 

How about you? Are you walking a tightrope and teetering to keep the balance of your personal life with your professional life? If you make one wrong move in either direction will your life be altered forever? Do you give the risks much thought?

Our industry is moving at breakneck speed these days. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind.

The temptation of the potential financial rewards can be mesmerizing. I get it. However, as the old saying goes, “Something’s got to give.” So, what must give? Is it family life? Favorite hobbies? Health? All the above? Being successful doesn’t just mean making a lot of money.


To perform at your best balance is essential, not just for physical health, but also for mental well-being. We can’t be “on” all the time without something having to give. Put it in carwash context. Your equipment can’t run 24/7. You must stop to do some maintenance too. Even that rabbit on the battery commercial will fail at some point.

If we’ve met, you know I’m what’s considered a “Boomer” (yep, I’m that old). Folks of my generation were brought up to believe work always came before family because without work, we couldn’t afford family.


That led a lot of my generation to have some regret as we missed out on milestones in our family’s lives because we were so wrapped up in work. Had I known then what I know now, I may have made some different decisions. I could have balanced the work/life tightrope better.

A few hours off on a Saturday to attend a family function is not a sign of weakness, and the cost to your business will most likely be minimal. Taking the time off that your company gives you each year should not make you feel guilty. Leaving work to attend that ball game or dance recital is worth it. I guarantee you, the work you left behind will still be there when you get back.


I was lucky to remain in relatively good health throughout my career (a few manufactured body parts being the exception). A couple of my friends have not been as fortunate. These guys burned it at both ends for years. Never slowing down. Rarely taking care of themselves. Where did it get them? Emergency heart surgery! What good does all the money do if you’re not around to enjoy it?

I believe it was the great scholar and philosopher Ferris Bueller who once was quoted saying, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


The bottom line is that most people — just like carwash equipment — need a healthy mix of productive activity and downtime to function at optimum levels. Find some balance. Plan time off and take it. Stick around to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Live life long enough to be a burden to your kids if you have any.

Even the acrobat walking the tightrope gets an occasional night off.

All the best!

Bob Fox is VP of Sonny’s CarWash College and an industry veteran of 37 years. You can reach Bob at [email protected]

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