We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Ryan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance. I am not a fan of using that word in this sense. To me, it infers getting too far in any direction is a negative thing, and then there is failure associated with it. I prefer to call it a work-life blend, and everything comes in seasons. This week may be a big week at work, my business may have a particular event or numerous things going on that require more of my attention. That attention is being pulled from somewhere else in my life, which could have a negative effect on myself or those close to me. Next week or month my business may be moving along nicely, and I can take a step or two back giving me the ability to enjoy other aspects of my life, pouring back into my family and personal needs. This is not a pass-fail or balanced-unbalanced at any given time but an evolution, constantly moving and changing…a blend. Being aware of your current blend is important. How is my business, job, or career doing? Am I taking care of myself? Am I being a good husband and father? Focusing too much on one will likely cause the others to suffer if it goes on for too long. I think we have all been in a position where we go too far in any direction thus neglecting the others. I have in the past, and it may happen again. But being self-aware, blending them together in a healthy manner, and readjusting when needed has been critical to my overall happiness.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Team Ryan Automotive is our family-owned automotive service and repair facility. We are proud to bring a level of compassion and understanding to this industry that has not been typical in recent years. Auto repair is a service industry, and it can be easy to completely focus on the service being performed while forgetting about the people. Start with taking care of your employees. If someone genuinely enjoys coming into work and feels their contributions make a difference, then you will get the best of that person every day. Next, take care of your vendors. Your vendors are made up of people, and if you treat them well, they will take care of you. This allows a company to provide that much better service to their customers. And finally, take care of your customers. Create a culture that is customer-focused, live it, and breathe it every day while taking care of the people throughout the process. Do this and a great overall experience will just happen…for everyone. Starting a business is never easy; if it were then everyone would do it. I believe there are two critical elements that have allowed us to get this far. Grit and perspective. Making difficult decisions and doing what needs to be done is where grit comes into play. This does not mean doing these things when it is convenient or easy, it means doing them every time and all the time. Equally important is having and maintaining a healthy perspective. Understanding that as we grow as individuals and as a business our problems will grow with us. Be thankful you are experiencing the problems in front of you because this means you are growing. Embrace whatever the situation is and apply some of that grit to get through it. It was not until I made the jump from an automotive technician to a business owner that I realized the true complexity of people. Cars are easy, they do not talk back. People all have their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The single most rewarding thing for me personally throughout this entrepreneurial journey has been my growing understanding of people. Most importantly, focusing on and cultivating my own emotional intelligence. This has allowed me to be a better husband, father, leader to my team, and a better person overall. The work will never be complete, and that is very exciting to me.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my wife. Without her, I have no idea where I would be in life. Her patience, support, understanding, and pushing (somehow always at the right times) has been critical to my individual success and our success as a couple. With the recent addition of our first son, she continues to amaze me with what she can accomplish.