Ever felt you were spiraling down and hoping you don’t catch your boss on a bad day for fear he might tear into you for poor performance or just fire you on the spot?

Dealership finance and insurance managers have all been there, feeling as if we’ve lost the passion and the drive to perform our jobs effectively. Nothing we say to our customers will influence them to buy our products. All the energy to care has been zapped.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s possible to change your fortune for the better. If you feel you’ve lost your desire to make a difference but you’re still willing to do what it takes to snatch it back from defeat, keep reading.

The business of F&I is tough as nails. Not everyone has what it takes to outlast the rest of the pack. In moments of desperation, some pull out for another job in the industry. Or take a different job at another dealership. Others bail out of the car business altogether.

This is a tough call, especially if you’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed. But instead of making a premature exit, first consider your options. If you resolve to regroup, it’s entirely possible to pull yourself up and position yourself for success you never even dared dream possible.

Here’s how to get started.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Never mind it’s still winter. Some things can’t wait. Purge yourself of all the junk that’s been piling up on your desk and obscuring your view for the better part of the last decade.

Settle back and focus your mind. Find a time of day when you can actually do this, a time when you’re not so knee-deep in customer deliveries that you can’t think straight. If it takes sitting down at your desk at the crack of dawn before work, consider it an investment of time you won’t regret.

Flex Your Writing Muscles

Next, try this exercise. Bust out a notebook and put pen to paper. Write down all of your significant accomplishments in one column. In a second column, write all of the goals you still wish to accomplish. You may find your accomplishments outweigh aspirations. If so, give yourself a deserved pat on the shoulder.

Then look at the things you have yet to accomplish. Think hard about the things you feel are standing in the way of positive change in your professional life. Instead of beating yourself up over your failures, learn to identify the things that have stood in the way. Write them down. Putting it in black and white is an effective way of identifying the needed changes in your life.

When you’ve identified these roadblocks – be they your lackluster performance, poor communication with your boss, contract-in-transit errors, challenges with bank guidelines, sales training, relations or service retention – then it’s time to dig out that old tried but true training manual.

Back to the Drawing Board

Once you’ve got that training manual before you, don’t just stare at it. Actually read it, cover to cover. Commit to reading as much as you can on a daily basis. Just because it may be 100 years old doesn’t mean there’s not practical information contained within.

Giving yourself a ground-up refresher might just remind you of effective techniques you used in the past but have forgotten.

Harken back to the time when you first got started in F&I. Remember being excited about the prospects?

Feeling challenged by the idea of showing the team how incredibly capable you were?

Being able to put together tough deals and showing everyone what being a pro was all about?

These things don’t have to be relegated to the glory days. If you can identify the actions you would have taken in the beginning of your F&I career to ensure your success, all that’s left to do is to take the initiative and do them.

I’ll be back soon with tips on the following: how to make things right again, the habits of successful professionals and how to harness the tide.

Rebecca Chernek heads Chernek Consulting. Websites chernekconsulting.com and chernekconsultingvirtualpro.com feature an F&I interactive training platform. Her seminar on subprime success is in Atlanta on April 7 and 8. She is at becky@chernekconsulting.com