As soon as the sun arose, I forced my tired body out of the bed. That day I had plans to take on a task I had never done before. I was on a mission to become one of the do it yourself people. A recent trip to buy a new tire inspired me to try some things on my own to save some money. I needed a wheel hub replacement and Firestone was happy to charge me $384 plus tax to do it. However, after visiting ebay I realized I could get the same part for $30 and according to you tube videos I could complete the job in less than 2 hours.
I had the parts for months. They were just sitting in the closet collecting dust. My trip to Autozone awarded me all the heavy equipment I needed through their tool loan program. Those tools had been in the trunk of my car for a few months as well. Being tired of procrastinating and scared that my tire would fall off of my car while I was driving in it, I made the commitment to get the job done. The job was simple and consisted of the following steps:
- Remove the Axle Nut
- Loose Tire and Place on Car on Jack Stands
- Remove the Tire
- Loose Brake Caliper Bolts and Hang Caliper from Shocks
- Remove the Rotor (slides right off)
- Remove 3 Screws Holding Wheel Hub in Place
- Unfasten ABS Plug
- Pull off Old Wheel Hub and Replace with New
I could do the entire process in my sleep. At least that is what I thought.
The Pursuit of Achieving My Goal
After getting my son off to school, I began the process with the Mrs. by my side for moral support. I grabbed the axle socket and the large breaker bar I loaned from Autozone and easily unscrewed the Axle Socket. (A breaker bar is just a large heavy wrench that makes taking off socket screws easier.) It took me 3 minutes. Next I unloosened the tire lug nuts, jacked the car up on the jack stands, and removed the tire. That took 5 minutes. The next step in the process was to remove the two screws from the brake caliper. I grabbed the 15 mm socket wrench and gingerly tried to twist the first lug nut off. It didn’t budge. Naturally, I re-adjusted my body and came the second time around with a lot more force.
The socket slipped off of the nut and sent my hands moving quickly towards the sharp edge of the shock. It was too late to avoid it. This action caused me a peel a huge chunk of skin off of my thumb because I didn’t have on any gloves. Determined not to be a fool again I decided, after my wife cleaned up my bloody finger, that I would go and buy a pair of mechanic gloves and get a small breaker bar to loosen the nuts. I jump in the car and off I go to Autozone to loan the necessary part.
A Goal Delayed
As I walk in the door the guy behind the desk sees the bandage on my hand and chuckles under his breath. “Let me guess you need some gloves don’t you?” My pride wanted to tell him that I didn’t need no stupid gloves. I am just here to get a small breaker bar. Unfortunately the throbbing pain in my hand forced me to smile and say, “Yes I do, in which isle are they located and can I borrow a small breaker bar?” I quickly come to find out that this store does not have a small breaker bar for loan purposes. In fact, this location did not even have one available for purchase. I pay for my gloves and head off to the next close automotive hardware store to buy a breaker bar.
Finally back home with the necessary parts, I put on my gloves, go outside with my breaker bar, and get ready for round two with the brake caliper sockets. I grab my 15 mm socket and stick it on the end of my breaker bar and something doesn’t seem right. The part that connects the breaker bar to the socket is too small. I think to myself, I know I just didn’t buy the wrong part. The Mrs. is smiling from ear to ear enjoying every moment of me looking lost and confused because I had to do this myself. Instead of rushing back to the store to return the wrong part, I decided to call a different Autozone store to see if they have the part I needed to loan. I am always a fan of lending versus buying.
A Goal Delayed Even More
The Autozone confirms they have the small breaker bar I need and off I go to pick it up. I figured I would also grab a few more items that I might need while I was there. I get to the Autozone and let the representative know I am there to pick up the small breaker bar. They go in the back and bring out the exact same breaker bar I already have at the house. I wasted 20 minutes driving to this store that didn’t even have what I was looking for. Frustrated, I buy a few extra sockets just in case I strip the ones I have at home from all the force I would need to put behind them and head home.
Back under the jacked up car, I decide I will just use my original socket wrench and brute strength to get off the sockets from the brake calipers. I lock the socket wrench on the first one, grab it with two hands and twist using all of my body weight and arm strength. Right before I was about to pass out, I felt the screw slightly spin. At that point in time, I felt like I just hit the mega millions jackpot. After giving it everything I had, I finally got one of the two screws off. I duplicated the same process on the second one successfully. This took me 2 hours.
The Battle Against The Wrong Item
Now it was time to remove the caliper, I pulled and pulled and then the brake assembly (a part of the piece I was trying to remove) fell apart. As I stopped to try to figure out what happened, I realized I used all of my strength to remove two of the wrong screws. Luckily, the Mrs. had went in at this time and fell asleep watching TV. There were no witnesses. I reassemble the brake caliper and then spend the next 1 1/2 trying to take off the correct stubborn screws. Did I forget to mention it is 80 degrees outside and I am directly in the sun? Relieved, I remove the brake caliper, slide off the rotor and get down to the wheel hub assembly that needs to be replaced. There are just three screws keeping me from completing the task at hand.
To save you some time, I will make the end of this story very quick. I went back to Autozone approximately 3 more times to get additional tools. I sweated, strained every muscle in my body, and ruined a nice pair of gym shoes trying to get these last three screws off. I was successful at getting off one of them. 7 hours later, I decided to put the car back together and go in the house and take a nap. I spent an entire day trying to do something myself when I never really had the right tools to get the job done.
The 3 Elements of Achieving Goals
Many times people assume just knowing the right process to reach their goals is enough. Parents know in order to improve the behavior of their children they have to invest more time in their lives. Employees know in order to get a promotion they need to strive to be the best at what they do. Couples know they need to invest just as much in their relationships as they did when they first started dating. However, knowing is not enough.
Even the practical application of knowledge to our situations may not be all we need to get the job done. I displayed that from my experience above. Its not that I couldn’t do the job, I just didn’t have the tools necessary to make it easy.
From this experience, I learned a valuable lesson about life and chasing after goals. When it comes to going after the things we want, there are three elements to be successful. There is knowledge, practical application (action), and tools. Knowledge is the acquisition of information required to complete a task or reach a goal. Practical application is putting the knowledge to work in the form of action. Tools are the equipment or processes used to make completing the task easier.
When these three are combined the result is an explosive amount of productivity and efficiency.
Achieving Goals Requires The Right Tools
As we go through our lives it is important that we understand and use these three elements to accomplish our goals. If we only use two out of the three, we will end up wasting valuable time that we could spend improving some other aspect of our lives. To reach our goals and accomplish our dreams, we can’t focus on learning the process and not spending time learning about the tools that could make it easier.
Today, I challenge you to spend some time determining what tools exist and how can you use them to reach your goals faster. Don’t spend 7 hours under a car, when it should only take you 2. I know you have what it takes to reach your goals. Now we can work together to find a way to reach them faster.