Article

The Greatest Investment in the World

November 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ryan Linnehan - Also by this author

My father, John Linnehan, hosted the inspirational session at NABD this year, and the response has been amazing. He continues to receive positive comments about the presentation and has been asked several times to repeat what was shared that day. To that end, I’d like to share a few of the excerpts from his message and try to summarize the essence of the thoughts he expressed at the convention. If you would like to see the video of the entire presentation, including the moving and patriotic music, the entire 40-minute event can be viewed online at www.JohnLinnehan.com/inspirational.html.

John: We’ve learned a lot about ways to improve our business at this convention. We’ve heard about having better policies, procedures and systems, having high standards, and being a step above your competition, and I believe in all of that 100 percent. However, I also believe that we need to have the right priorities in our life and set proper goals, and then we need to execute them. As business people, we often let the urgent override the important. It’s hard because we are pulled in so many different directions, between work and charities and family. So we need to make priorities in our life and that’s what “The Greatest Investment in the World” is about.

I’ve been talking to a lot of people here this week, and we’re all looking for the same thing—a better standard of living, happiness, peace, to make more money, etc. To sum it up in one word: contentment and I can personally tell you that you can’t have it with the things of this world. I’ve driven fancy cars and flown on private jets. Those things can give you a moment of happiness, but those things fade. When I was 26 years old, I had everything this world can offer – money, new cars, a good business, boats, all the toys – but I didn’t have peace in my life. There’s only one place to get that, and that is by making the greatest investment of your life.

You know, there’s a lot of bad news out there—gas and heating oil prices are high, bankruptcies are on the increase, subprime mortgages are in crisis mode, the real estate market is oversaturated, upside-down customers are more prevalent, and so on. Several years ago, we had the “dot-com” collapse. Now, the subprime markets are tightening. Last year, over half of our business was special finance. But we’ve heard the word “change” a lot lately, and I’m here to tell you that is changing! We are making plans to do a lot more buy here pay here business immediately.

We are opening several new locations, and tapping into our lines of credit that we haven’t accessed in eight years to fund our expansion. Why are we doing this when all the news seems so bad? Because all of these obstacles and challenges that I’ve mentioned indicate to me there are tremendous opportunities there for someone to step into the gap.

Most people know the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But lenders have a different “Golden Rule”: He who has the gold makes the rules! Unfortunately, they are afraid to lend it—even to prime customers! We need to be prepared, avoid overextending ourselves and be ready to capitalize on opportunity. I overheard some dealers discussing whether or not we are in a recession. My definition of a recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose yours! I hope you are ready to benefit from these crises.

But I don’t want to dwell on bad news. I want to focus on the good news! Many of you know I am a Christian. I’ve spoken at conventions and been on various panels, and I often talk about our policies and procedures. Well, the Bible is my procedure manual. I study and memorize it and carry it with me wherever I go, so I can share with people what I believe is the greatest investment in the world.

It doesn’t matter what I say, or anybody else for that matter; it only matters what God says. There is a verse in the Bible found at Mark 8:36 that says, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?” If I had a fleet of Ferraris and $100 million in the bank, but when I died, my soul did not go to Heaven to be with God for all eternity, I have gained nothing.

We can’t take our money, our businesses, our cars and boats to Heaven. You never see U-Hauls hooked up to hearses, and there are no pockets on burial shrouds. However, we can help to take our friends and family with us, and that is why I am here today.

I want to share with you that choice, not chance, will determine if you will spend eternity in Heaven. So, I encourage you to make the most important decision of your life. It’s not whether to open another lot, how much money to borrow, or even who you are going to marry. It’s about what you choose to do with your soul—the greatest investment in the world!

Vol 5, Issue 10

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