Invest in Others
This week I thought I would touch on some of the challenges and things I learned from my experiences in racing. Throughout my life, whether in business or in racing, having a support system is key to long term success and keeping your sanity. I have had family and friends that have been there every step of the way who have seen me at my highs and at my lows, always being there to help lift me up. It seems we have become so consumed in this world of social media where lives are portrayed to be perfect or we only share what we want you to see when sometimes life can be down right ugly and you will always need that support system in place. You need a team around you. This isn't just about pity, or being weak, this is about life and how important those people are that you surround yourself with.
During my last few years of racing it was hard to understand how I was so close to a totally different life and it began to consume my mind. I was constantly battling with myself. I went from having everything to having nothing, OR so I thought. It was in these times where I also started to appreciate the small wins in life, appreciating the fact that I had done so many things that so many dream of doing. I had forgotten about the journey and how amazing it had been. I had been traveling the world, flying on private jets, first class restaurants, 5 star hotels, meeting leaders from around the world, seeing things many only dream of and getting to experience things that many may never get to do. It was in this time that I came to accept that life actually was great and that this was a lesson, this was a time to learn, a time to understand, and a time to maybe just say I DID IT and accept it may not make sense ever but I made lots of lifelong friends around the world and honestly learned a lot about life, values, friendships, trust, and business skills you can't replicate anywhere else in life.
Reflecting on things, would I have done things differently or would I change anything, no. It was part of the journey. To share a few experiences, I had a big accident in the race and I knew the mechanics would be staying up to fix the car/get it ready to ship to the next race so I stayed at the track with them bringing beers, having laughs and just enjoyed the time with the guys. Another time, while in Durban, SA the mechanics decided to tape me in my room so I couldn't open the door to get to the track without calling them. I spent what felt like hours trying to get out before I ended up calling them, hearing them laughing and just enjoying the camaraderie. We were always playing pranks on one another. One I remember like it was yesterday is after finishing second at Mexico City, I was tie wrapped to the pit fence where they decided to release a fire extinguisher on me. If only I could find pictures of that haha. We were like family and to this day I have to say in the A1GP paddock I made so many friends. The drivers, mechanics, stewards, announcers, and so many others part of the event were like family. I experienced this through many teams I raced with. I had a blast traveling the world with some of the most amazing people. I share all of this because it's the little things that I look back on and think that was what life is about, it's about friends, it's about a support system you can trust, it's about teamwork and it's about humanity as we are all in this life together. Work shouldn't be an arduous task, or something you don't like being at. It should be a place that merges with life and is something that can be fun, challenging, and a place where we act as friends working to help each other. We all have enough struggles, so having that support system around you is key.
As I take this thinking into business, I began to realize that yes it might not be racing cars but guess what we can still have fun accomplishing something. If you have a leader that doesn't think this then they aren't the person you should be working for. I spent my life racing learning the business, understanding marketing, sales, strategy, health and fitness, and so many other aspects to the business world. I got to meet many CEO's and executives who I would learn from day in and day out asking what their challenges were, how they got to where they are today, and a majority had passion for their team (brought them to races), passion to win, passion to help others. It's a team that makes things work. You have to invest in people and have a vested interest in their lives. Racing is all about teamwork and more than many realize, gaining .2-.5 a lap on the track is very hard when competing at the top, where as in the pits you can sometimes make or lose 1-2 seconds in no time. Life is the same way. You can't do everything on your own, you have to build a team around you, people who believe in you, support you and help you be the best you can be at whatever it is you are gifted with.
Do I believe I could be in F1 right now competing with the top guys, 100% but I was one who missed the cut. There are thousands of athletes out there working in companies that just missed the shot. Does it mean they aren't as good, not at all, did they peak maybe at the wrong time or have an unlucky opportunity, possibly. Life will never be fair but we have to accept that and take the little wins, enjoy the journey, enjoy the chances we have had, appreciate what we have accomplished. The hard part is reinventing yourself when all you have known is competition in the sport. Finding your talent in business, finding the opportunity to share your strengths, along with getting that opportunity to learn and grow in something new. I know that one thing that helped me jump into the business world without a degree was my connections from racing, my drive, and the chance someone took on me to believe and develop me. Think about this next time you are hiring, think does this person have the drive, do they want to learn, as I can assure you these people usually will be your most loyal, and successful talents. We are all human and have a gift to give, it's finding what that gift is. I hope businesses will take time to invest more in their people and understand that WORK doesn't need to feel like work and that we can enjoy being with colleagues, enjoy seeing the company succeed, enjoy being a part of the end goal for the company. Many companies forget that employees want to feel included and that giving them a % of the success will create loyalty along with team building. 100% of prize money never goes to the driver, it is generally split pretty well between everyone involved on the team. It's because WE ALL make a difference in the end result and we all are each other's support system. Next week will be a week off as we celebrate Father's Day here in the US. Love to hear your thoughts and feedback on what else you would love to hear about along with hear about your thoughts on the blog so far!