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3 Lessons From a Race Car Driver: How to Prepare When There’s No Time to Practice

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professional race car driver

Race car drivers don’t get much time to train the way other professional athletes do. Expenses such as track rental and entry fees, paying team members to help, and hospitality logistics make it tough. Often, we don’t practice until the actual race weekend, when you’re lucky if you get to participate in a handful of 30-minute track sessions.

Yet, everything has to play out perfectly from the seat of my Lamborghini — one error can be disastrous at worst and cost you a strong finish at best. That means we have to get creative about honing our craft if we want to succeed.

The old adage that practice makes perfect is nice in theory, but in some industries, practicing isn’t always possible. It’s hard to practice skills when you’re expected to immediately execute on them.

Startup leaders, for example, must rely on themselves to wear many hats. They likely don’t yet have a fully-fledged team of people who have mastered their skills and are experts in their field. When a problem or opportunity arises, entrepreneurs must be able to learn fast and perform perfectly. There’s no time and less money, but the work has to be done and done well.

So how do you stay on top of your game when there’s no time for dress rehearsal or a rough draft? Here are a three things I’ve learned as a professional race car driver:

1. Research all you can

There have been times when I couldn’t gather data or in-car video of the race I was about to compete in. However, I could find a video online of a pro taking a lap around the track and make notes from that.

Feel like there are missing pieces in a project? Open yourself up to other resources. Seek out ideas that might not seem related at first. In the digital age, we can find just about anything online. You open many more doors to success and opportunity once you get creative about the learning process.

Part of your research should include talking to others who have been through similar experiences. If I hadn’t driven a track before but know someone who has, you can bet I’ll ask what the experience was like.

Focus on others’ experience, not necessarily on their advice. Learn what stood out to them, what help they wish they had, or what surprised them. From there, you can create your own solutions based on what you’ve already researched and learned.

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Make sure your mind and body are ready to perform

The best thing you can do to aid in performance — especially if you’re called upon to act without the chance to prepare — is to commit to constant maintenance of your body and mind.

If you feel physically strong and your mental game is in tip-top shape, you’ll be that much more equipped to handle unforeseen challenges. Physical workout preparation is very important to my on-track performance. The temperature can reach 155 degrees, easily, in race car cockpits, and the physical toll of controlling the machine is no joke. Each brake application is equivalent to 150 to 200 pounds of strain on your body, and steering loads can reach up to 55 pounds.

Add to that the constant lateral and longitudinal forces pulling at your body against the harness, and you can see why race car driving is a sport. I once lost four pounds from sweating alone in one race. So I’ve learned to keep myself in optimum physical and mental condition. That way, I’m always ready for a challenge — whenever it might spring up.

Keep your body and mind in performance-ready shape by prioritizing sleep, hydration, and proper fueling. These practices keep you mentally fresh, concentrated, and happy. If you can’t practice, at least you can prepare yourself to jump on any new opportunity that comes your way.

3. Keep data on your past performances

Just because we’re not able to practice doesn’t mean we can’t stay engaged in our performance. Data acquisition is without question the fastest way to improve your driving — or any performance. For race car drivers, data logging is as vital as stock reports are for investors. It should be similar for any professional.

The reams of information that data systems provide can help a driver evaluate and identify areas to improve. Through the many channels of data, the system allows you to graphically see how much speed you carried into a bend, if changing a technique on a lap was helpful, or whether your throttle application is efficient. Once you have those insights, the key becomes finding out why certain strategies are stronger. This turns driver “feel” into science.

Investing time and resources into tracking data will convert into real-life application. Even entrepreneurs and business leaders need to be able to study their past performances, find out what worked, and look for areas where it’s appropriate to try something new. Tracking key performance metrics will help you filter what’s relevant and what’s not, allowing you to speed ahead to a worthy solution.

“Study the past, if you would divine the future.” – Confucius

Whether race car driving or developing a new app you’re trying to get funding for, there’s more to it than “practice makes perfect.” And thank goodness for that! Performing when you haven’t had the chance to properly prepare is all about hustle, hard work, persistence, and putting yourself in the best position possible to execute flawlessly.

Which one of the 3 lessons could you apply most to your life to achieve everything you want this year? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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Success Advice

Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way

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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy

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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds

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Image Credit: Unsplash

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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