How a Lesson in Racing Changed My Future in Business
If you are always comfortable, you’re never growing. If you’re never growing, you’ll never become the person you need to be.
Stagnant and complacent. Two words that are the enemy of every one — no matter what you do in this world. If you’re an entrepreneur, or a business owner, then these two words are very close to you because they represent a number of things that you cannot afford to embody if you want to be successful.
Fear and intimidating. Another two words that are the enemy of everyone because they are largely psychological, and keep us from being the person we dream of being.
At the end of 2016 I realized that I had become stagnant because I was fearing fear itself, and this fear would keep me from achieving all of my goals and dreams. More importantly than that, by never overcoming fear I was missing out on the greatest feeling possible — the feeling of overcoming a fear.
Even though I was still learning and growing professionally and was learning a lot every day, I had fallen into a rut. I was even maturing a new business idea to help people and hold people accountable to achieve their financial goals (Penny Wise Dollar Rich), but none of this was going to get me to my dream if I wasn’t going to conquer the things that scared me.
I’m not sure where, but sometime I had stopped pushing the edge of my comfort zone. I had become complacent. I thought, just like everyone else, that my ambition, tenacity, and drive was good enough to get me to where I wanted to go in business.
So for 2017 I changed two things and the rest of my life started to change too — faster than ever. The things I thought I valued — no longer mattered, and the things I once feared — I began to crave.
I quit thinking about things before taking action, and I started stepping out of my comfort zone several times a week — and if the opportunity didn’t present itself, I made one.
These are two lessons I actually discovered in racing. I noticed that I was stuck in a rut and I had become stagnant, I wasn’t challenging myself, and as a result my performance on the weekends weren’t improving. (Shocking I know!)
I was stuck in a rut because I wasn’t trying new things. If something scared me I didn’t do it. Well it’s no wonder I didn’t hardly improve because I had reached the edge of my comfort zone. I knew that if I couldn’t overcome the fears in my head I would never get to the level I wanted to.
So I made a promise to myself that every time I was out on the track I would do something that would scare myself — not a lot, but just a little to start stepping out of my comfort zone. (Obviously this was nothing dangers. for example, sometimes it was things that the rest of the competition was doing that I wasn’t comfortable with). Your comfort zone is something that can grow. Remember, you were once really nervous about driving, but with time you adjusted and became comfortable with it, and now you don’t think about it at all. This can be applied to anything that makes you uncomfortable.
By challenging myself to do something that pushed my comfort zone every time I was at the track I noticed that at first sometimes I would fail. I would try and try all day to do something and I wouldn’t be able to do it — I was too nervous. I then told myself, “if you don’t do something to push yourself within the first 10 laps (I knew the track) that I was going home and that 5 hours of driving to the track would be flushed in 15 minutes of track time.” So I started to act and do something within a few seconds of thinking about it.
I realized that by thinking about everything I was going I was much slower, but the second I could ‘turn off my brain’ and just start acting without thinking — it was incredible. The key to doing that was to act within 1–3 seconds of having a thought — literally 3 seconds max. By 5 seconds the brain notices a hesitation, overanalyzes things, and ultimately caused me to second guess myself. (This is what would happen in the past — I would over think things all day and blow it out of proportion.)
The mind is amazing at coming up with excuses on why not to do something, but it takes time to come up with these reasons. So by acting faster than it can, I was able to overcome doubt and take action.
Since then I have rolled this mindset over into every aspect of my life. Every time an opportunity would present itself that made me nervous I would take it. I wouldn’t hesitate — I would just reply “I’m in.” No at first it was nothing outlandish, but it was something that made me a little nervous so I started putting myself out there little-by-little.
So what’s the point to all of this?
If you never take a step outside of your comfort zone then it will never grow. If your comfort zone never grows you then cannot by definition grow either, and that dream/vision you have in your head of the person you want to be will never become a reality. That person you are dreaming of becoming, the person you need to become, requires you to try new things you aren’t comfortable with. Everything you want is on the other side of fear, and the wonderful thing about fear is that it’s the monster under the bed — it’s all made up in our heads.
The best way to do this is to start a little at a time and remember to respond/react almost instantly, because if you wait, you will likely bow out.
I want you to take whatever fear you have, and break it down to accomplish it. For example a friend of mine was worried about making a phone call to a potential supplier to get more information for a business idea. Well, they started small. First it was a phone call and they played it off as though it was a wrong number. Then two days later they called again to ask some general questions about a product they sell. Then the next week they felt far more comfortable with the call and dove right into the conversation they needed to. Though it was a while ago we still joke about how nervous he was.
I don’t care how small you start — just START!
The feeling after conquering a fear you’ve had is the greatest feeling in the world because there is no greater accomplishment then the accomplishment of conquering your own fears. Once you conquer a fear you’ve had for years, you will understand why I say it’s the greatest feeling in the world and there is no dollar amount that can replace it.