Happy New Year!
January 1 is just a date on the calendar, but this time of year is always a good time to sit back and reflect on the past year, and look forward towards the next one. I love the time between Christmas and the New Year because it allows me to catch my breath, think a little deeper than usual, do some planning, and visualize what the new year will look, feel, and sound like.
Consider this week's feature article my ramblings about the year we're ending, and the one we're about to begin. More importantly, I hope it generates some of your own deep thinking and visualizing.
Enjoy! – Ross
I like the number 3. And I think there's power in it. Before a driver I'm coaching goes on the track, I limit what I tell them to just 3 things because I know that more than that will result in brain overload. It seems that if I'm able to put things into lists of 3, they get done. So here are 3 big topics I'd like you to think about.
People ask me what the main difference is between the best and the rest. They're looking for some super secret trick, some technique that if they master it will give them an edge, give them the extra speed, comfort, and consistency they want (and solve world peace, too!).
There are 3 things (not surprisingly) that make the difference:
1. They focus on the basics. The advanced stuff is just doing the basics better.
2. They're committed to learning. They make learning an objective. They know the more they know, the better they will get.
3. They prepare.
When they're working on the basics, they approach practice in a deliberate way. A focused way. And that results in them mastering the advanced stuff.
The best drivers have a burning desire to learn more. They're learning sponges.
As we all know, laps on a track are expensive, financially and in terms of the time spent. So anything you can do to prepare beforehand will make the time you have behind the wheel more productive. There's so much information out there and available to you these days. Of course, not all of it is good (yup, not everything on the internet is true and accurate!), so you need to be careful about what you take in, but it's there.
Last year I asked readers of Speed Secrets Weekly to think about, and then choose three words to focus on in 2016. These were to be three words that would consistently bring you back to what you felt was most important, either to your driving performance, or to your life in general.
Mine were believe, ask, and balance. They helped.
My 3 words for 2017 are:
1. Create - When I'm in my "happy place," I'm creating. That might be writing, putting an eCourse or video tip together, or presenting to a group of drivers (creating understanding in their minds). Other than when I'm driving, creating is what most often gets me into the zone.
2. Home - I spent over 230 nights in a hotel and flew over 160,000 miles this past year. While I love everything I do when I get to where I was traveling to and from, I want to spend more time at home this coming year. This is both a personal and business objective. Some of the best work I do, where I provide the most value to drivers is what I do when I'm in my home office - creating resources for drivers to help them learn and perform better.
3. Value - When I focus on providing value to drivers, I know I do my best work. It's my quality control check: "Am I providing value?" is a question I'll be asking myself a lot in 2017.
A goal of mine, then, is to provide you with more value by staying at home and creating stuff for you! Okay, that doesn't mean I won't be at tracks this coming year coaching drivers, conducting workshops and seminars, and doing presentations. I will. But a few less than in 2016.
Now it's your turn. Think about just 3 words that will keep you on track with what you want to focus on, and will guide you towards what you want to accomplish in 2017 - and how you want to drive (and even live). Then post them somewhere that you'll see on a regular basis.
Many years ago, after what was my worst year of business to date, I noticed something. Every year before that time, I had sat down between Christmas and New Year's and wrote out a plan for my business for the upcoming year, including revenue targets. Each year, I'd tack it up on the wall near my desk at home. But this particular year, when I looked, it wasn't there. It turned out that the previous year I had not done it.
Was it coincidence that the one year I had not written and posted my revenue goals and plans on the wall that it ended up being the worst year I'd ever had? I don't think so.
Once I post these goals and plans on the wall, I don't consciously look at them throughout the year. It's not like I sit down and read them over each day. But I'm pretty sure they sink in, unconsciously.
As a driver, I did the same thing when I was racing professionally. Each year I would write out what I was going to do to up my game - more mental training, improve my physical fitness level, what specific techniques and skills I was going to work on, what areas of the business side of my profession I was going to work on, and so on. And each year I improved. So I also did this between races, and it helped even more.
As Robert Cialdini, author of the books Pre-Suasion and Influence, says, "People live up to what they write down." Something happens the second you write something down - it enters your subconscious, your mental programming, and it makes it easier to recall and put into action.
Along with writing down the 3 words you want to focus on in 2017, write down what areas of your driving you want to improve. The simpler you make what you write, the better. Bullet points are your friends.
Prepare for a fantastic 2017! And keep having fun! See you next year.
- Ross Bentley