“To finish first you must first finish.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re racing cars, bikes or lawnmowers; to finish first, you must first finish. These are famous racing words for every team, driver and their fans in motorsports. These words also matter in leadership, faith and life.
I’ve discovered there are three phases to finishing, and finishing first. They are:
1) Preparation. 2) Execution. 3) Processing. Below is a series of questions to ask in each phase. I don’t proclaim these to be the only questions to ask, but I’ve found them useful in fielding a racecar, and also useful in leading The Rock Church.
Have you ever paid attention to the voices around you? I don’t mean the ones in your head, but the sound of those closest to you? Tone of voice is incredible. Like a symphonic harmony, voice can sooth, and like a clanging symbol, voice can rattle. Have you ever considered the effect of your voice?
I think it’s paramount to discover your voice. Will your tone be one of peace or war, resonance or dissonance, helpful or hurtful? It’s becoming clear, in the coming decades, more and more voices will have access to our thinking than ever before.
While people are striving for your attention on social media, through their blog or in the boardroom, I’d encourage you to begin to develop your own voice. To do so will require some consideration on your part. It begins by defining…
“Don’t be afraid of the commitment.” -Joe Knight, aka. my dad
It was the spring between my Sophomore and Junior year of High School. I’d played baseball since the age of 8 and was seriously considering taking a year away from summer ball. As the high school season was winding down I needed to make a commitment to play summer baseball. Usually, this wasn’t even a conversation because I loved sports so much, but in 1986 mom and dad had made some cool plans for our family during the summer, including a sweet vacation, and I was contemplating just taking some time away from sports.
Most of us have, at one time or another, made similar decisions. We take some time away in order to rest, rejuvenate or even simply to go another path. For me, I knew it would significantly impact my future plans to play baseball. I knew, as all athletes do, if you step away from the team there’s a chance you won’t get your spot back on the team!
You’ve got to be closer to the edge than ever to win. That sometimes means you go over the edge, and I don’t mean driving, either. -Dale Earnhardt
Probably the most important figure to sponsor acquisition in the modern era of racing was none other than Dale Earnhardt. To get sponsors these days you’ve got to put yourself out there. There is no other way. If you are not comfortable asking for help you’re likely not to get any. One of the ways I make the decision to put myself out there is with a marketing proposal. Follow the link to a copy of my 2014 edition.
I believe every driver needs a dozen of these at all times to get healthy support. It’s not only the conversation starter, it’s the closer. At the end of the day racing is a value driven endeavor. When thinking of your proposal ask yourself, “What value can I bring to people though this sport?” You see, I don’t look at racing as marketing. I know many will balk when I say such a thing; instead, I see sponsorship as making connections between people. How can I best bring value to a company/sponsor? By connecting the people who follow me with the products of those who support me. Marketing isn’t as measurable as it used to be. However, relationships either exist or they don’t. My job as a racer is to build relationships between people and those who help me race. .
Here is the link to my marketing proposal.
Are you feeling pressured in most areas of your life? Is your work hindering your ability to enjoy those most important to you, like family? Are those close friends no longer inviting you out, as often? Do those who know you best, tread lightly when speaking with you? If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, you might be overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed is being buried beneath a huge mass. The mass could be a deliverable, like a new addition to the family; a deadline, like a big proposal at work; or even a project, like a home remodel. Other circumstances might include a loss, divorce or a variety of major life changes. I’ve discovered being overwhelmed is a part of life, work, family and doing what we love. Overwhelmed happens, but it doesn’t have to cripple or hurt. Overwhelmed is treatable.