Momentum Podcast: 399
Track Driving And Business Growth
by Alex Charfen
Learning how to drive fast on a race track has taught me so many lessons about how to run a business. I know, that sounds crazy but stick with me. Anyone who knows me can tell you I like to do things fast, I like to grow business fast and I especially love to drive fast. In my years of racing, I've drawn so many parallels between my experiences on the track and my experiences in my businesses. I want to share some of my lessons with you.
Full Audio Transcript
Ever since I was in my teens and the first time I ever twisted the ignition of a car, felt the engine come alive and had this vehicle that extended the capabilities of my physiology far beyond what nature ever intended, I have loved driving. What I didn't expecting is that learning how to drive fast, especially on a racetrack, would teach me so many lessons about how to run a business that grows fast, grows consistently and wins over time.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. Instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to do things fast. I like to grow business fast. I like to get things done fast. I like to do more than the average person and I really like to drive fast. In fact, all of the cars that I own have been track prepped and modified and customized to have a quicker throttle response, faster acceleration, stiffer suspension. I like to drive cars that feel like a scalpel, not cars that feel like riding on a couch. I love going fast.
In fact, last weekend I had the opportunity to go out on the Circuit of the Americas track. I've been there a few times. This is one of the times that I went out and really pushed it hard. I love going to this track. Circuit of the Americas is a purpose built F1 track here in the United States, right in Austin, Texas. I can drive over to it. It's the exact same track that the F1 drivers drive on, that MotoGP drives on, that super cars drive on. It's incredible to be able to get onto that playing field in the exact same position as people that make tens of millions of dollars for driving cars. I absolutely love it.
I've been driving on a track for a long time, since I was younger. I didn't ever expect that driving on the track would have so many parallels to business but I just want to share a few of them with you that I have learned over time.
I'll share the first one with you. Aggression hurts you on the track and in business. Here's what happens every time I go to the track. There's usually somebody there who's never been on a track before but has the money and the resources to buy a really nice car. You can kind of pick them off walking onto the track. They act like they know what they're doing but you can tell they really don't. They act like they're not intimidated or not nervous, but let's be honest, any time you go out on a track, especially if you're going to be at speeds over 150 miles an hours slamming into a U-turn like you do at Circuit at the Americas, you should be both nervous and somewhat intimidated. Even the best drivers still get some nerves going out on the track.
What I've found is that the people who talk the biggest, the guys who come out and say, "Hey, I've got a new car. I can't wait to go out there. I'm going to show them what I'm all about." Those are usually the aggressive ones, the ones who do the absolute worst, because on a track aggression, pushing too hard, pushing to the limit, actually hurts you. If you are always running on the ragged edge all you have to do is make one small mistake and I'll pass you in a heartbeat.
This past weekend I was out on the track in a 2005 Porsche that was redone by a company in California called GMG. It's basically a street legal race car but it's 13 years old. In front of me were a brand new Porsche GT3 and a new eight cylinder Ferrari. At one point there was a Lamborghini and at one point there was a Corvette.
Over the course of several laps, I passed all of them and here's why: I've eliminated aggression from track driving because it's not about being aggressive, it's not about being angry, it's not about being over the top. It's about being focused and understanding what you're doing and knowing what your next move is.
It's the same thing in business. Aggression and frustration and using anger to drive you often just spends all of your energy, rains you and makes you feel like you're depleted before you even start. The same thing happens on the track. If you get aggressive and you miss a turn, you're probably going to miss the next five turns. If you get aggressive in business and you miss an opportunity, you're probably going to miss the next five business opportunities.
The next thing I've learned from going to the track ... That's the first lesson: aggression hurts you. The second one? Planning and preparation are absolutely everything. When you go out to the track, you have to make sure that one: the car that you're driving is fully prepped and ready to go.
This last weekend I actually had an issue. After a couple of sessions running hard, getting the car up to 120, 130, 140, slamming it into turns, doing what you need to do at Circuit of the Americas, which, it's one of the most intense tracks that there is in the world. There's actually a straightaway where you get your car up, and depending on how well you take the turn into the back straightaway, when you get your car up to 120, 130, 140, and then you have to bring it from 130, 140 miles an hour, slam on the brakes and come all the way back down to in the mid 30 miles an hour to make what is a U-turn around a cresting bank back onto the track. It is completely and totally physiologically overwhelming.
Understanding that that's what you're going to be doing on that track, being prepared for what's going on on track, knowing the track, knowing the turns and having your car prepared changes everything. After three sessions this weekend, I actually started having some alternator issues and I had to pull off the track. In fact, I had several people tell me, "Hey, it's just an alternator. It's no big deal," but at the end of the day when I get warning lights, I'm off the track because I'd much rather race at full speed another day than have a problem with my car and have some type of an issue.
So planning and preparation is everything. In fact, before I go out on Circuit of the Americas, I actually drive the track in a simulator here at my house dozens of times. Even though I don't get the same G-forces, even though I don't get the same feeling, I start to create the muscle memory of what that track is going to be about. I plan for it, I understand where my turn in points are, I know where my braking points are. I know ahead of time before I get there, what I'm going to be doing.
In business, planning and preparation will change everything for you. Here's what far too many people do on in business. They show up to a track they've never seen before, pull out onto the straightaway and floor it around the whole thing hoping that things are going to work out okay. The problem is most of the time in business, the vast majority of entrepreneurs have no strategic plan and no preparation.
Being a track driver has taught me that the more I prepare, the more I succeed. Running a business has also taught me that the more I prepare, the more succeed. The more I know where I'm going in advance, the more I know what my outcomes are in advance, the more successful I am over time. It's an exact parallel to racing on a track. You talk to an experienced driver and they will tell you that once you learn a racetrack, once you really know a racetrack, then you can put the pedal down and get to the speeds you really want to get to.
Once you understand the eccentricities of a racetrack, it completely changes for you. When you know ahead of time what you're going to be doing, you're much safer, you're much more in control, and here's the key: you're infinitely faster than the guy next to you who didn't prepare.
I can tell you that this weekend I know that part of the reason I was passing cars that have way more power than my car, they're way newer than my car and conceivably should be driving much than my car on the track ... The reason I was able to pass them is because I prepared, was ready and I knew what I was going to do ahead of time.
Now here's the last one. What I've learned about being on the track is that when you are in control, you are at full speed but you can run on the edge of having everything in control. When you know where your edge is, when you know what your limitations are, you can push right up to them without breaking anything, hurting anything or losing control. But when you don't know where your limitations are, when you've never set a limit and said, "Let me see if I can exceed this," when you haven't really measured what you're capable of doing, then you're the most dangerous person on the track because you take a turn 10 miles an hour faster than your car should and you're going to end up spinning out and possibly hitting a wall, especially at Circuit of the Americas.
There's way too many places where spinning out means you're going to hit something and if you're on a track and you miss an apex by five to 10 feet, that means you're going to miss the next apex by a multiplier of that and that could also mean you're off the track, in the gravel, in a wall somewhere else.
So being in control and understanding what's going on around you and knowing what your limitations are changes everything on the track and it does the exact same thing in business. See, when you have a team and you know what your limitations are and you know what your capabilities are and you know what your team is able to do on a weekly and monthly basis and you line those things up and you knock them down, here's what happens: you go through the turn hitting the apex with all of your momentum. You lose no speed, and your team continues to excel and accelerate towards the goal because they're in control and nothing's flying apart.
Unfortunately in far too many entrepreneurial companies, the entrepreneur in charge guns it into the corner, misses the apex of the turn, misses the next turn by even more and the entire team is fractured, falling apart and trying to pull things back together. In fact, that's what it's like in most businesses. It's a consistent over acceleration, miss of the turn and trying to fix it.
The problem is, just like being on the track, when you miss one turn it can take three, four, five, six turns, even a whole lap, to get back on your racing line, back in control and back up to the speed you could be.
In business it's the same thing. When you push too hard, when you break things, when your team falls apart, when you miss goals, when you miss outcomes, when you miss that first goal, then you miss the second one and then the third one, you start teaching your team that out of control and missing is who you are as a company and that will slow you down a ton long term.
But when you pull the target closer, when you keep your team in control, when you know what you're capable of, when you consistently teach them how to set a goal, crush it and then win again, you'll continue to increase what your team is capable of, what you put out as a company and the momentum you create together.
I absolutely love track driving. There is nothing for me that is the same as getting out onto a track like Circuit of the Americas and pushing my car and my physiology to its limits. There's very little like being right on the ragged edge of going into a turn, hitting the apex, feeling the car go into a four wheel drift and then pushing the accelerator so that it pulls out right on the racing line and goes rocketing to the next turn.
The reason I can do that is because I've prepared for years. I've learned exactly where my car should be. I know it like the back of my hand. I've practiced on the track before. I've practiced in the simulator. I'm prepared for where I'm going. I'm in control. I've eliminated aggression and I'm watching my metrics: the time, the speed, everything that I'm doing on the track, so that I can continue to drive at the razor's edge and feel the excitement rather than the danger.
The same thing goes for you and your business. When you understand what you're capable of and your team's capable of, when you eliminate aggression and you start bringing in the right metrics, the right information, when you know your racing line and you understand exactly where you're going and you have a strategic plan as a team, everything will go faster. You will feel the exhilaration of hitting the top speed on a straightaway or the maximum velocity your business can grow because either one, when we feel that momentum of realizing the potential that we have, when we feel the momentum of maxing out the speed that we're capable of at any time, when we feel the momentum and the growth of achieving and contributing and making our business grow, that is when people like you and I feel most alive.
You may not ever drive on a track, but hopefully these parallels, these lessons I've learned, will help you run your business faster and hit the apex every single time so that you can continue to accelerate towards your goals.
If you're ready to create more momentum than you ever thought possible, if you're ready to get your personal life in order and have it be congruent with your business, if you're ready to have the relationship you have with yourself, you have with those around you and your spouse and you have with your business improve, you should check out our Momentum Masterclass. This is the course that we use in our highest level coaching products. It is the personal congruency course that we use to help people improve their businesses, improve their marriages, improve their physiology and create massive momentum. It is the perfect course to take at the end of the year right now as you prepare for 2019. Go to momentumasterclass.com and check it out. It will help you understand yourself better, stop limiting behavior, and create momentum on demand.
Let's make 2019 the best year you've ever had: momentummasterclass.com.