Here’s a lesson I wish I’d known 20 years ago: Follow your heart, do the work, keep your ears, eyes and heart open, and not only will you progress toward your ultimate goals, you’ll stumble upon some people and positive experiences you could not have foreseen when you started out.
For me, the passion project was finally beginning a podcast around this time a year ago as part of a larger effort to create and grow a thriving speaking career. For at least a couple of years prior to that, I allowed myself to listen to excuses of why I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, try creating a show of my own. Eventually, I became fed up of sitting on the sidelines while life ticked away, and I clumsily got myself into the game. I am so glad I did, and I’d like to share the story in hopes that it be of help to you in some similar way.
What’s Coming Up:
- How the effort of the pursuing a current passion project (The No Schedule Man Podcast) attracted some great people in my path
- Why I left the radio business for the racing business
- How I got involved in the racing business to being with
- Why I’ve had unpleasant emotional associations connected to motorsports
- How pursuit of my true passion(s) put me back in touch with the best parts of that part of my life
Connecting With Great People:
Earlier this week, I posed the 30th episode of the No Schedule Man Podcast, which features Bob Parker, the mastermind behind the experiential learning program called “Pit Crew Challenge.” Visiting with Bob brought back a lot of good feelings about my time in the motorsports industry, feelings that I had not experienced in a long time. I’ll give more context to that thought in a moment, as finding Bob in the first place was an illuminating part of this lesson.
Through the course of producing the podcast and connecting with people that I feel could contribute to the show, I came across Gair Maxwell in the fall of 2016 (you can hear him talking about Reinvention and Possibility in Episode 22 by clicking here). As I actively pursue my long-held interest in a thriving speaking career, the connection with Gair was a welcome revelation. He quickly invited me to join him as his guest at the next meeting of the Canadian Association for Professional Speakers. I gratefully accepted, and was absolutely delighted when I entered the room to see a couple people that I already knew, including Bob. Getting reintroduced to Bob in that setting felt like coming to an emotional bridge from an earlier part of my career to the present and future. A real gift. I have Gair to thank for my connection to Bob, and my podcast to thank for the connection to Gair.
See how this works?
When you focus constantly on a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, and move toward it confidently, the unseen forces will rally to your support.
– Price Pritchett, You2
I first met Bob in my time in the motorsports industry when I was the Announcer, and later Sales and Marketing Director, and eventually the General Manager, at a stock car track called Delaware Speedway. During that time, one of my good friends, a top competitor and driver named Ron Sheridan, would sometimes tell me about the experiences he was having hauling his race car all over North America to teach business people about culture and teamwork. A gregarious, outgoing and hard-working guy, Ron and his team were (and still are) responsible for transporting the actual car to the event and working people through the hands-on part of it. The rest of the program was (is) facilitated by a guy named … Bob Parker.
From Radio to Racing
Racing was what initially brought me away from radio. In the beginning stages of my broadcasting career, I was looking for any extra chance to get on the air that I could find, so when an opportunity arose to co-create, co-produce, sell and host a weekly talk show about motorsports, I jumped on it even though I really didn’t know much about racing. My show partner, Mike Kilbreath, and I called that show “The Pit Crew” and it went on the air with sponsorship space sold out before the first episode. It stayed that way for four or five years and I remain as proud of that as just about anything else I’ve ever done. It was challenging and fun and I remember at that time thinking that being involved in motorsports would always be fun.
(Sidenote: I really hope I can match up with Mike Kilbreath for a podcast episode at some point. I’ve reached out. We just haven’t matched up yet. Fingers crossed)
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Through the course of hosting that show, we naturally got to know all kinds of people in the racing industry. That led to being hired as one of the track announcers at Delaware Speedway (a half-mile stock car track in Southwestern Ontario), and I was later tapped as the lead voice at events for what was then called the CASCAR Super Series, which saw me announce at a variety of facilities throughout the province of Ontario back in 2001. Eventually, I left my post as the morning show host at CHOK Radio in Sarnia, Ontario to become the full-time Sales and Marketing Director, Announcer and Community Relations mManager at Delaware Speedway.
Creativity & Resourcefulness Have Always Captured My Attention
That was a fun time in my life. I marveled at the creativity, resourcefulness and determination of the race teams. I became fascinated with the different strategies that could be employed over the course of a long race, and how a whole host of little things all added up once the car was actually on the track. I admired the work ethic, passion and determination of these race teams. I still do. However, once I was made General Manager late in 2004, my pysche began to turn a little bit darker.
Looking back, I can see now that I very much enjoyed the creative aspects of bringing businesses into the racing program to create new and different events, sponsorships and promotions. I was proud to represent both the track and the race teams and I worked at it tirelessly. I enjoyed being the conduit between the people running the facility, the different racing series, sanctioning bodies and the people putting the cars (and sometimes trucks) on the track. I felt as though it was part of my job to get along with everyone, and that suited my personality nicely. But once I accepted the GM’s role, I quickly felt the burden of responsibility and realized that my natural tendency to try to please everyone was going to be my undoing. I was too young and inexperienced to know how to handle that then and I was harder on myself than just about anyone else was at the time. And I was very hard on myself.
The Turning Tide: Trying to Swim Against the Undertow
Work went from fun to fraught with anxiety. It felt as if my days were spent trying to win an impossible game of Whack-a-Mole or to patch a leaking bucket that was springing holes from all sides while simultaneously rusting up from the bottom .
Not coincidentally, that was the time in my life when things begin to get very difficult and strained in my marriage and my physical and mental health began to deteriorate. I didn’t realize it while I was going through it, but it seems completely obvious to me now.
Without the emotional maturity and mental tools to know how to deal with it all, I blamed the race track and the racing industry, at least in part. And as the last many years have progressed, that period from late 2004 through to about 2009 or 2010 looms like a big, fat, emotional black hole that I have been trying not to revisit. What a shame.
If you have a health problem, it came from physiological stress – all health problems, every time.
– Dr. Alexander Lloyd, The Healing Code
Since then, I’ve worked hard at understanding how and why I wandered so far from my real essence. That led me to starting the podcast, and working at it as a part of pursuing something that resonates deeply with my heart and soul has benefited me in a number of ways that I in no way saw coming when I started out. One of them has been a sort of accidental healing, finding a sense of peace over the period of time I just described. Through a combination of experiences, that spirit of fun has flickered back to life. I’m beginning to remember what it initially felt like to get involved in something I’d once found so enriching. Many of those light bulbs popped back on during the conversation with Bob Parker.
Energy Flows Where Attention Goes
I frankly had forgotten about how much I admired so many of my friends that operated race teams. The trade-off to their passion and emotion is that it can sometimes turn against you when you are the one calling the shots. I didn’t like the role of Governor or Referee. I like being a Coach and a Creator. And it’s true that whatever you focus your attention to does seem to grow. For the better part of a decade, I had let my attention be drawn to the darker, more stressful times that I had in that industry, and in the rest of my life. However the fun times were just as real. It’s time that I begin to give them the attention and celebration that they deserve and I’d like to sincerely thank Bob for helping to remind me of that.
This seems obvious to me now, as it plays right into the hands of a theme I’ve shared about changing habits, and that’s focusing on moving toward what you do want rather than putting more attention to what you don’t want (here’s an example, in a 2016 video blog). Little could I have known that by putting so much more of my energy into where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be would provide such a valuable perspective on where I’ve been and the various things that have contributed to making me who I am. It’s an undeniable benefit from employing the Law of Attraction and taking action in pursuit of your real passions.
Comments: How Are You Moving Forward?
Where are you focusing your energy? In what direction is your life headed, and what is it that may be holding you back? Do you have an example of how a difficult part of your past was healed – or at least helped – by pursuing something more true to who you are? Please feel welcome to share in the comment section, below.