There is more to life than increasing its speed. ~ Gandhi
Back in the 90s, one of my dearest and oldest friends worked as the Managing Director of Licensing of Nascar. Because of, I had the awesome opportunity to attend a Nascar race in Charlotte. Even if you aren’t into race car driving, it is quite the experience!
Being on the track watching the cars go through inspection; taking a tour of the trucks that transport the drivers and their families from race to race (who knew a full kitchen/bedroom, etc. plus space above for an extra car could be housed in a long-hauler?); and hanging out in the skybox was a ton of fun.
Just as fascinating was observing the culture of Nascar fans. As most know, I am a die-hard Yankees fan. But Nascar enthusiasts got me beat.
In case you didn’t know, Nascar cars can make a loop around a track at speeds close to 200 mph – sometimes even faster depending upon the track. And it takes a team of people, along with excellent preparation and sound procedures to make sure the drivers, field marshals and spectators remain safe…and alive!
To Go Fast, Don’t Rush
When I reflect on my Nascar weekend, I am reminded of how seductive and rhythmic the sound of speed is. I am also reminded of how much the driver and his car need to be in sync — how much they are a visual manifestation of being in the flow.
When it comes to money, what would it take for you to be in the flow and be at one with your money?
Ever since the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was hastily put together and passed, I have been thinking a lot about speed and the ramifications of hastily made decisions. (To be sure, I do believe tax reform is needed. But the details of this bill, at least as I understand it, are designed for a workforce composition that no longer reflects the reality of how we work – when projections are that 43% of the workforce will be freelancers in just two years!)
Perhaps we’ve always been a culture of get it – whatever it is – done as quickly as possibly. But today it feels more and more like we are operating at warp speed. Heck, if I click an app and it takes longer than ten seconds to load, I begin to wonder if I pressed hard enough or I get frustrated that it is taking sooo long, or both. Ten seconds!
Before I go on, let me be clear: this is not a diatribe against speed. There are situations where making a speedy decision is critical. Pause too long to ponder your next move and the consequences could be dire.
But for most of us, the details of our lives don’t require that state of readiness every moment of every day. No, our desire for speed – a quick answer; a fast resolution; a swift decision – is more likely due to impatience.
Here’s what I find intriguing about the sport of race car driving: For a business where the driver who goes the fastest wins, it seems that absolutely every aspect of the process is deliberate, strategic, and systematic. Speed is intentional and focused…but it is not conflated with rushing.
Get in the Flow
Speed may be the goal, but not at the expense of safety and precision.
Good points to keep in mind when it comes to your personal finances, too. Especially in this age where you can be tempted to think of speed as just a factor of time.
So this begs a question: If time isn’t the only factor of speed what is?
I think there are at least three other factors:
Race car drivers, by life-or-death necessity, need to be myopic. Now, that doesn’t mean just looking straight ahead. It means being intentional and focused with regards to training their bodies, building up their mental stamina in order to handle the stress, and anticipating how they will respond to the performance of their car and the moves of other drivers.
I say as often as possible that your money needs you to give it direction. That means knowing where you want to go; identifying what might distract you; and coming up with a game-plan that not only gets you from point A to B, but that also provides a blueprint for managing the distractions you are bound to encounter. Your money needs you to be myopic, too.
Team & Technology
I was surprised to learn that a driver has about 30 people on his (or her) team. Of this, at least three people are in constant communication directly with the driver (through their helmet) during the race. These three people are, in essence, the driver’s external senses; they update the driver on the condition of the track, they notify the driver of “blind spots” so they can pass or do a particular maneuver safely, etc. This is the human-to-human communication, which helps the driver get around the track quickly and safely.
Then there’s the car-to-human communication. Data collected from the car helps the pit crew service the car for peak performance at every pit stop.
The “team and technology” combo shapes decisions about the strategy for the race, and a driver wouldn’t think of getting on the track without this duo intact.
When it comes to how you handle money, what is your “team and technology” approach? More important, is it as proactive?
For a driver, the team is viewed as critical to his/her success. For a lot of people, getting help with their money is seen as a form of weakness – rather than as a sign of strength. And the purpose of technology is to save paper (a good thing for sure) and get more information. It’s not necessarily viewed as a tool for making more insightful decisions and choices.
Have a plan
I don’t know a darn thing about how a driver and his/her team plans for a race. But I know this: When absolutely every race has the risk of life or death associated with it, you can best believe they have a plan…or two or three! And I’d imagine each plan is agile enough to be quickly adapted to different track and weather conditions – not just from race to race, but sometimes within the same race.
What I find from many of my discussions about money is that far too many people don’t have a plan because they feel preparing it is too time-consuming, too complicated, or that they don’t have “enough” to warrant the exercise. I call bull****!
Having a plan is one of the ways you get into a flow with your money – to be in sync with it.
Race car drivers drive fast and they make in the moment choices that need to be precise quickly, too. Yet, every choice seems deliberate, strategic and systematic. Nothing seems hasty. To me, that is proof that speed is not just a factor of time, but also of commitment, responsibilities and being mindful of the difference between controlled speed and unbridled haste.
Something I wished our government had practiced when it came to crafting and passing the “tax bill.” And something you and I should be mindful of when it comes to managing our choices around money.
p.s. How might a one-page financial plan help you to be more intentional and focused with your money? Join us for the next Comfort Circle™ dinner to find out. Click here to RSVP by 24 January.