I was reading an article this morning about a driving school in Wisconsin. “Driving School” is almost a misnomer. At these schools you learn how to drive fast (and safe). And, best of all, you get to drive a Formula racecar around a real racetrack.
I started reading the article with great interest because I’ve tossed a sports car around a track on several occasions. Honestly, it’s one of the most thrilling experiences a middle-aged guy from the Midwest can have without breaking the law. If you ever get the opportunity, and are even mildly inclined to do so, I highly recommend it!
While the writer of this article was learning how to navigate a particularly nasty turn, the instructor told him “hands follow the eyes”. The instructor clarified by saying:
“Our instinct is to look at what we’re going to hit. But that will get you hurt. Don’t look where you’re going, look where you want to go. Your hands and feet will do their best to get you there.”
After I read this line I thought, this is pretty good advice for running a business as well as for racing. Think of your business as the car, the world as the racetrack and yourself in the driver’s seat.
All businesses face tight turns like the racecar above faced. Whether your business is a new one in fast growth mode, or you’re pulling out of a slump, there are always going to be tricky turns to navigate. The key is getting through them without crashing.
Even if your business is not facing any difficult challenges, we all have goals and dreams that we want to reach. Using the racing metaphor, your goal or dream is “where you want to go”.
In growing my current business I have had a bad habit of looking at where we used to be or worruing about the worst case scenarios. Thanks to some smart (and persistent) advisors I’ve been able to shift my focus on where we want to go. That’s kept us from “crashing” into things along the way. And it’s helped keep the company growing and profitable.
I also like the idea that “your hands and feet will do their best” to get you where you are looking. In the context of your business, your “hands and feet” are the activities you and your people perform as you run your business. This is another way of saying you need to visualize your goal. You need to be able to see it clearly, before you will be able to accomplish it.
Hundreds (thousands?) of writers, thinkers and speakers have been saying this for centuries. The power of visualization is a concept proven beyond doubt, in my opinion. (If you want to read a good book on this subject, take a look at The New Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D. You can find it at Amazon.com.)
As you promote your business, you can use these concepts to be more successful. Visualize your marketing or growth goals. Paint a picture of where you want your business to go. Then stay the course and don’t get sidetracked by focusing on where you’ve been or what you might run into. Keep looking at where you want to go and you will get there.