In The Race To The Finish, You May Want To Slow Down
My internal alarm clock went off as usual at 4:30am, but instead of rushing out the door to take my daughter to school and head off to work, I am away at the CMO Club Summit, catching up on emails before heading downstairs for Day 2.
This is an event that I look forward to every year. Yes, there are some fantastic speakers, artists, musicians that inspire. A highlight for me yesterday was meeting Garth Brooks for the second time, the first being three years ago back stage in Philadelphia. This time, I had the chance to thank him for being one of those who inspired me to go back later in life and earn my MBA, as he had done. True to his character, he took the time to ask me “what did you get most out of the experience”, then asked me to remind him of my wife’s name and as we parted, he said “please say hi to Karen for me!”
However, the true value and inspiration of the event is the opportunity to listen to, speak with, and learn from peers. Talk about what is working and what our challenges are, both professionally and personally. You quickly realize, you aren’t alone, and that connection with some of marketing’s best talent, sharing with you their own learnings is invaluable.
Last night I sat at dinner with CMO’s who I have long admired, and ones who I just met, as we listened to our guest for the evening, Brad Keselowski. Success as a race car driver, a team owner, and his work with the Checkered Flag Foundation, a non-profit he set up ten years ago and its mission to support those who have sacrificed for our country were part of the conversation. As he closed, he was asked the obvious question, how fast has he driven, and what did it feel like. His answer surprised me a bit. Paraphrasing, he said that he has driven at speeds over 220 MPH, but that his goal wasn’t to feel the speed as much as it was to slow it down in his mind so he could react more deliberately. He compared it to a batter facing a 100mph fastball and being able to slow it down in his mind so that he could better see the pitch and prepare for it.
It made me think of my daughter’s workload at school, and how we are encouraging her to pace herself, one step at a time. My wife’s new business, that she is building from scratch, from the ground up, one relationship at a time. The challenges that I am facing at work, with moving in a forward direction with so many moving pieces. It all seems so fast that at any given moment, it could spin out of control. Yet, like Brad suggested, the key is it slow it down in our minds, get a better sense of what is going on around us and don’t let speed blur the opportunities and obstacles. Put ourselves in a position where we make decisions more deliberately. Not easy to do, and even he will admit that at times, you crash. But the race and the rewards are worth the risk.
Right now, my decision is breakfast. I don’t have my wife’s homemade cold oats to start my day, so I will have to make do. But I will be back home tomorrow!
Say something nice today, unexpectedly. Trust me, they probably need to hear it.