My fourteen year old son races high performance go-karts. As a father, it’s great to see your children excel at something they are truly passionate about. He zips around a course at a high speed, following his lines and trying to improve his lap times. When he does well, everyone is happy. When he doesn’t, then moods seem to shift like a see-saw.
A few months ago, he was in one of those desert periods. It seemed his personal tank was dry even though his kart was full. The sport and some disappointing finishes had gotten into his head, and shaking whatever was holding him back seemed insurmountable.
I never want to be one of those out-of-control fathers who pushes his son or daughter way too hard, gives obnoxious speeches, and tries to make up for personal missed opportunities of days gone by. So I just stood by and simply offered encouragement. However, that didn’t move the needle. So one day, I tried a little motivation.
I talked to my son about focusing on one lap at a time. Then one race. The idea was to visualize each lap and each race as his last one. Don’t look at the whole season and be burdened by staying atop the leaderboard. Just give it your all every lap and every race as if it were the Super Bowl or the championship. Don’t leave anything in the tank. Focus, dig deep into your heart, and do what you know you are capable of doing. That day, he drove like a madman, and hasn’t looked back.
I was telling a friend about this exercise and she suggested that the advice I gave my son was also good for life. Yes, it is important to plan for the future and think about ultimate goals, but the way to win is to focus on doing your best every minute, every hour, every day.
Tomorrow isn’t promised, so live each day as if it is your personal championship. Try it and see if this can become your winning formula too.