Struggling racer? People telling you that you should quit? Your spouse or significant other not understanding all the money and time that goes in to racing and resenting you for it? Your mom and dad saying that they can’t put anything more into it and you are on your own? Do you just give up your hopes, dreams and goals and all the hard work you have done?
I am here to tell you not to give up. There are solutions to these problems. You CANNOT HELP THE FACT that you have a deep passion for racing – it’s inside of you, it’s the way you were wired. You just can’t flip a switch and say “Ok I am going to walk away from racing.” Can you?
I know what you are feeling! I understand. I have been in your shoes! Really. I have tried to walk away from racing a few times, especially after my daughter was born. I tried my hand at other things – even designing gift baskets! But little by little I started sticking checkered flags in those baskets and my heart and soul brought me right back to working in the sport I love and know best.
But I had the critics too – my family, my husband, they did not understand the time I put in to it, they did not understand when I was not making any money – just putting money into it, and not getting anything back. They looked at racing as just a money pit, a constant struggle to keep your head above water.
But eventually I overcame all that after working through my own personal issues – changing my mindset and looking inside myself, making some changes both inside and out – and found my niche in the sport, building a business that is realistic to me and non-stressful for my family. I am making a living doing what I love to do – helping racers!
I am here to tell you, that you can over come these issues you are dealing with by a few simple things and find your own racing success – these are things that helped me and I want to share them with you:
1.) Take a step back and look at your situation. Make a list of all the positives and all the negatives. If the negatives out number the positives, it’s time to make some changes.
2.) Sit down with your family or significant other and have a heart-to-heart talk. Explain to them that this is your passion in life and their emotional support for your passion is important to you. Explain that you are going to come up with a plan that you can afford to do and set realistic goals for yourself in the sport – that will no longer cause financial and emotional hurt with them. Tell them you want to work out compromises that are fair to all of you. Explain that your plan includes them being a part of your support system – that you need them cheering you on and believing in you, instead of resenting you. Explain if you have this resentment from them, will not be able to even reach the realistic goals you have set. Resentment just breeds more resentment. Explain that you cannot help the way you are about racing, any more than they can help the things that they love and are passionate about. Then stick to the plan and show your emotional and financial support back to them equally for the things that they love, enjoy and are passionate about.
3.) Take some time off from racing or cut back so you have more time in-between races to ‘re-group’ and heal financially. Pick a limited schedule to run based on the events that pay the most and have the most exposure.
4.) Learn how to market yourself and take the time off to get good at this and focus your time, energy and invest some of your racing budget in promoting yourself in a bigger way. Share your passion publicly, make it fun and this will attract sponsors into helping you and your racing efforts.
5.) Consider making a change in where and what you are racing. Do your research. Look for more affordable classes that have good purses and seem to get more exposure and sponsors.
6.) Re-Invent yourself. Look inside of you and also talk to others who know you best and find what you also are really good at in racing. It may not always be just driving. There may be other great talents you have that you can utilize to make a career in racing or create a side service to help fund your racing – such as building shocks, carbs, body work, or even a marketing related service such as social media management or writing press releases for other racers.
7.) Do not act desperate. Desperate people do not move forward and do not attract sponsorship – or are not even attractive to anyone that could possibly fund you. You may get someone to feel sorry for you once or twice, buy your tires for a weekend, but that is only a band-aid and not a long term solution.
8.) Change your mindset. Think positive. Positive people attract more positive people. Rally these positive people around you. Get that positive group together and you be the leader. Recruit them into working together as a team for the common goal. Brainstorm sessions while having a BBQ or hanging around the shop and treat them to a pizza party. Listen to their ideas about helping you reach your goals and be open and trusting to letting them go out and do them on your behalf. You cannot do everything yourself. Great leaders are also surrounded by great people. Great leaders know how to delegate and know how to motivate and reward those who help them.
9.) Don’t be hard on yourself. You are only one person, and you are unique. What you see other racers doing may not always work for you. Set realistic goals with realistic time frames to achieve them. Just because you did not win a championship this year, or are not racing at a certain level at your age because somebody else is, does not mean that is the end of the world. Slow cooking at a constant temperature makes the most delicious meals. Stay focused, steady and consistent. Rushing things before you are ready or can afford it is just a recipe for disaster.
10.) Make racing fun for your family, spouse or significant other. Include them in what you are doing and give them something fun to do and make them feel important. Understand that they are making a sacrifice for your passion and dreams. If your family dynamic has changed, such a birth of a baby or a brother or sister in college – understand you have to accommodate these changes. You may not be able to afford what you did before or race every weekend. BE OK WITH THIS. It’s not the end of the world, you are still racing, just adjusting to the situation. If you have family events that are special, and you have to choose between racing that day or attending that family event, show them you will choose that family event for them. They see you making these efforts, they will be more willing to support you. One or two days missing a race will not make or break you. But missing something special with your family is something that could cause more deep resentment, hurt and pain for the ones you love. Just causing more resentment against your racing. Make it fun and bring the race car to your family reunion and use it as a time to rally more support.
11.) Be realistic. Understand that family responsibilities come first. Paying the house payment comes first. A college education comes first. Do not rob Peter to pay Paul. Do what you can afford, plan out a budget, set easy goals and meet them one at a time.
12.) Fall in love with the marketing side of the sport. Work it just as hard or more as the driving side. Good marketing attracts support and funding. The more funding the more racing. The more funding – the happier everyone is – especially you!
I am asking you all to apply these simple steps – I know you can make these changes! I know you CAN do this and set yourself on the right path. I had to make the changes. I had to cut back on all I was trying to do; I had to have my heart-to-heart talks. I had to make the compromises that were in the best interest of my family. I had to fall back in love with marketing myself. I had to set realistic goals. I had to take the urgency out of what I was trying to do for my racing business and calm down and put things on a slow and steady temp. I had to write out my plan and look at what was working and what was not. I truly started treating racing as a business and planning and working it this way, not just something I loved to do. I included my hubby and daughter in my racing business – bringing them to the track with me and having them bring their friends while I was working so they could enjoy themselves. I approach everything with a positive attitude and have attracted equally positive people around me in my business to help me.