Troy Haz­ard re­calls how a car rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence taught him a les­son about life and why it’s nec­es­sary to think more than one turn ahead.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - Troy Haz­ard

TAKE A STEP back in time with me for a mo­ment, back to a time and place in school and a mo­ment when you were asked that ever-im­por­tant ques­tion by a guid­ance coun­sel­lor or a teacher: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

Do you re­mem­ber the ques­tion? Do you re­mem­ber what your an­swer was? I do. I wanted to be a rac­ing driver! I mean, how hard could that be, to make a liv­ing out of sim­ply driv­ing fast? I was 32 be­fore I got into my first race car, 42 be­fore I bought my first race car, and 43 be­fore I learnt that I was a re­ally lousy race car driver!

It took me a hand­ful of busi­nesses to re­alise that if I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, then there was no way I could work out what the busi­ness would look like when it grew up.

In­ter­est­ingly, it was my rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that taught me this very valu­able les­son.

I was do­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at Syd­ney Motorsport Park (for­merly Eastern Creek Race­way). I was hav­ing a shock­ing time – I was six sec­onds off the pace. As I re-en­tered the pit lane af­ter the last ses­sion of the day and parked the car, my race in­struc­tor and drive part­ner called me over and said, ‘Here’s your prob­lem; you’re fo­cused on turn one as you’re go­ing into turn one’. Con­fused, I said, ‘Of course I am; I’m do­ing 185 kph with hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars of ma­chin­ery breath­ing down my neck.’

‘That’s where you’re go­ing wrong’, he con­tin­ued. ‘You’re fo­cused on avoid­ing the ac­ci­dent, not win­ning the race. You know in­tu­itively and in­stinc­tively how to take turn one; you’ve done it a hun­dred times. You need to be fo­cused on the strat­egy of what you’re go­ing to do in turn four as you en­ter turn one.’

And then the penny dropped. This was not just about my driv­ing; this was also about my life. Ev­ery day I would wake up and fo­cus on what I had to do that day. It was all about the turn right in front of me, the ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen, and never about win­ning the race.

When we are so fo­cused on go­ing faster we are some­times wash­ing off the very speed we crave. The con­scious­ness of liv­ing in the mo­ment over­whelms our abil­ity to vi­su­alise what the im­pact of to­day’s de­ci­sions are on the fu­ture.

Talk to any race car driver about speed and you’ll get the same an­swer: smooth equals speed. And the only way to find smooth is through the strat­egy of win­ning the race, not avoid­ing the ac­ci­dent.

A sin­gle mo­ment at a race­track changed the way I think about busi­ness, about life, and about the fu­ture. I saw that if I wanted to make a change in the way we did busi­ness I first had to make a change in my life.

I needed to un­der­stand my per­sonal pur­pose, if I was ever go­ing to give the busi­ness one.

So I took a week off. If I was go­ing to work out what the fu­ture held for me then I needed to have a clear head and the space around me, where the very day to day I was try­ing to avoid did not clut­ter my vi­sion of what could be with the fo­cus of what was.

Over the course of the next few days I started fu­ri­ously to write down what I wanted out of life. When I was sit­ting in my rock­ing chair in my twi­light years, what would I look back on and say ‘wow, I’m glad I did that; those were the things that de­fined me as a hu­man be­ing, that gave me pur­pose’?

What I found was that with per­sonal pur­pose and an un­der­stand­ing of what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was much eas­ier for me to de­velop the busi­ness plan that would sup­port that life and that lifestyle.

Now I had a new pas­sion for what I was do­ing in busi­ness, be­cause now the busi­ness had a pur­pose. Its pur­pose was to pro­vide me the re­source, the funds and the op­por­tu­nity for me to achieve my per­sonal pur­pose. Now the busi­ness was work­ing for me; I was not work­ing for it.

It’s an easy mis­take to make as busi­ness lead­ers. We’re pretty good at writ­ing plans, set­ting tar­gets and cre­at­ing met­rics in the busi­ness to help us achieve our ‘goals’. But what we re­ally need to ask our­selves is – why? Why do we do what we do? Is this what I was meant to be when I grew up? If not, then what am I go­ing to do to change that po­si­tion with pur­pose?


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