Twenty Minutes

When I woke up today, the last thing I honestly wanted to do was reflect on points in my life that had come and gone.  However, I was reminded by an awesome colleague and even better friend of this:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

 

It really resonated with me because of something my driving instructor at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas said to me.  He said that he wouldn’t have been telling me I was doing good things if I hadn’t been.  For a long time, people telling me I had been doing things well just to be nice.  Brandon, my instructor, also said that he had been around way too long to tell people constructive things for the sake of being constructive.  Looking back at it all now, it really makes me wonder just when I had been doing good things or just being told I was doing good things.  However, that is something for another day.

 

What I really wanted to get off my chest is that we seem to only really encourage or impart words of affirmation only when we’re on the journey.  We feel that the need to encourage one another only has punch when we’re about to do something important, risky, or unknown to us.  I can agree that those three instances can be critical when it comes to being encouraging.  However, it is disheartening to see it practically in only those three instances.

“For the most part, we have to work on small things right now.  So, if we’re having to work on small things after six laps, that’s pretty good.  It’s a car you don’t know.  It’s a track you don’t know.  It’s a driving style you don’t know.  After six laps of doing pretty good… getting to where you’re working on small things, I think that’s pretty good, right?” -Brandon, my instructor

Halfway into the experience and to have this spoken to me by an experienced driver was… for lack of a better way to put it, encouraging!  Here I am… no competitive racing skills or experience under my belt and just there for the sake of getting to drive a $120,000 sports car… to be told, by an experienced driver, that is what I would need to work on to progress?  That’s what we all want!  We want to be naturally in a position to have to make subtle adjustments instead of these whopping, life changing ones.  All too often, we take those whopping ones for granted because we don’t necessarily appreciate the journey we took to get there.

As I’ve gotten a little older since then, I’ve learned to really enjoy not abiding in being stationary.  Just because I haven’t left Canyon, USA doesn’t mean that I’m stationary.  There’s always a place to go or a thing to do wherever you are.  Lately, I’ve been exploring my faith and what it means to me.  I’ve been exploring my talent for composition and creativity.  I’ve been lots of places that a car could never take me.  But, for those twenty minutes in that Nissan GT-R, I found that a car could take me places that I wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise: a place that showed that encouragement is a journey all its own and not merely just a stop along whatever path you happen yourself to be.

 

So, as I find myself sitting here reminiscing about the things I have experienced and the things yet to come, I am encouraged.  Because at some point, somewhere down the line, there either has been or will be a Brandon telling me that regardless of what point I exist in, I have done good things and those little things will resolve themselves with understanding and application.  It’s kind of a shame that at first, I didn’t believe him.

 

Now, I do.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction serves you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

I can still hear “Turn now!  Brake now!  Push through the apex!  Go, go, go!!!!” in my head.  A lot better now because I can appreciate what it means to be encouraged through proper guidance.  Wherever you are, I pray that you’re doing well and that the same drive and passion for racing and instruction continues to serve you in areas of life that extend far beyond the track.

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-Kevin

P.S:  Thanks, JP!  As one racing fan to another, “Boogity!  Boogity!  Boogity!”

 

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Survival Instinct

I can happily say that the last five days spent in Las Vegas has been some of the most interesting and life-enhancing time of my life.  Not just on a professional level but on so many emotional and personal levels.

 

It’s amazing just how much we take advantage of how much we trust people, or the lack thereof.  I have not met one person who gave a damn about how many welds it took to assemble their vehicles frame or how many separate parts it was.  I have met people who just cared enough to believe that their airbag would deploy in the event of an impact.  Those are the types of people I’ve spent too much time around.  I’ve spent too much time and energy with people who prepare for the impact and don’t pay attention to what they’re doing with their lives is made of.

 

This whole weekend I’ve spent in Vegas was centered around being trained… being trained in the art of living… being liberated from the things that keep us down… being liberated from the idea that we JUST CAN’T WIN…  Life isn’t a track meet.  It’s a marathon.  As cliche as that really sounds, it’s the fucking truth.  It’s not about winning.  It’s about finishing.  We, as a people, have learned that just because we crash and suffer doesn’t mean that the race is over.  It just means that we’ve crashed and suffered.  It isn’t the end.  It doesn’t have to take us out of the race.

 

The major point I’ve had just blitzed on my mind and heart was that we HAVE to trust the process and have the faith and courage to see things through.  It’s so easy to jump ship at the first sign of trouble.  It’s just as easy to let fear and doubt assume authority over our way of thinking.  It’s INSANELY DIFFICULT to trust the Captain when everything is perceived to be out of control.  The Bible says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains… and how many of us honestly and truthfully believe that?

 

Johnny Wimbrey described to me that in a world where we are born to win, we choose to lose.  I didn’t get what he meant at first.  I’ve heard him speak before but it didn’t resonate with me until I took into account really why I was here.  I came to Vegas because I believed that it would be good for me.  I had faith that I’d learn something while I was here.  I wanted to understand what it really meant to be a leader… a Captain.  First, he had to explain what it meant to win.  Winning isn’t about having the most points or being first!  Winning is about finishing whatever it is that you started.  More to the point, winning is a CHOICE.  I’ve chosen to lose… to not finish… so many times… and it stabbed me in the heart when he said this.

 

The thing about losing… is that we choose to take the road with the less amount of risk that benefits us the most.  It’s the human condition… it’s who we are!  The irony about all of us is that we won our first race.  I’m here, aren’t I?  It isn’t anybody else!  Ten billion sperm and you finished!  YOU ARE THE SOLE SURVIVOR!  Don’t tell me you weren’t born to win!  That’s exactly why you were born!  I’m a life long racing fan… I always have… and I’m fairly sure that I always will be.

 

To be honest, this whole thing scares the shit out of me.  I’m so used to doing things myself and listening to my own thinking that it makes me dangerous.  I admit it.  I am dangerous.  However, I am truly blessed to surround myself with a slew of mentors and other leaders who can outmaneuver my line of thinking.  It’s a humbling and enlightening experience to be in the presence of those who can do this.  In multitude, there is safety… the more surrounded you are, the better.  And I didn’t appreciate the idea of being surrounded by these types of people until yesterday afternoon.

 

On Thursday, I went to Exotics Racing out at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  I got to ride in a limousine!  That’s pretty cool!  If you haven’t, I highly suggest you do.  It’s totally worth it.  Anyway, I thought I was a pretty decent driver with a little bit of a lead foot.  When I got there, it was a totally different ball game.  After the ten minute safety briefing, we took a lap or two in a discovery car to get a feel for the track… then it was time to get in the car…

 

We all have talents that can bring us to the game but most of us don’t really appreciate or even trust them to get us into a position to play.  I was scared as all hell to get into the car.  I had to ask my instructor how to open the door!  How stupid did I feel?  How awkward was it for me for him to adjust the seat for me… I couldn’t even make myself feel comfortable.  It was the most nerve-wracking experience ever driving a car.  Through my every insecurity about driving a $110K car, my instructor didn’t judge me.  He didn’t say I was a bad driver.  He didn’t say I was a coward… All he said to me was basically, “Trust me.”  So, I took a deep breath and said to myself, “I’m here.  I’m in the car… I paid to be here.”  But, the most important thing I said to myself then was, “Brandon, I trust you.”  I had to get rid of every excuse I could have given to get out of the car and remember why I decided to get in.  Not because I felt obligated because I paid $560 for the experience (and yes, I do mean that) but because I wanted to be there.  It was my dream!  I fantasize about that car!  If that car was a woman, I would have done unspeakable things to her!  But, I digress…  I had to make the decision to not let my fear of failure and consequently a fiery disaster persuade me that I had a chance to do something great and worth doing.

 

So, he explained to me some of the nuances of the car and what we would be doing and asked me if I was ready.  Hell no, I wasn’t.  I was nervous, excited, and giddy all at the same time!  I didn’t wanna ruin it by becoming ungrounded from the thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy the journey.  Well, the drive in this case. 🙂

 

So, he told me where to go and off we went.  I had to trust that the training I had received prior and all of the in-car guidance I was getting would see me through to the end and the faith that Brandon wouldn’t let me fail.  The fact that I’m writing this is proof evident that the man did really well in keeping me safe.

 

I had a great time driving the Nissan GT-R.  My dream car… my fantasy… More than that, I lived a dream.  It’s proof evident that dreams, no matter how big or small, can come true as long as you courage to believe and the faith to stay on the train.  Instead of coming up with a reason to not drive and feel like a loser who welcomed failure, I made a choice to face my fear and let my “WHY” be bigger than any “NO.”

 

And because I chose to win, I’ve crossed three items off of my bucket list just by being here in Las Vegas.  Driving the GT-R,  Getting to actually race.  And just be in Las Vegas!

 

Johnny Wimbrey said, “Don’t argue for your limitations.  People will let you keep them.”

 

Because I chose not to argue the things I couldn’t do, I was given the freedom to do the things I could.  Nobody can speak to you like you… and I spoke to myself and said, “I can do this.”

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And because I had the faith and courage, I finished the race.  I won!  But, I had a lot of help from someone who said to me that it’s the little things that kept me from doing better than I could have.  Even then, he still said I did great and I believed him.  He didn’t abandon me.  He didn’t give up on me.  He didn’t let me fail.  Through the ups and down, we stood on the train and arrived at the end together.  I didn’t just win… WE won… and it was much more fun when it was the both of us and equally as frightening as when it was just me…

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Believe me when I tell you he got onto me… the video, if I’m nice enough to post it, will demonstrate that.  He believed that I didn’t have to be talented to be successful… just willing to learn and be coached.  Even then, the track wasn’t dry and there were water puddles.  Talk about unfair!

 

I was hanging by a thread.  Instead of cutting my thread, I chose to connect my thread to people who could strengthen my resolve and have the faith… to have faith.

 

There is better.  There is a possibility to win.

 

Trust me.

-Kevin