Business Insider: How I learned, struggled and saw personal growth on the racetrack

It’s important to reflect on your mistakes, but Jeffrey Scott says it’s not worth dwelling on for too long. (Photo: Arand/E+/Getty Images)
It’s important to reflect on your mistakes, but Jeffrey Scott says it’s not worth dwelling on for too long. (Photo: Arand/E+/Getty Images)

Every couple of months, someone reaches out to ask me how they can become a consultant.

That question allows me to reflect on the journey. On the one hand, I’m sure they have great experiences. On the other hand, becoming a consultant isn’t a simple choice. We make it look easy, but it’s taken a ton of hard work.

Over the years, I’ve coached more than 350 firms in the landscape business, and it’s shocking to look back at what I thought I knew, even just a couple of years ago. The key to success in this business is never thinking you have arrived, and constantly challenging and educating yourself.

Coaches need coaching

When I decided to put up my shingle, I hired the very best “coaches coach” I could find. It’s critical for anyone who wants to be a great coach to receive great coaching themselves.

I’ve continued this commitment in my personal life, hiring coaches to help me progress in my hobbies, including car racing.

Learning isn’t pretty, attempting to master a new skill can be stressful. I was reminded of that challenge recently when I visited a new (to me) motorsports track: Eagles Canyon Raceway, north of Dallas.

It’s a difficult track for the newcomer: very hilly, curvy and long. It was especially difficult because I rented a car which I had not driven before.

The emotions of struggle

I experienced all the emotions of struggle and failure over that two-day weekend. The driving coach I hired is the best in the South, and so my learning curve was steep.

On day one, it took all my effort to try to grasp and visualize the track. There were times when I ended up in a total fog, literally forgetting where I was, unsure if the next turn was to the left or right. I made many mistakes, which isn’t pretty when you’re driving 80 mph.

Was my coach rolling his eyes, or was that my inner voice feeling the shame? Shame and doubt can rear its head when you fumble terribly. We ended up skidding off the track once, no crashes and no need to spend the insurance deductible.

In my downtime (between runs) I studied the video footage. I pushed myself to memorize each curve, trying to internalize the rhythm of this track.

Over dinner, my coach pulled out the day’s video and showed me the recurring errors and the big opportunities for the next day. He seemed to enjoy poking fun at me, but it was all in good spirits. There is no room for being thin-skinned when you want to run with the best.

Taking the next step

On day two, with each mess up my coach would say “Ok, back at it! Get your head in the game. GO, GO, GO!”

By the middle of day two, I was passing cars and one guy stopped by to say thanks for the cat-and-mouse chase. When I passed him towards the end, I lost him. He couldn’t keep up.

The lesson I learned here is that the struggle is real and can even be dangerous. The shame, however, is made up. It’s in your head. There is no time to stop and feel sorry for yourself. Shake off the missteps and just keep going!

Take time to reflect. Yes, take time to reflect with a professional coach, someone who can guide you to learn and adjust your strategy. It’s very hard work. But I promise if you keep at it, soon others will be following you.

The winners in business and life are those who surround themselves with top people and persevere. Eventually, you will reach a top level and enjoy being that leader. But don’t breathe your own exhaust, and never stop learning.

Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners. To learn more visit GetTheLeadersEdge.com

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