Over the last few years I’ve had a keen interest in motor sport to the point where a few years back I bought a car and have been racing myself. Well maybe not racing, but trying to keep up with the pack… and not crash!

I had an interesting conversation recently with a bunch of experienced drivers over a coffee at the track. These gentlemen were all very successful business people (they need to be to fuel their $150,000 a year hobby) and they were drawing comparisons between businesses and driving.

It went something like this.

On the track you practice and practice and practice to go faster and faster and faster and be better than the last lap. As you take the same corner over and over again, you learn the line. You learn the best way to maximize your power in and out of the curve, and how to tie that to the next corner and the next and then how to be most efficient on the straights. You do this to the point where it becomes second nature and you can concentrate more on the traffic around you than the track.

In business you do the same.

You go to work each day and look for ways to improve your service. With each customer greeting you look for better ways to maximize the sale and get the most out of each transaction. Then you look for ways to tie this together with the other business skills you have acquired and be more efficient in the way you market and run your business.

And then all of a sudden, it rains!

The track is wet, there are new obstacles in the way, and for some reason at the exact same time you forget all of the basic skills you have been learning for years. Your concentration is thrown, you start to react to things happening around you on the track and the stress level starts to peak. ‘If only it didn’t rain, I had this nailed, I wish those other cars would get out of the road, why couldn’t it rain on someone else, or on another day!’… it’s all running through your head. Then you start to settle into the groove and adapt to the new environment and make changes accordingly and you’re back on track.

Sound familiar?

When faced with obstacles or changes in business don’t get flustered and react without thought. Slow the process, get back into your groove, keep a level head and go back to focusing on the basics!

We sometimes forget the things we’ve learnt over the years and dart off in different directions looking for something that in many cases is right under our noses, in the very same place we left it when we first learnt about it.

In a quiet moment grab a coffee and reflect on some of the things you’ve learned at seminars, conferences and meetings you’ve been to, or some of the books you may have read. Remember some of the key points. It’s amazing what will come flooding back to you. Make a list to yourself as these things appear in front of you and then match the list to the things you are doing in business today. Do the lists match?

Many of the things we’ve learnt are all still relevant and are all still very important elements to help us drive our business forward.

If you think you’ve already ‘changed gears’, then slip it into overdrive!