There's nothing quite like hearing the words "I'm sorry to tell you that we can no longer continue our relationship" come from the lips of your entrusted Sponsor, Team or Young Driver Program.
The opportunity that you were enjoying yesterday has been taken away, your tomorrow has become the unknown and it is one hell of a scary place to be.
You have this sick feeling inside and your whole mind becomes clogged full of hurtful questions that do not serve you. No matter what reassurance your parents or supporters offer you, you cannot escape the spiral of pain that you are in.
Welcome to every driver's nightmare; the moment you realise just how tough this sport is and how it will smash your soul to pieces if you are not prepared.
After the Storm
The moments after a storm has past are crucial in all contexts of life, you losing your funding or opportunity is no different. The way you react and pick yourself up at this time is vital.
This is what we are talking about here, we are not interested in the story you have of what happened, instead we are looking to what happens next and how to start your comeback.
This is not some templated way of coping with difficult times, instead you are listening to someone who has been both sides of this scenario.
I have been the driver who has signed his dream contract only to have someone unfairly take it away on the eve of the season. Plus I have also been the person who has delivered the killer punch to a driver's career by informing them that we can no longer pay for their racing.
Let me tell you that both of these scenarios crushed me and gave me many sleepless weeks.
So with this in mind it's time to give back, it's time to give light to those drivers who are going through dark times and to show that as a human you have the inner spirit and strength that can overcome anything that some Motorsport Executive could ever throw at you.
Your Comeback Formula
Ok so you have had the crushing news that you have been 'dropped' or cut out of something vital for your racing, it's done, there's no way of getting it back, whatever you had has gone!
Well after decades of researching successful humans I have split the Comeback Formula into 5 steps. These steps show the common traits that connect people who have had to overcome huge challenges and life shattering news, from sportsmen like Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan to parents who have had to deal with the loss of their child.
Let's get on with this, here they are:
Step 1) Rock Bottom
This is the phase where you are in reaction to the so called 'bad news', it's happened and you are devastated, your initial reaction can be on the verge of depression, self sorrow, anger, resentment, etc.
Your reaction is nothing but an emotion that most expresses the way you feel, this may be the way you already react to anything that doesn't go right in life, even when you get a speeding ticket, but it still shouldn't be ignored.
If on the way home from hearing your news you want to shout out loud or cry in the car then pull over and let rip (obviously do not do something silly that is going to harm you/others or get you in trouble).
Experience the human right to express yourself, something has happened and you are seriously p**sed off about it, let that out, the worst thing people do in these situations is bottle it up and ignore what's really going on. If you do not express it then you may find that it resurfaces later in life or even worse kills your self confidence.
Some people do not need to react in this way because they are used to these setbacks or are not emotionally driven but if you are then again let it out.
Friends and family will advise you to look forward and stay positive but if you are not ready for that and you need time for everything to settle then do not rush this phase
Step 2) "That's It!"
It's time to find your tipping point, the moment when you finally decide that you have had enough and you are determined to turn this all around. You are sick of feeling sorry for yourself and you are ready to kick some back side.
The motivation that comes from painful times is very powerful, it is up to you to direct that energy you have towards massive change.
That's the point to get to, once a human is in this mindset they wake up inside and can shift the Earth. We are at our most powerful when focused and driven with a purpose.
The situation you are in is nothing but a wake up call, not your downfall.
Step 3) A New Meaning
Once you have hit rock bottom and you feel ready to open a can of whoop-ass on the racing world it's important to take from what happened and make it improve you.
Come on let's be honest now, you know deep down that the upsetting news you had could have been avoided in some way, or at least you had a small feeling that things were not going well before the news was delivered. If so then great, because next time you are in a similar situation your senses and memory will help you avoid or prevent the same happening again.
This bad experience has already contributed to a new / better you, it has exposed flaws in your game and opened your eyes to the areas you need to improve on if you want to win at this sport.
This has all been a huge lesson / gift that some day you will be grateful for. This is what we call - Change The Meaning Change The Feeling!
You are not tricking yourself, instead you are seeing the experience for what it really is, everything that happens to us serves us no matter how hard it is to see at the time.
Step 4) Your Plan of Attack
Let's use this new energy now and direct it straight into what you are going to do. You are stronger and more intelligent now, so what would a stronger and more intelligent version of your former self do next?
If there was a way to turn this all around (there is always a way) then what would that be?
Write this down right away.
Who can you ask for help?
What actions need to be taken?
What things can you learn that will help you?What areas do you need to improve both on and off track?
Answer these questions and quite quickly you start to come up with your plan of attack.
You see what needs to be done and the type of person that will go all the way this time, or at least closer to what you want.
Step 5) Repeat Until
You will spend your life doing this, you take the hits, you learn from them and improve, then you apply the teachings and keep going, that's life and that's how the successful among us operate.
You are fully capable of being the one that we look up to, you just need to believe it and then take the actions. The rest will sort itself out.
Everyone has hard times, it's life.
In fact if you were to bitch and moan about how hard done by you are because you lost your sponsor, but if you were telling your story to a starving mother who cannot feed her dying child you would soon realise that your problem is pathetic and self adsorbed.
No matter what you are going through, your problem is only as big as you make it in your own mind. You can overcome anything as long as your heart is still beating.
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