More seat time
“I just need more seat time.” I heard him say as I watched him walk away in disgust. And I knew he was right.
My youngest son races Motocross. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that dangerous, don’t you worry about him. It might be, but I was the one that introduced him to the sport. I love it.
And the track is a great place to spend time. I love the people, the competition, the strategy and the demands it puts on the riders. Best of all…you can’t fake it.
You have to do the work. It requires discipline and focus to win. And there are no substitutes.
He has raced since he was 8. This year he moved up a class which means tougher races and more experienced riders. His gauge going into the season was last year when he finished first or in the top three. And now he sits squarely in the middle of the pack.
It doesn’t feel good.
It’s a punishing lesson that Motocross teaches. Imagine the rider who’s elevated their game and graduated to the next class only to discover “I’m no longer at the top.”
“I just need more seat time.”
It happens in life every day; we just don’t talk about it as “more seat time”. Nothing takes the place for the preparations, the lessons of experience and the confidence we build by completing the “seat time” to make it happen.
There is no substitution, no faking it and no testing out of it. You just have to put in the time to make it happen.
Then why do we sometimes think we can skip it or cheat the system? Maybe it is because some of the work is mundane, repetitive and just routine or too disciplined. The headlines of our careers aren’t marked by these experiences but it is the foundation we all need to build a successful career. These foundations are usually invisible to the naked eye.
How do we begin to make them part of the discussion? What role can we play as leaders to engage in conversation about the importance of a strong foundation for our future?
I try to share my early career as part of my professional presentations, employee orientations and work with student and young professionals just getting started. It brings the conversation to a “real” level very quickly. It also allows me to connect with them at the place they are in their careers. The conversation is always more engaging and thought provoking when they see how I got started and can relate it to their story.
How are you engaging others so they understand the importance of “more seat time” to achieve and sustain their goals in life?