How I Became a Race Car Driver: Skip Barber Racing School and Fiat

I’ve given up trying to make sense of my days and what I’m finally going to be when I grow up. I once told my children that you have an entire lifetime to be all the things you want to be. Don’t give up your dreams just realize you don’t have to be everything at once. I think that’s what happens when you start making wishes and dreaming big dreams for yourself. You start to believe anything is possible, just like you did when you were a child.

If you gain anything at all from this story, I hope it is this: If you can visualize something for yourself, believe it’s possible, then you can begin to pursue it and become it. Nothing is out of reach. You may have to train or make modifications but nothing is impossible. Like the time I went to Skip Barber Racing School courtesy of Fiat, and became a racecar driver for a day.

Yes, you read that correctly. I WENT TO RACING SCHOOL. Spoiler alert: I got track certified thru Skip Barber Racing School at Cresson Motorsport Ranch this April. I’m officially the coolest parent in the 7th and 9th grades.

My decision to go to racing school was worth a good deal more than street cred I earned though. Leading up to this training, there had been a good deal of discussion about driver safety both with our teens and in my professional circles. My occupation is different than the average office worker in many ways. One is that my office is often on four wheels, with the goal to keep those wheels on the road. My colleagues and I often take turns behind the wheel during the drive programs. While I’ve always reminded my children about the importance of assessing the experience and abilities of the person driving them, I had been taking skill and experience as a given in my own circumstances.

After an article was published in my industry regarding a serious accident due to the inexperience of a driving partner, my attention was focused on improving my skills for myself and those that would be driving with me. I am a firm believer that we will only react to the point in which we have been trained. I was beyond thrilled when this opportunity was presented by Fiat hone my skills on the track.

I wasn’t completely new to racing but this would be my first time in the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth and Fiat 500 Abarth on the track. The school began with an in-depth classroom session going over the racing line and vehicle dynamics. Then we headed over to skid pad training and autocross course. After lunch, the program rapidly picked up the pace with the thrill of high-speed lead-follow laps on the race track!

I learned an immense amount that day both about the vehicles I drove and about myself. Not to mention how extremely grateful I am to Fiat for this experience. I left more confident, with sharpened skills and it allowed me to show my children how important it is to stay teachable. We always have new skills to learn or improve upon. I truly believe everyone could benefit from a day or two on the track- with proper training- and if you happen to be driving the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, you are certain to have a whole lot of fun!

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Interested in attending a driving course to sharpen your skills? Click here to learn more about the offerings of Skip Barber Racing School near you.

To learn more about Fiat/Abarth: click here

What To Do After You Win An Award

Iris awards 2018

After you win an award or receive recognition for work in your industry you need to have a plan of action. This advice comes from trial and error experience, not instinctual knowledge. The first time I won an industry award my instincts (and a major case of impostor syndrome) told me to stay busy deciding where to hide my award because I was certain someone was going to take it back as soon as they discovered their mistake. No one gave me a list of what to do next.

Maybe you’re like me and are just so shocked to have won you didn’t think about what comes next. Maybe you are lucky enough to have an on-staff PR team to shout your praises and have already lined up your media interviews…. lucky you. For the rest of us, here is an action plan of things to make the most out of your win.

YOU WON! Now what?

Issue a Press Release: Make the most of your win by writing and distributing a press release to national, local and online media outlets. Don’t know how to write a press release? Someone in your circle does. Just ask. Pay someone to do it for you. It is worth it. This will help you share your story and gain traction radio/podcast, online, print, and news outlets. Share it with everyone everywhere.

Pitch Your Story: Now that you have your release ready it’s time to pitch. Use this win as an opportunity to tell your story of growth, success and future goals. Think local television, radio/podcasts, online media, and print.

Update Your Websites and Bios: Adding this win to your bios, both professional and personal, allows others to see immediately that your work has been recognized as the best in its category. Do not let imposter syndrome keep you from doing this. YOU ARE A WINNER.

Change Your Email Signature: Never forget you are a winner. This is the last piece of information someone will read in your communication. Remind them they are communicating with a winner.

Thank Your Supporters: No one becomes a success on their own. Make sure to spend time sharing your press release and a personal note/email of thanks to friends, family, team members, donors, colleagues, and customers who supported you along the way to this win.

Share Across All Social Channels: If you haven’t already, get out in those social media streets and tell everyone about your win. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat; wherever your community lives, post about it there. If you’ve already told them, tell them again how you are still so excited about winning. Make sure to continue to use the association hashtag to stay part of the conversation.

Leverage This Win For Future Business: Show me the money! Recognition is wonderful and it is an honor to be nominated but it’s time to put this award to work. Add this win to your press/media kits. Don’t forget to add this to LinkedIn as part of your professional portfolio as well.

Hopefully, these action items help you keep the momentum going forward as your heart and head are still swirling in a cloud of “What just happened?” You did it, friend. You did it!! Now keep doing it. You ARE good at it.

It Took a Stranger to Remind Me How Much I’m Loved

romantic couple in love at Christmas

It’s typical of my husband and me to recount the events of our days with each other as we prepare dinner. Last night was no exception. He began sharing that a woman had inquired about me during a networking event he hosted earlier that day. I asked who it was and he mentioned he didn’t think we’d met before. This caught my attention immediately and I’m almost certain I physically reacted with a noticeable pause and a quick head turn.

Questioning the State of Affairs

Why was a stranger asking about me? Was she fishing for info on the state of affairs in our home? Well, sort of. Truthfully, it was a much more innocent encounter.
Because my travel schedule does tend to generate a good amount of interest, he thought maybe her question was curiosity on where I would be traveling next. He went on to tell her the new projects I’d been working on and briefly mentioned the next few travel adventures.
As he wrapped up the dialogue, the woman offered a lovely compliment. Although we had never met in person she “imagined me to be an amazing woman”. My apprehension was put at ease and was flattered. I indicated with a playful side glance in Randall’s direction that it was in his best interest to agree, which he wholeheartedly did.


What she said to him next reminded me just how genuinely loved I am.

“I love asking you about your wife because, although you can’t see it from your perspective, you stand up a little taller, your expression relaxes and your eyes sparkle when you speak about her. You can’t help but smile when you say her name and when you talk about all that she is doing. It’s a genuine pleasure to hear a husband be so proud and supportive of the work of their spouse. I ask you about her because it lifts me up too.”

Stunned. Humbled. Honored.


Perhaps this story would have been better suited for Valentine’s Day or an Anniversary. Honestly, I didn’t want to write a Valentine’s Day story about much of anything this year. I was feeling robbed because we both worked instead of celebrating. I wasn’t a very good sport about it.

I love silly, romantic holidays. Not because I need an excuse for flowers or a date night. I recognize that I’m lucky to be loved in those ways a majority of the year as well. I just love Valentine’s Day in the same way I love Thanksgiving. It’s not that I’m ungrateful the rest of the year but I think of Thanksgiving as a day to be intentional about aligning your thoughts and actions with all the blessings you’ve been given. That’s exactly how I feel about Valentine’s Day too. Aligning my thoughts and actions with love for those closest to me.

I think I’d just been in a little bit of a funk since then- a series of other factors were also in play contributing to the funk (more on that in an upcoming post). What I didn’t expect was that a complete stranger would pop into our story to change all that with a few words and a reminder to us about us how important is that we love one another out loud.

Loving one another isn’t just about fleeting moments of intimacy and words of adoration. It’s about how we love one another with our whole selves; our thoughts; our expressions and posture; the way we speak of one another, especially when they aren’t in the room.

Being that I’m on leave for 11 straight days of travel, those words from a stranger couldn’t have had better timing reminding me how much I am loved.

Unlearning Unpretty

Sometimes it takes a close friend challenging the way you’ve always seen something to realize you’ve been looking at it all wrong, for so long. And suddenly everything is changed. #unlearnchallenge

At the beginning of the year, my friend Megan challenged our circle to examine things we may need to unlearn. Things that were maybe who we once were but had outgrown now. Things that were limiting our current growth. Or maybe things that we once chose to believe about ourselves because it was more comfortable to believe that lie than to be brave with our truth and stand out in a crowd. Sometimes the ugly truth is that we camouflage ourselves with average because unique is polarizing and lonely.

I knew instantly what my thing was. I knew because every time I went to share it or say it out loud, it caused this lump in my throat and I could feel the warm tears rising behind my eyes. I couldn’t even type it to her in a dm- I just didn’t want to let this thing go. Megan and I have a special friendship (one day I’ll tell you about how we met. It’s a pretty special story), one that has been honest and vulnerable from the second we crossed paths but every time I went to type it out to her, I couldn’t. I had to get comfortable with it myself first.

I sat with my journal and went to write it and couldn’t. I was so frustrated with myself at how I was letting this get in my way. One Saturday while I was getting ready and Randall was waiting on me, with a little waver in my voice I casually let it out.

“You know what I’ve always wanted ?”

“What’s that?” He asked. I’m always bringing up ridiculous things when I get ready.

“I’ve always wanted to be pretty.”

He tilts his head at me like a confused puppy; “You ARE pretty. I tell you all the time. Why would you say that?”

“No, I’m cute. Cute is different than pretty. Cute is the girl next door. Cute is the best friend. Pretty is the girl that everyone stares at when she walks in a room. Pretty is who you ask to prom.”

We banter a little back and forth, laughing at the idea of being our age and still being concerned about who would ask us to prom. It’s ridiculous in theory but in practice Unlearning Unpretty was exactly the thing it was time to unlearn.

Unlearning Unpretty

How exactly do you unlearn something anyway? The first step is to be vulnerable and transparent enough with yourself to examine what outdated or untrue information you have been holding on to and believing about yourself. Give yourself some space to examine it and then share it.

The sharing part is tricky. You get to say who, when, and how you share it. Like me you may not want to let it go at first. After all it’s probably been with you for a long time. Based on my conversation, I’d been believing that I would never really be pretty for at least a couple of decades. Sharing this thing allows you to release it and make room for the truth that serves you now. The truth that fits and looks good on you today. That other thing is just hanging out in the back of the closet and it’s time to ask yourself if it’s bringing you joy or still serving you. It’s not.

Now for the other hard part, because all of this is hard, you have to start practicing your new truth. For me, I had to start practicing pretty. What does practicing being pretty even mean anyway???

Practicing Pretty

A million people could tell me I was pretty but I had to believe it. I had to walk in the room with the confidence of feeling pretty. It meant that I didn’t deflect eye contact, feeling embarrassed if I was noticed walking into a room. It meant I didn’t change out of an outfit I loved because it might be too noticeable.

Through this whole process, I realized I have been playing it small or shrinking back in a number of ways not just my physical appearance. I’d been afraid to be noticed, to stand out. I had been dimming the thing that made me unique, amazing and spectacular.

I found a phrase, a mantra that helps remind me to never play it small: “Don’t shy away from the spectacular”.

Don’t shy away from the spectacular.

I guess maybe the truth is I don’t want to just be “pretty”. I’m certainly looking for more out of life than a prom date. I want more than to be admired for fleeting subjective qualities. What I really want is to be comfortable being spectacular. I want to be so comfortable walking in a room with all eyes on me, that I can deliver a gaze directly back that offers everyone else in that space a deep breath to be exactly the kind of spectacular they are created to be too.

What I discovered through this unlearning process is that being pretty means more than just soaking in the attention. The kind of pretty I wanted was the kind that was spectacular and confident enough to empower others to be spectacular too.

3 Life Lessons Learned from a third-grade crush, Mr. Big and Champagne Hot Tubs

Today I bought a rib-knit, long sleeve, snap button Henely in my favorite shade of green. I have no shame in telling you how glad I am that this look is back – I look awesome in it, although that isn’t really the point. There is something comforting and a bit nostalgic about it which, lucky for you will reveal some pretty embarrassing truths from my past. Let’s just call these “Life Lessons” as the post goes on, shall we?

Life Lesson no.1

Life Lesson: Sometimes you just have to walk away from what isn’t meant for you even when you don’t know what’s next.

In life, you can learn pretty quickly not everything will be as great of a fit as my new henley. In third- maybe fourth- grade, I had the biggest crush on this boy named Shaun. (Shaun, if you read this please know admitting this possibly as embarrassing today as it would have been back then. I hope you find it flattering.) It was a small class, like twelve students and most of us would go continue on to high school together through graduation.

Spoiler alert: I was not the cool kid in class. Glow-up is a real thing.

I was not athletic. My name did not, and still does not, end in an “i”, “y”, or “ie”. Prior to the internet and wayyyy before snapchat, this was a very important marker of social status. My parents refused to buy me the jumbo-sized cans of hairspray so I could craft my bangs do that half-up/half-down thing or perm my obnoxiously straight hair. In my efforts to achieve cool status, I finally talked them into buying me a pair of jeans with zippers at the ankle. Still, the coolest denim in the world couldn’t repair my heart the day I sat next to Shaun on the bleachers and he said: “Could you just NOT sit by me?”  Ugh.

I was crushed. I couldn’t say anything. I just got up and walked away. I knew from the tone of his voice that it just wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes you just have to know to walk away from what isn’t meant for you even when you don’t know what’s next. Even when it hurts.

Life Lesson no. 2

Life lesson: Don’t pattern your romantic aspirations after the lyrics of rock ballads. Especially ones sung by groups like “Mr. Big”.

Fast forward to 7th grade. There was a new girl at school this year. She wore thick dark eye liner and black t-shirts of bands I’d never heard of. She was a year or two older than me and a little sarcastic but friendly. A few weeks after school started her father passed away. She didn’t know many people yet and even though I didn’t know her very well I wanted to go by and offer my condolences. My parents were very strict and I wasn’t usually allowed to visit the homes of friends without knowing their parents but they agreed to drop me off for an hour or so anyway.

The door was open when I got to her house. I walk past a group of adults to find the group of tweens /teens in the back dining room by the staircase. I didn’t really recognize anyone else. I think they were mostly cousins and friends from out of town. There was rock music playing of some of her dad’s favorites: Lynyrd Skynard, Kiss, ZZ Top, Aerosmith… none of them were familiar to me. I hadn’t been allowed to listen to any of them before… sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, you feel me?

After a little while we all sat down on the floor and someone turned the radio on. On the other side of the circle, someone started passing something. It wasn’t my vibe so I just passed it along. Whether it was the passage of time or a solid contact high, I don’t remember who was there, what we talked about, or even if we talked but I vividly remember the song that was on the radio at that moment. It shaped what I wanted from relationships for a long time (insert healthy doses of embarrassment here…deep breath *sigh*) Mr Big – Just To Be With You 

As I sat there listening to the lyrics, I remember thinking THAT was what I wanted in a relationship. That was how I wanted to be loved or wanted or whatever. I mean, clearly ” Why be alone when we can be together” is solid reasoning, right? And sooooo non-judgmental. He didn’t care that he wasn’t the first or the last… he just wanted to be the next and he came offering to make her smile. Smiling is still my favorite. In retrospect, I had a fair amount of relationship wisdom to gain. This perspective, that environment was all so new, I held onto those lyrics for a long time. I got my heart broken a fair number of times as a result. Don’t pattern your romantic aspirations after the lyrics of rock ballads, especially ones touting the moniker “Mr. Big”. If you have to tell people you are a big deal, you probably aren’t.

Life Lesson no.3

Life lesson: Keep examining your dreams. If you don’t, you might arrive only to wonder why you wanted that in the first place. Especially if that dream was a hot tub in the shape of a champagne glass.

As I mentioned before, we didn’t have the internet growing up. What we did have was 1-800 numbers. People were not as adverse to talking on the phone back then. I was left at home alone a lot and loved getting things in the mail. Fun fact: This is where my love of travel began. Anytime I would see a travel destination advertised I would furiously write down the number and muster my most grown up voice to call and request a free travel packet be sent to my house. This went on from age 9 until I was in high school. It was awesome. If I’m honest, I still enjoy recieving an occasional visitors packet now and again.

In the back of every travel packet would be advertising for other travel destinations. Almost every one of them would feature a heart shaped tub or or huge champagne glass filled with bubbles “Come get away to a relaxing getaway in the Poconos!”

I had no idea where in the country the Poconos actually was at the time but in my mind, this was the ultimate luxury and class to aspire to. When you could get away to spend time in a tub shaped like a champagne glass you had arrived. Well…..last year, I was invited to a workshop held in….you guessed it… THE POCONOS! Years had gone by without me remembering my dream of champagne glass hot tubs. As I was driving up to our cabin I suddenly remembered this story and shared it with my friend, Clarissa. She immediately googled and realized that the very resort I had idolized for so long was only 20 mins away. We agreed to stop by and get a tour on our way home.

What happened was a hilarious series of events that truly will need its own blog post. What I can tell you is that it was not in any capacity the luxury dream I had imagined. Let me show you with a few snapshots and hopefully you’ll understand.

If you made it to the end of this BRAVO!
It’s funny what how a little nostalgia can conjure up a lifetime full of memories and how small moments can shape us and grow us. I’ve only just shared these stories with my family yesterday. Hopefully they mean something, made you smile, or gave a little more insight to my life. It definitely did all three of those things for me.

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out how we imagined, hoped or romanticized it would but that doesn’t mean it isn’t leading exactly where we ought to be.