Danica Patrick has had an unprecedented driving career. Entering a sport that is predominantly male, she has not only been a top female contender—but simply a top contender overall. She has won or come in the top 10 for several notable races, and she is regarded as the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing.
According to Forbes, Patrick is the fifth highest paid athlete in the world. She has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated several times and was even voted sexiest athlete by Victoria’s secret in 2007. Danica has done so many things right in her career—here are 4 key takeaways on success highlighted by her life as a driver:
Stop Worrying What Other People Think
“I’m very determined and for the most part, I don’t care what people think of me. I like being different.”
As an entrepreneur there is no doubt that you will encounter resistance. In fact, the more passionate you are about a project or idea the more likely you are to experience negative thoughts explaining why it’s better not to pursue it. On top of this, sometimes even when they mean well, friends, family and colleagues can discourage us from our passions.
While there can be great value in the advice from others, you shouldn’t let negative feedback shake you from your dreams and goals. There is no doubt that Patrick was criticized for participating in a sport that has very few females. Her choice to move to England from Illinois at age 16 to begin a career in racing was no doubt a huge decision to go down an unusual path. Her dream to become a driver was not accepted by everyone in her life. Still, she pursued a passion and achieved impressive results.
If you have a dream—don’t ignore it. Listen to what others say and take in their feedback, but don’t let their words control your life. Another great quote from Patrick is, “I always wanted to be the first me, not somebody else. And I always wanted to be better than them.”
Control Your Responses
“No one is in control of your happiness but yourself.”
Life is a constant stream of events. They started before you were born and they will continue long after you’re gone. Perhaps it seems obvious, but many don’t consider that we have very little control over many of the events that take place in our lives.
Entrepreneurship is full of events that you will have little control over. A team member can drop the ball or a product launch can get off to a poor start. You can’t change those events once they’ve happened—and focusing on them too much isn’t productive. By shifting your focus from the event to your response, you gain more power. For example, you could blame others, get angry, freak out—or you could take a deep breath, sit down and start to figure out how to improve the situation.
Danica Patrick has never won a NASCAR race. Not achieving desired results hurts sometimes. Taking the time to focus on your emotions and using them to help you achieve more positive future outcomes is in your best interest. Anger, blame, and negative self-talk will get you nowhere. Calm reflection, strategic analysis, and regrouping hold much more strength.
There Is No Failure, Just Feedback
“Take those chances and you can achieve greatness, whereas if you go conservative, you'll never know. I truly believe what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Even if you fail, learning and moving on is sometimes the best thing.”
It’s time to reframe your mentality about failure. It doesn’t exist unless you believe it does. If your product or service isn’t meeting your sales goal, that’s just feedback that something needs to change.
Some of the biggest moments for growth in entrepreneurship and in life come from setbacks and disappointments. Danica Patrick is quoted saying, “Failure definitely makes you appreciate success that much more. I really don’t see something as being a failure if you can learn something from the experience and use that information to make you better.” The importance of this mindset can’t be stressed enough.
Danica Patrick is also quoted saying, “Sometimes it takes looking at the past to really be able to move forward and learn from it.” It may be uncomfortable to examine problems, but it’s necessary for growth. Learn from the past and use it to your advantage.
Adopt a Growth Mentality
“ I know what it takes to be fast and I feel like every year I learn valuable lessons about how to be better the next time. ”
This connects closely with the previous point. Growing up, most of us are taught to focus on results. In school we’re taught to focus on grades. As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing solely on outcomes.
This is not to say that results aren’t important—of course they are. However, shifting your focus to constantly improving your process has so much more power. If you’re constantly reading, learning about your target market, improving your marketing strategy, and building better products and services, the results will come.
In Danica’s last race in Miami in November, she came in 24th place. Instead of focusing on that outcome, like she says in the quote above, she’s analyzing it and making decisions on what to do better for next time.
The Bottom Line
Danica Patrick didn’t become a widely respected female racecar driver by following a traditional path. Listen to what the people in your life say, but don’t let them decide what dreams to pursue. Instead of focusing on events you can’t control, think about your responses and how you can respond to achieve the best results for you. Remember that there is no failure, only feedback—disappointments are learning opportunities. Finally, although results are important, consistently thinking of ways to improve your processes is the best way to get those results.
I believe that finances don’t have to be stressful and that solid financial strategy and mindfulness are the keys to successfully reaching your business goals. For more information visit www.thewealthyyogi.com.
About: Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, aka "The Wealthy Yogi" is a finance expert, author, investor, and yoga enthusiast on a mission to help people achieve their goals through wealth building, entrepreneurship, and staying balanced while juggling it all. If you want to receive ongoing articles like this one, you can sign up for her newsletter here.