We are not Formula 1 drivers but sometimes we can pretend to be. Winning a Grand Prix is extremely hard and drivers need to focus on a lot of details. They need to be peaking at the right time. It is the same for us: when we need to do our best work it is important that we know how to create the perfect circumstances for success. These circumstances are very personal and details matter.
To finish first, you must first finish
There is a famous saying in Formula 1: “to finish first, you must first finish”. You can drive an amazing race, way ahead of your competitors, for one and a half hours but when your car breaks down in the last corner in the final lap you will not be the winner. You may have dominated 99% of the race but you will not be on the podium spraying the Champagne and people may forget you even took part in the race. Some things we cannot influence. Cars can break down and tires can go flat. But F1 teams always need to focus on minimizing the risks that these things happen.
Drivers and teams in Formula 1 can only be successful when they are able to create the perfect circumstances for success. They always need to find the ‘sweet spot’ where everything comes together. This is usually a very short window of time.
The race weekend usually starts on Friday with the first practice sessions. That is the moment the drivers will really feel how the car behaves on the track and they try to find the perfect setup for the race. The day before the Grand Prix the drivers have to qualify for the race. Their position on the starting grid on race day depends on how quick their fastest lap is during this qualifying session. On some racetracks it is hard to overtake other cars so sometimes the qualifying session is even more important than the race! And during qualifying details matter. Because the difference between the car on pole position and the second place on the starting grid can be just a few thousands of a second. Less than the blink of an eye!
the window will close soon and the opportunity will be lost so timing is crucial
What details? For example, when you are driving your qualifying lap: the tire temperature needs to be perfect, the amount of fuel in your car needs to be just right, the brakes must be warm (but not too hot), all the other cars on the track need to let you pass full speed etc. There are probably a thousand more details like this that can really make the difference between pole position and second place. That is why the teams and the drivers work closely together to create the perfect circumstances for success. The window will close soon and the opportunity will be lost so timing is crucial.
We are not Formula 1 drivers (at least, I’m not…) but it is the same for us. To be able to do our best work, we need to create the perfect circumstances. And for us details also matter. The window of time may be a little longer than that of a F1 driver doing a qualifying lap but it is still pretty short.
Do you know what your perfect circumstances for success are?
That is why it is important that we know how to create the perfect circumstances for success. So we can do our best work. And those circumstances may be different for you than they are for me. Personally, I need to be: well rested, in a good mood, in a quiet environment (with the right music), a little bit hungry, with enough daylight, in a room with a cool temperature, using the right computer and apps etc. A morning run also has a positive effect on my ability to focus. Do you know what your personal ‘perfect circumstances for success’ are?
the next time we have an important project or a big meeting coming up it can’t hurt to treat it like a ‘qualifying session’ for a Grand Prix
Do you pay enough attention to all these details? I know I don’t. The good news is that we don’t need to, at least not all the time. But the next time we have an important project or a big meeting coming up it can’t hurt to treat it like a ‘qualifying session’ for a Grand Prix. We should really pay attention to all the details that matter so we can create the perfect circumstances and use the short window of time to do our best work. Be aware that the window will close soon and the opportunity will be lost. Be sure to peak at the right time!