The car fought back as I wrestled with the wheel to push the screaming NASCAR down into lane one before taking the second turn at Chicagoland Motor Speedway in Joliet, IL., at 140 mph.
NASCARs do not come equipped with power steering (or brakes) and I was still getting used to the bubbly rumble of its engine, the sticky heat trapped in my helmet, and the energy it took to aim the car.
Civilians can pay for the privilege of driving solo in actual NASCAR vehicles at the speedways throughout the country. And for a few minutes (five to eight) get to feel for what it is like to drive at speeds of up to 155 mph.
I Am Going To Die
“Why would anyone allow me, a middle age man with questionable reflexes who drives a Prius, behind the wheel of a race car and drive about 150 mph?” kept racing through my mind during training and waiting for my turn to drive.
Those thoughts melted into a mix of terror, exhilaration and extreme focus as I shifted into fourth gear and transitioned from the pit to the apron of the track. After that, I don’t recall breathing – just my mind spewing a string of expletives broken up only by the voice of a spotter giving me instructions through my earpiece.
After making it off the track and out of the car alive, I was elated that one more item on my personal to-do list could now be crossed off.
The Power Of Experience
I have rock climbed, rappelled, played with dolphins, whitewater river rafted, sat with people as they died, kayaked to a bioluminescent bay, hunted poisonous snakes, eaten meals from street carts in developing countries, and stumbled upon a mamma bear and her two cubs while hiking alone in Wyoming.
These and other stretch experiences provide context for the more mundane days and activities of daily life. Benefits of pushing your boundaries include:
- Confidence to handle adversity and unexpected situations (i.e., “If I can climb a 150-foot vertical cliff without soiling myself, I can make a presentation on short notice without soiling myself”)
- Understanding there is much more to life than your daily work routine
- Inspire and educate yourself
- Positive reinforcement to learn and do new things
- New experiences add to our creativity
Not that you have to risk life or limb to push your boundaries. Your list could include a camping trip, finally read Moby Dick or relearning how to ride a bicycle. Put your list together and start making it happen and see the difference it makes in you and your work life.
Gregory Alford, MS. Psy., is founder of Accelerated Coaching & Consulting, LLC.