This weekend I saw Juan Pablo Montoya win the 99th running of the Indy 500. It was a bucket list experience with the help of some good friends.

This weekend I saw Juan Pablo Montoya win the 99th running of the Indy 500. It was a bucket list experience with the help of some good friends.

African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. 

This weekend, three friends and I drove to Indianapolis, Indiana, on a pilgrimage to participate in the greatest spectacle in racing.

Oddly, throughout whole experience the wisdom of  “go far, go together,”  kept spinning in my head.

Bucket list

I have trouble accepting gifts. It’s a character flaw I’m constantly working to improve.

Thanks to my friend Kristi, I checked the Indy 500 off my bucket list.

Thanks to my friend Kristi, I checked the Indy 500 off my bucket list.

So when my friend and colleague, Kristi Olafson, gave me her tickets to the Indianapolis 500, I was surprised but hesitant. Four premium tickets to one of the world’s most iconic races are expensive! The gleam in her eye made the offer irresistible.

Three lessons on leadership

Juan Pablo Montoya won the race, but he wasn’t the favorite. Although he won at Indy more than a decade ago, he’s been on the rocky road of racing ever since. 2015 was only his third start in 13 years. His victory highlighted three leadership lessons for me:

  1. Persistence pays. Not only was Juan Pablo out of racing recently, he was almost out of the race last Sunday. His car was damaged in the first crash of the day. And after a pit stop penalty, he found himself in 30th place mid-race. But somehow, he fought his way into the lead pack with five laps to go.
  2. Nothing significant happens alone. When you see the pit crew storm the race car, you appreciate the value of teamwork in racing. The ownership team has to be aligned with the racing team, which has to be aligned with the race day team, which has to be aligned with the driver. I just love Juan Pablo’s quote: “I’m just so happy I’m the driver,” he said with joyful humility after the race.
The 2015 Indy-winning team.

The 2015 Indy-winning team.

  • Together, we can go fast and far. With my immediate family wrapped in commitments back home, I found myself searching for friends to make the Indy journey with me. I could have made the trip by myself…but that would have been weird. John, Drew, Tyler and I became our own special race team – driving all night to get there, and driving all night to get home.
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    My pit crew: John, Tyler and Drew Martin shared the driving and the memories from the 2015 Indy 500.

    In reflection, I’m also realizing how important the “bucket list” exercise is for leaders. The simple act of dreaming out loud about the experiences I aspire to create before I “kick the bucket,” has been life altering…in a good way! Kristi only heard me express my Indy 500 desire once.

    Goodness pays!

    Good leaders dream out loud about life changing experiences. And they work together to help each other create something special.

    Please share with me: what’s on your bucket list… and how can we help you?