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Wednesday Wisdom: The Entrepreneurial Race Track

March 31, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Hump Day, Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Female Athletes

It all began at the age of 7 when a younger sister wanted to try go-kart racing and her parents didn’t want her to do it alone. Although the girl eventually lost interest in the sport, her older sister didn’t and embarked on a joyful, solo journey that lasted thirty years in a male-dominated industry. The more uncomfortable the girl became, the faster she went, both around the track and up the racing ladder eventually becoming the first female to win an IndyCar Championship and to win the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500.

“It was being at the right place, at the right time as well as being extremely passionate and dedicated to the sport,” Danica Patrick explained on a live Zoom webinar on Monday sponsored by Morgan Stanley. The interviewer asked her, “Does winning a race have more to do with the quality of the car or the guts of the driver?” I thought it was an interesting question like comparing what comes first the chicken or the Easter egg? “For me it was about being at the right place at the right time and someone acknowledging my ability to race well and sponsoring a top-rated car for me which was essential to winning,” Danica continued.

Another intriguing question by the expert interviewer struck me. “How were you received being the first female in the ranks when you first started racing and winning?” Danica summed up her wisdom with four answers, “First, everyone has to prove themselves to both themselves and others by achieving success. Second, being a woman definitely took extra effort to be seen and acknowledged.

Third, if a man’s ego got in the way of congratulating me, I just banked my own success in my mind knowing the issue was about them not me. Finally, being a woman brought some advantages and opportunities the men didn’t have. I also learned it is difficult to tone yourself down because others want you to. It takes away ‘you’ and I never let that happen. In the end, never hide what is different about you because it is your advantage.”

Although today’s Wednesday Wisdom might appear to be about race car driving and excelling in sports, it is meant to have you soak in Danica’s career lessons because they should resonate as a woman in business. In fact, Danica is now a successful entrepreneur of two wineries, a podcast, and author so her racing career lessons helped her transition into the next phase. She says, “Joy is in the journey and it took me a long time to realize this and stop my career because the joyful part was over.”

Her final advice, which I loved was, “Buckle up it’s going to be a ride if you want to be an entrepreneur!” Isn’t that what we all hope for – enough excitement, success, and passion to keep us going around the entrepreneurial race track until we are ready to move on to a new ride? 

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