Sports car racing recently taught me an important lesson about why I am not living my life correctly.  Honestly. I was watching a Formula 1 race, which is about eight races into the start of the 2017 season. These teams have yearly budgets of 450+ million Euros to spend on development. They use this money to bring developmental upgrades to their cars to make them accelerate and corner faster.  All of this money is used, hundreds of millions of Euros, to improve lap times by tenths of a second. Tenths. Per lap.

I know what you’re thinking; they’re throwing mountains of money at incremental changes. That’s true! But what we haven’t mentioned yet is part of that budget goes towards the development of next year’s car. While in-year developments may only bring tenths of seconds in improvement, year-to-year developments can bring a jump of 3-4 seconds per lap. What an enormous difference!

It’s time to take this mentality and apply it to living life every day. Just like these racing teams have a yearly budget, so do the rest of us. We live with only limited resources available to us every year: time, energy, and – of course – money. It’s time we start moving away from day-to-day incremental changes and start developing ourselves for significant year-over-year improvements.

While day-to-day might just be developing a new strategy for prioritizing time, a yearly goal could be to learn a new coding language or how to use Photoshop.  These larger goals help build entirely new skill sets, just like the racing teams build entirely new cars yearly, in order to further outpace their competition.

It’s time to shift away from always giving 100 percent to getting through the day’s to-do list, and time to start investing in yourself to accomplish yearly development goals.  Whether you can start with 1 percent or 20 percent of your daily resource allotment, the important goal here is to start.  Don’t look back at your previous few years and be disappointed by the lack of overall advancement; instead view the tremendous opportunity ahead to add, craft and develop yourself into a more effective, knowledgeable and capable person.

You may not be on the top step of the podium this year within your career. However, if you start your own yearly development program, you will have a chance at that trophy next year.

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