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Add The Right Fuel

creativity fuel May 10, 2023

My daughter Bailey recently had an awesome experience taking part in a pinewood derby race through her involvement in a girls after school program in our local community. On our way to the event, the morning of the race, I asked her, somewhat in jest, what she used to fuel her car. Without hesitation, she answered, “gravity, creativity, and a little sparkle.”

If you know Bailey, that pretty much sums her up. Her pinewood derby car wasn’t the fastest, it wasn’t the sleekest, it wasn’t the strongest car on the track, but it was an accurate and excellent reflection of who she is right now. She’s not the fastest, the sleekest, or the strongest, but she gets after it with total courage, she’s always moving forward with creativity, and she has a knack for adding an ample dash of unabashed sparkle, when applicable.

From the get-go, for this particular pinewood derby project, she committed to the process, set aside time for design, made her car with creativity and care, followed directions to the best of her ability, relied on her instructors when needed, and fell in love with the entire process rather than being obsessed with the final outcome.

Speaking of outcomes, it was a double elimination derby race and Bailey’s car lost quickly in her first two races. Not wanting to focus on the early elimination, I followed up my “what fuels your car” question with “what was the best part of the experience?” Her answer, without hesitation, was:

1. Creating the car on my own.

2. Sharing the experiencing with my friends.

3. Having nice leaders there to help us if needed.

4. Enjoying the competition while having fun.

As leaders, coaches, teachers, presenters, how can we approach our meetings, our trainings, our classes, our presentations with a similar mindset? How can we remind ourselves and remember on the daily…what fuels us? The scenario, the situation, the stakes may be a bit different than a pinewood derby race, but with that in mind, let’s commit to adding the right fuel that honors the situation and suits our presentation style, while serving the process well. In short, let’s use gravity, creativity, and a little sparkle to get the most out of the experience so we can all cross the finish line safely.

On the drive home, with her derby car and a well-deserved design trophy in hand, I asked Bailey, “Are you okay if I write a blog about this experience?” She answered, without hesitation, “Yes, as long as you include the sparkle.”

Deal. Done!

Fuel On. Sparkle On. Game On.

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