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What's Your Personal Fuel Strategy?

March 23, 2021

icon of fuel gauge showing quarter tank left against blue background

A dear friend sent me an inspiring YouTube link about race car driver Danica Patrick. In 2008, Patrick became the first woman to win a major league IndyCar event. Patrick took the lead in the Indy Japan 300, finishing almost six seconds ahead of the next driver, who ran out of fuel in the final turns of the track.  

What’s interesting to note is that in 2006, Patrick ran out of fuel with three laps to go in the Firestone Indy 400.  In Japan, Patrick elected to refuel before she needed to, a strategy that allowed her to win the race.  

So, this notion of a “fuel strategy” got me thinking about how many times I've fallen behind on the final “lap” of a project because I had exhausted all my reserves. Or times when I had pushed myself so hard to get past the finish line that I was left sick, injured or otherwise compromised.  

I thought about the notion of learning from our mistakes, doing differently next time, planning ahead, and building in the structures and support needed to make sustainable versus fleeting change. It can sometimes take a lot more time and energy to return to neutral and get moving again than it would’ve taken to stay fueled up throughout a process.  

So, after learning about Danica and her racing victory, I was left with the following question to consider… 

What's my fuel strategy? 

  • Do I know myself well enough, to know when it is time to refuel? 

  • Do I know when it’s time to conserve energy? 

  • What people, places and things fill my tank or empty it? 

  • And most of all DO I VALUE MYSELF ENOUGH to invest in refueling BEFORE it is required? 

Speaking from my own experience, I know that different times in our lives may require different types of fuel. Heck, different times of day may require different types of fuel! 

It also made me think about how much more time and energy it takes to get moving again when I allow myself to run out of fuel than it would’ve taken to stay fueled up throughout the process. 

Building in time to reflect on what you need now to feel fully fueled is a worthy on-going endeavor. Now more than ever we need, like Danica Patrick, a fuel strategy that keeps us going the distance, making progress on things that matter, and crossing the Finish Line.

By Professor Wendy Yost