I attended the London Classic car show at Olympia today, as an annual pilgrimage to geek out at the engineering and power of the cars of yesteryear through to the current day. I always feel inspired, particularly with the level of commitment that these owners and businesses bestow on these great marques so that more and more generations can see first hand the progress that we have made in a relatively short space of time. 

Whilst walking around the venue, I noted a display dedicated to Bruce McLaren, who tragically died whilst testing one of his own cars at Goodwood 50 years ago this year. 

His story has really made me think about Vision and Leadership. His determination started at an early age, when he, at the age of 9 spent two years in traction battling Perthe’s Disease, which left him with one leg longer than the other and a permanent limp. He soon became a force to be reckoned with and after moving through the ranks, got his chance in Formula 1, where he became the youngest winner of a Grand Prix at the age of 22 in 1959. (this record stood until Hungary in 2003).

In 1963, McLaren’s vision was to create his own racing team. His drive and leadership saw the marque line up in a Grand Prix just three years later in 1966. His impact on those around him is best summarised by one of his team; Howden Ganley.

“If Bruce had walked into the workshop one morning and told us we were all going to march across the Sahara desert, we’d have immediately downed tools and followed him”.  

This energy, vision and ability to inspire others is vital when running a business. Having clear goals, confidence and the ability to set clear intentions allows us to focus. We avoid being caught by fear, fear generated from our thoughts. With intention and visualising those goals we can begin to experience what that achievement would mean to us. 

When we are in this state of mind as challenges present themselves, we remain calm and either directly resolve or amend our course to move towards our intended destination. If we don’t have clarity of intent we begin to question our ability. We may begin to find ways of talking ourselves out of our intended path. If we start to deviate, we lose direction, if we lose direction those that look to us for leadership also start sowing seeds of doubt and we lose the momentum. Simply put, if we are trapped in our thoughts we lose the chance to grow.

As leaders, it is ok not to know the answer to an immediate challenge, but we must remain centred on our intention in order to find the right road to follow. Without this we become lost and our intentions become clouded as does our judgement. 

Thank you Bruce McLaren for this timely reminder of being in charge of our own destiny, with clear vision and intent.

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