Success Secrets From a Formula 1/Indy 500 Legend!

Author and motor racing legend Derek Daly is a former Formula One and Indy 500 Driver, long-time network TV analyst, entrepreneur, and sought-after keynote speaker.

In this episode of the Salesman Podcast, Derek shares the secrets of the highest performing motor racing drivers on the planet and how that translates to business success.

You'll learn:

Sponsored by:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Derek Daly
Author and Motor Racing Legend

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today's episode of The Salesman Podcast.

 

Derek Daly:

And people often will fall into this, “I can't do that and that's above me.” I lived in that world when I thought Formula One drivers were so far ahead and on such a different plane that maybe I could never get there and I managed to do it.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation I'm Will Barron, host of The Salesman Podcast, the world's most listened to B2B sales show. If you haven't already, make sure to click subscribe and with that, let's meet today's guest.

 

Derek Daly:

I'm Derek Daly. I was lucky enough to be involved in motor racing at the highest levels for half of my life. I then fell into a television broadcasting career. I now do keynote speaking and love every day that I can influence people.

 

The Gap Between Natural Talent and Hard Work in Race Car Driving · [01:16] 

 

Will Barron:

On this episode of the show with Derek, who is a former Formula One racing car driver, we're diving into the secrets of champions, the secrets of high performing individuals like Derek and the individuals he spent decades studying and being around. Essentially, how we can go from being average, being pretty good at sales, and how we've become a champion in our industry. And so let's jump into the conversation. How much of the gap or the seemingly that the gap is, just skills in racing car driving? How much of it is your reaction time, your body, the things you were born with and how much of the gap is things that perhaps we do have a chance of improving?

 

“People often will fall into this, “I can't do that and that's above me.” I lived in that world where I thought Formula One drivers were so far ahead and on such a different plane that maybe I could never get there and I managed to do it.” – Derek Daly · [01:50] 

 

Derek Daly:

I think you're right in saying there is a gap. There is, and sometimes the gap can be filled, but you just have to nudge people along to make them aware of what they can change themselves to fill the gap and suddenly a whole new world can be opened up for them. And people often will fall into this, “I can't do that and that's above me.” I lived in that world when I thought Formula One drivers were so far ahead and on such a different plane that maybe I could never get there and I managed to do it. And so that was almost proving to myself, “Hey, maybe there's other things.” And then when you're young and dumb and you're just reactive and you're doing the best things you can, you don't learn as much.

 

Derek Daly:

But when I went into television broadcasting, suddenly I was behind the camera. Now I had the ability to research. What is this that makes some of these teams so successful and have sustained success? And the beauty of it was, I had access to all the big players. Whether they're by team managers, team owners, racing drivers of the highest levels, I had access to everybody. And so from behind the camera, during research, having access to the stars of the sport, when I asked them, what's the difference? The answers to me were fascinating. And that created a platform for me to become a keynote speaker with a true, I believe, strong message.

 

What Makes the More Successful People Even More Successful? · [03:08]

 

Will Barron:

So a lot to go at here, Derek. The first thing is you use the word and I feel like you used it specifically, the word nudge. Do you find that champions, all these super high performers, whether they are the driver or team principal, whoever they are clearly those individuals are crushing it as well: are they nudged towards success or do they tend to have massive life-changing experience or moments that perhaps open their mind and elevate them to that high level of success?

 

“I think champions are driven. There's an internal driver in them. They get up everyday determined to prove a point for whatever reason. However, most of everybody else who watches and admires those people who can become heroes, let's say, very often they might believe as much in themselves as they should but they may not be as driven as they can be.” – Derek Daly · [03:37] 

 

Derek Daly:

I think champions are driven. There's an internal driver in them. They get up everyday determined to prove a point for whatever reason. However, most of everybody else who watches and admires those people who can become heroes, let's say, at times, very often they might believe as much in themselves as they should. They may not be as driven as they can be. However, they can look at the model of the success and that model can be used to nudge them towards the edges and boundaries of what can make them the very best they can be.

 

The Link Between Incredible Success and Having an Ego · [04:20]

 

Will Barron:

Because it seems like we're talking about ego here a little bit. And if you look at Louis Hamilton, clearly he's incredible and he has a bit of an ego, but then if you compare him to Sebastian Vettel, for example, Vettel seems like someone, obviously I don't know these individuals I'm only talking about how they appear in the media, but he seems more like someone you can go to the pub with and have a pint with, and there'd be less ego involved in a conversation. And I may be totally off on this. Clearly, I do not know either of these individuals, even though I'd like to spend time with them. It seems like, one side ego is a powerful driver, but could become even self-destructive. And perhaps on the other side, there's less ego, but there's something else that's driving underneath it. So, what I'm getting at here, Derek, how much is ego involved in this? Because I guess you've got ego on one side and then a lack of self-belief on the other.

 

“I believe you have ego on all sides of success. I believe even though we may not admit it, we all have an ego and we're all driven to a certain level by our ego.” – Derek Daly · [05:10] 

 

Derek Daly:

I believe you have ego on all sides of success. I believe even though we may not admit it, we all have an ego and we're all driven to a certain level by our ego because we want to prove to ourselves first. 

 

“I think ego is a good thing. It only gets out of whack when it becomes arrogance and it can easily become arrogance and that's when you become most vulnerable. That's when you think you know it all, when in fact you don't.” – Derek Daly · [05:50] 

 

Derek Daly:

Then, we want to get recognised for what we've just won but I think ego is a good thing. It only gets out of whack when it becomes arrogance and it can easily become arrogance and that's when you become most vulnerable. That's when you think you know it all, when in fact you don't. I always remember Michael Schumacher saying, “I learned something every single day.” And Michael Schumacher, to my mind, in my sport, is probably the most complete racing driver that I've ever seen.

 

How to Use Your Ego For Self Growth and Empowerment · [06:31]

 

Will Barron:

For sure. And you're pulling on something here that maybe not the highest level of B2B sales professionals kind of get accused of or wrapped up in, but there's clearly a stereotype of the used car salesperson, which is not kind of what we deal with on this show of being arrogant, having an ego, just being manipulative and it being all weird. Clearly my background is selling to surgeons. You can't do that to a surgeon because these tell you to get out the operating room and you're never invited back in. So there's an element of that just gets cut off the higher the playing field that you are working within. But how do we then use ego as a tool? Someone who's listened to this Derek, how do they go okay, “I'm somewhat self-confident, I believe in myself to a certain extent, but maybe I can feel I can hit my sales target, but I don't believe I could be the CEO of the organisation.” How do we kind of bridge that gap?

 

“It's almost impossible to mandate high performance. But what you can do, is you can create high enough standards and have committed and aligned people dig deep within themselves to see what can be fulfilled.” – Derek Daly · [07:31] 

 

Derek Daly:

Sure. So, let's break that down into bite size chunks. You talk about sales people. They are out on the front line. I mean, everything stops if the salesman stops, right? Let's face it. So whenever I talk to sales groups, and I do speak to a lot of sales groups, I don't go in there and tell them how to do their job. I'll tell them right upfront, “Look, I don't understand. I don't know what you do everyday in your place of business, but let me tell you a little bit about what my business, how it operates on it, and how it gets people to operate at the highest levels.” Now think about this. It's almost impossible to mandate high performance. But hat you can do, is you can create high enough standards and have committed and aligned people dig deep within themselves to see then what can be fulfilled.

 

Derek Daly:

And whenever I talk to these people, I say, “Are you willing and open to actually step out and then step up, even if it's uncomfortable for you to reach for something you've never touched before?” And most of them will say, “Oh yes.” And then I'll say, “Well look, what if you have to be stressed? What if you're forced to grow and it's uncomfortable? Do you think you can get comfortable being uncomfortable?” And I let that flow, because all I'm doing is challenging each individual. Can you be pushed? Can you go to that uncomfortable area? And can you, quite frankly, consider that to be a great adventurous part of your job of being a salesperson? Because if we can nudge the person to be higher, I believe the sales will in fact become higher at the same time. You see what I mean? Selling is the byproduct of the belief system within the person who's actually out there in front of the buyer.

 

Goal Achievement: How to Consistently Make Yourself Uncomfortable and Go Beyond Your Limits · [09:22] 

 

Will Barron:

So, part of the training that we have, and I won't plug it and talk about it too much, but it's called the Sales School. The new version comes with a journal and one of the things that we've engineered into it is the most important task of the day, but then also an additional task we call the bold task. This is something that makes you feel uncomfortable. It could be ringing up the C-suites if you've never dealt with that kind of level of individual before, it could be doing something out of work which will take your mind off whatever problem you've got to so that you can focus on your day job and really knuckle down there. That's perhaps one solution for this problem, but how do we engineer consist, this isn't a word, but uncomfortability into our day to day lives? How do we engineer this so it happens over and over and over without perhaps having someone on our back? That's going to take the shine and the edge off it and perhaps we'll start to resent it at that point.

 

Derek Daly:

Okay. So, if we were about to call the C-suite guys and let's say, it's the number one thing on our list, on our to-do list it's number one, and we don't get it the first day because you're just a bit nervous. And the second day, “Yeah, I'm going to do that first thing in the morning,” and then Wednesday comes. The phone calls that are most uncomfortable tend to fall down, down, down the list, right? In our game, that means you can never be successful because your competition is already way ahead of you because they are comfortable in that space. I break it down and one of the most important things is giving the person the confidence that when he makes that call, he has all the answers. He actually has information that the hope-for-buyer doesn't even know he needs yet, right? Now, how we do that, how we go to battle at the highest levels in our sport, is I break it down into real small chunks.

 

Derek Daly:

One is preparation. And give me just a couple of minutes here to tell you how preparation in our game works. Drivers' lives depend on it, right? Now, when I do my television interviews on the front of the starting grids of the largest single day attended sports event in the world, the fastest motor racing event in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Do you think it's a coincidence that I inevitably see the best painted, best sponsored, best prepared cars right up the front of the grid? And all the mechanics will be there and they're immaculately dressed and they know all the job lists have been taken care of as well or maybe even better than everybody else they are in competition with, right? Now, do you think it's a coincidence? If I walk down to the middle of the grid, I see some pretty good teams there. They're glad to be [inaudible 00:11:40]

 

Derek Daly:

Now all these teams Will, are all looking forward to other teams of people who already demonstrated they've done a better job so far; race hasn't even started yet. Now, when I move to the back of the grid, I inevitably see there's not as much sponsorship at the back of the grid. I don't care if it's Formula One or the Indianapolis 500. I won't see as many immaculately dressed people ready to go. And in fact, very often I've seen people working on the cars on the starting grid of these great races. Now at our big race in America, the Indy 500 do you know statistically since 1911, the fallout and failure race also happens to start from the back of the grid and it goes forward. Because it is directly proportional to the preparation, those people, those teams of people put in before they go against the competition.

 

Derek Daly:

Now, when I tell that story, I say to people, let me ask you a question as regards your preparation for the race you are now in everyday, where do you think you are on the starting grid of the race you are now in everyday? Now, when I say that everybody knows their own personal answer, and if they don't see themselves through the front of the grid, they have all the resources available to them. But the closer they see themselves to the front of the grid, the closer they are to getting on the victory podium, like the successful teams do because of what they did, the work they put in, and it all starts with preparation. So if you find yourself and that key C-suite phone call keeps dropping down the list, I don't believe that you've put enough preparation in to have all the answers lined up that confidently gives you the ability to say, “I'm going to call them right now.”

 

The Power of Believing in Yourself · [13:37] 

 

Will Barron:

I love this analogy because I know for F1, well, I'm assuming for F1, but statistically, if you qualify first versus qualifying 15th or whatever, you are more likely to win the race, right? So the analogy continues into the performance itself.

 

“I don't necessarily put people in a position where they can be the best they can be, “I like to put them in a position where they want to be the very best they can be.” And do you see that word, want? Do you see how that's the internal driver of the desire to drive these people, to be prepared, to have the trust within their people, to have everything lined up? I mean, how many people do you know that say, “Oh, I'd love to lose 25 pounds in the waist. I'd love to go on a diet.” How many people want to do it? I'd like to be successful and I want to be successful. Want is the place where you nudge people to allow them to operate at the highest levels.” – Derek Daly · [14:47] 

 

Derek Daly:

Absolutely. And the further you are down visually, it's like an analogy: if you don't see yourself on the front row of that grid, I'm not surprised you don't make the C-suite call. I'd be afraid to. I wouldn't have the answers either. The more preparation you have, the more confidence you have in yourself to make that call. Here's the thing, in America we have a fellow here called Roger Penske. He runs Team Penske, arguably the most successful team ever in motor racing in America. He ran a Formula One team back in the 70's, John Watson won the Austrian Grand Prix driving for Roger Penske. I consider him to be one of my mentors. If I get the people and I allow the people to do their job, then we become successful. But I saw a quote from him one time. He said, “I don't necessarily put people in a position where they can be the best they can be.”

 

Derek Daly:

He said, “I like to put them in a position where they want to be the very best they can be.” And do you see that word, want? Do you see how that's the internal driver of the desire to drive these people, to be prepared, to have the trust within their people, to have everything lined up? Because if you want something, I mean, how many people do you know that says, “Oh, I'd love to lose 25 pounds in waist. I'd love to go on a diet.” How many people want to do it? I'd like to be successful and I want to be successful. Want is the place where you nudge people to that allow them to operate at the highest levels, and remember a better you makes a better us. If you are over in that element of people who want. It's a great driver for salespeople, it's a great driver for everybody.

 

Derek Explains How Success and Failure Spills Into Every Other Facet of Our Lives · [15:50]

 

Will Barron:

There's something that comes to mind here. I don't know who to link this to. It might be an ancient quote that doesn't really link to anyone individually, but the way that you do one thing is the way that you do everything. Is that the approach that we should be taking to this of, we should be in our personal lives, in our business lives in whatever else we're doing, our hobbies and sports, we should be trying to be not necessarily the best, but the best we can be across all of them? And then that translates elsewhere. So I train in Brazil jujitsu, I do the occasional track day, but I'm terrible, and I'm mostly scared of riding off my car than anything else so we won't use that as an example. But Brazilian jujitsu, I'm constantly trying to learn. I'm constantly trying to better myself. I'm constantly making myself feel uncomfortable.

 

Will Barron:

And I feel like even weird as it's sounds, it just translates to sales and business. I'm less nervous about things. I'm comfortable with some massive dude strangling me. Clearly I'm comfortable on the phone speaking to someone that is a few pay grades above me.

 

Derek Daly:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

Is that something that we should focus on then of even if we just play piano, should we attempt to play piano to the best ability we can? And then that translates to elsewhere in our life as well.

 

“Have you ever heard coaches say practise like you're going to play, play like you practise. If you just waltz through practise, then you'll waltz through the game. So if you practise at the highest levels, if you prepare at the highest levels, if you sell at the highest levels, people around you will recognise how you operate. And when you operate at that level, other people want to be associated to people like that.” – Derk Daly · [16:55] 

 

Derek Daly:

Have you ever heard coaches say practise like you're going to play, play like you practise. If you just waltz through practise, then you'll waltz through the game. So if you practise at the highest levels, if you prepare at the highest levels, if you sell at the highest levels, people around you will recognise how you operate. And when you operate at that level, other people want to be associated to people like that. And that's why the great teams of people keep rising to the top. And Roger Penske, I keep quoting him, but he'll tell you if you don't want to drive yourself, I'm okay with that. There's lots of other things you can work for. Remember the zone of peak performance Will is not a crowded place. And so you have to want to get there, but there can be a high price of entry, because it takes commitment and dedication and sacrifice and trust and an element of risk.

 

“The zone of peak performance is not a crowded place. And so you have to want to get there, but there can be a high price of entry, because it takes commitment and dedication and sacrifice and trust and an element of risk. It takes all that to get onto that zone. But when you get there, people love the results. They see it and they feel it and they want to stay there. And once you get a taste for victory, you want more.” – Derek Daly · [17:40] 

 

Derek Daly:

It takes all that to get onto that zone. But when you get there, people love the results. They see it and they feel it and they want to stay there. And once you get a taste for victory, you want more. And so you see now how it becomes a self driver within people, but you have to believe in yourself ultimately, and you have to strive to be the best you can be. And you never graduate from this class of learning every single day you add another piece. Will, there's no new magical sales tool. There is no new magical way to sell something.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

“There's no new magical sales tool. There is no new magical way to sell something. It's all the basics, but you can tie a different bow around it.” – Derek Daly · [18:30] 

 

Derek Daly:

It's all the basics, but you can tie a different bow around it. And all I do in my keynotes is all I want is for somebody to hear some of my stories and go, “Ah-ha. Now I see, now I get this, now I understand.” And then they begin to just nudge themselves and work themselves. They get a bit of success. They push a bit harder, they get another bit of success. And it doesn't matter if you got lower at the very highest levels, it's the same basic high performance principles.

 

The Things People Believe About Champions and Ultra-performers That Aren’t True · [19:10] 

 

Will Barron:

With all this said, because it seems like not that the initial momentum is the hardest bit. I don't think that's fair to say because you're trying to squeeze smaller and smaller percentages probably with more and more effort as you go along this journey. But I think most people would assume that the hardest part is at the end, and the easiest bit is at the beginning. And I think we can dismiss that. I think it's just constant. And you keep using the word consistent, consistent efforts over months, years, decades to get to the top of anything. But with that said Derek, is there anything that people believe about champions, people believe about the ultra high performers in any sport or business or activity, whatever it is that isn't necessarily true? 

 

Derek Daly:

They probably believe, “Ah, he was born gifted. It was easy for him.” Very seldom do you look at documentaries of great athletes and there isn't a story of hardships somewhere along the line. And there isn't a story that separated them from other people who had equal talent, but didn't have the drive because it's a full package. I remember when Michael Schumacher came into Formula One, he vowed, I will be the fittest Formula One driver that ever lived and he was. Everybody's fit now, but it's based on the model that he showed. He went to tests and he had blood drawn from himself while he's in the car to measure the amount of oxygen in his blood. So he can adjust his diet and his workout to make it more physically fit in the racing car. Now, what do you think that did to his mechanics?

 

Derek Daly:

“Wow. If he works that hard and fast, we better match his effort.” Now they give him the best car to operate him. And then his engineers say, “Man, the feedback he gives us, he's out in the field, he's out in the war zone. He comes back and gives us feedback to make us better. We're going to step up.” Do you see how one drives the other and the rising tide raises all boats?

 

“I'm a great believer in that lots of people are born with talent, but a lot of them fall off when they don't have the desire and the commitment to put in the hard grind.” – Derek Daly · [21:22] 

 

Derek Daly:

So I'm a great believer in that lots of people are born with talent, but a lot of them fall off when they don't have the desire and the commitment to put in the hard [inaudible 00:21:35]. 

 

“I don't care if you're buying something or selling something, the easiest thing to do is give up and walk away. But if you can keep learning a lesson, asking why, wondering why, go back to your team, regroup with them and decide how to be bigger and better and stronger together; it's a formality that the byproduct is success.” – Derek Daly · [21:43] 

 

Derek Daly:

And I don't know a sport like our sport that knocks you down more so than it ever allows you to taste victory. But the easy thing is to give up and I don't care if you're buying something or selling something, the easiest thing to do is give up and walk away. But if you can keep learning a lesson, asking why, wondering why, go back to your team, regroup with them and decide how to be bigger and better and stronger together; it's a formality that the byproduct is success comes.

 

Keep Yourself Accountable and Document the Things You Need to Sacrifice to Achieve Success · [22:07] 

 

Will Barron:

Is this something that we should do Derek in that should we list down the things that we are willing to sacrifice to make it obvious? And I won't speak for you but I'm pretty dumb, right? If I have a list of things to sacrifice that then enables me to achieve something else, if it's done on paper, I can go, “Yeah, that probably makes sense.” And it reduces, or potentially reduces the amount of excuses that I'm going to use of, “That person has this advantage or business-wise they've got a better product or that company's better funded or whatever it is.”

 

Will Barron:

Is this an exercise that we should do? And is it something that we should do regularly? Because I feel like again, if you want to lose weight, that's the classic example. Well, when you write down, I've got to give up crisps, Doritos and a burger on the weekend but I'll have the body that I really want, it makes sense. But in the moment you go, “Ah, I could really have that burger or KFC or whatever it is,” and you get derailed. So going back to the consistency element to this, is this something that we should try and document to keep us on track of over the long term?

 

Derek Daly:

So for me, it becomes a bit of a game. I am a list maker and a note taker. I write stuff down and I'm a visual person. For me, that sometimes that doesn't work with other people, something else might work for them wherever that may be. But I am a list maker and a note taker. Yes, it works for me.

 

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Yourself Motivated · [23:35]  

 

Will Barron:

Is that something you see as a trend, Derek, that champions see things as games. Because this is something that I'm starting to see in the business world, the top sales people, they have so many numbers they want to hit each month, so many calls, they have so many individuals. They turn it into a game inadvertently. I see it in jujitsu which I mentioned earlier on people go, “Well, I know these positions, I know I suck at this.” And they're almost playing a computer game with themselves with weird body contortions and ways of strangling other people. And it must be somewhat similar in F1, Indy, whatever it is of. I know I can shave this here, that there, and I've just got to focus on it for that amount of time. And again, F1 particularly you're just shaving those hundreds off. And it all makes a difference in the end. Is this something that seeing whatever problem we've got as a game, is this a trait of high performers?

 

“One of the most common things you'll hear from people, “Oh, I just set a new goal. My goal for the New Year is this.” And whenever I hear that, I say, “Have you ever set a stretch goal?” They look at you. “What's a stretch goal?” A stretch goal is something that you have to stretch for that might not be possible to achieve, but at least you're stretching to see what can be achieved. And suddenly that word stretch goal put them into a completely different game, completely different competition. But to achieve the stretch goal, you have to have the confidence to even step out to try and stretch for that goal.” – Derek Daly · [24:28] 

 

Derek Daly:

I believe it is one of the most common things you'll hear from people, “Oh, I just said a new goal. My goal for the New Year is this.” And whenever I hear that, I say, “Have you ever set a stretch goal?” They look at you. “What's a stretch goal?” A stretch goal is something that you have to stretch for that might not be possible to achieve, but at least you're stretching to see what can be achieved. And suddenly that word stretch goal put them into a completely different game, completely different competition. But to achieve the stretch goal, you have to have the confidence to even step out to try and stretch for that goal. But I love that one for the stretch goal.

 

Derek Daly:

So let's talk about these high performance teams of people for a minute here, because I use six principles in some of these keynotes and just imagine a racing team. Imagine Louis Hamilton's racing team, Mercedes. They're sitting on the grid and they're ready to go, right? [inaudible 00:25:36] These people has to be that they have to live convinced they could be tomorrow. That convinced you can't relax. You have to be on the balls of your feet, it's in your DNA. You go home at night thinking, “Hey, if we're not super careful and out on the edge, we could be beaten tomorrow.” And when that's ingrained in them, it permeates through all of the team members and they all push each other right? 

 

Derek Daly:

And so you can't just see what that feels like. And then I said, “Understand that critical performance gains occurs right out on the edges and the boundaries of your equipment and your people.” Critical performance gain right out on the edges. And that's where you take the risks. And unfortunately, Will we sort of lull ourselves into this society where, “Oh, don't take a risk because we'll whack you if you make a mistake.”

 

“I'm a great believer in you have to build a foundation of trust within these sales organisations, because if they know you have their back they don't mind stepping out and taking a risk. But if you have their back and they have preparation already in their pocket at the highest levels, I like to call those risks, intelligent risks. And without intelligent risks in my business, I can't be successful.” – Derek Daly · [26:35] 

 

Derek Daly:

I'm a great believer in, you have to build a foundation of trust within these sales organisations, because if they know you have their back they don't mind stepping out and taking a risk. But if you have their back and they have preparation already in their pocket at the highest levels, I like to call those risks, intelligent risks. And without intelligent risks in my business, can't be successful. You're done. If you're passive and cautious, it guarantees you can't be successful. And I happen to think the sales people and the corporations of success in the next decade or so are the ones who will understand we have to keep pushing the boundaries of what might be possible with these intelligent risks.

 

Derek Daly:

And once it starts, Will, people get confidence that it's okay. And so you tried something and it didn't work. It's okay. In fact, my dad always told me the man who never made a mistake never made anything. And so when you get people into that mode and the momentum begins to roll down the road, I just think people rise to the occasion. And then the game, as you mentioned, suddenly the game becomes real and they want to be involved. They want to get up early. They want to be at their desk early. They want to make that C-suite call the very first thing in the morning and see where we go from here.

 

Has What We Consider High-performance Changed Over the Years? · [28:24] 

 

Will Barron:

Final, Derek I'm intrigued. So clearly you've been in the world of motor sports for a little time now. Is there a change? Has over the decades, what we consider high performance, changed over the years? And what I mean by that is it just accelerating and getting more granular and it's getting harder to squeeze it out or has fundamentally what you would consider someone who is a high performer, have they come in and out of the sport? And is it a generational thing or is it again, just something that just in increases in speed and gets granular over time?

 

“The basic high performance principles of how will you separate yourself, how will you prove what you can do? They are all the same, but the window is smaller now, it's more difficult. There are more people with the information that you thought was unique to you 20 years ago, now everybody's got the information. So you have to be more exact and more precise and more driven to be successful.” – Derek Daly · [29:27] 

 

Derek Daly:

So the basics of high performance has never changed. What has changed is the window of success is now much smaller than it ever was before. Twenty-five years ago, we didn't have coaches and managers and we didn't have to work out and do blood tests and know what we know now. So when Michael Schumacher was the one and only driver, who's the fittest man on the grid, now they're all fit. They all have coaches. They all have managers because the information era has provided all that information to everybody. But the basic high-performance principles of how will you separate yourself, how will you prove what you can do? They are all the same, but the window is smaller now, it's more difficult. There are more people with the information that you thought was unique to you 20 years ago, now everybody's got the information. So you have to be more exact and more precise and more driven to be successful.

 

The Ever-growing Gap Between High-performers and The Chasing Pack · [29:50] 

 

Will Barron:

With all that said is now the fact that everything's getting more incremental and it's getting more difficult to squeeze out that last bit of percentage of high performance, is the gap between the high performers in the middle of the pack the same as it was 20 years ago, or is it actually getting bigger? Because perhaps the high performers have bigger budgets to squeeze out that extra little bit more than anyone else does.

 

Derek Daly:

I think if you look around today, the gap is getting bigger. The window is smaller, but the gap is becoming bigger. So, I would caution everybody, don't get caught on the wrong side of the moat here. If the gap is widening, make sure that you are on the right side of the success platform here. And what I tell people is, as my dad told me, when I was 12 years of age and I told him I wanted to become a professional racing driver, he told me you'll be completely responsible for the legacy that you leave in the sport. Which meant nothing to me when I was 12 years of age, but years and years after I realised, and I use it today in keynote speeches, I said, “Everybody in my audience is in complete control of the legacy they leave in their neighbourhoods, in their families, in their jobs.”

 

“You will not decide your future. You'll decide your habits. And your habits will then in turn, decide your future. Are your habits aligned with your own personal goals or stretch goals?” – Derek Daly · [31:37] 

 

Derek Daly:

So anybody that's selling anything to anybody ask themselves in five years time if there was a book written about you, what will the chapter be on how dedicated and driven you were to be the very best you can be? Did you want to be the very best you can be? And once you float those type of questions, people realise, “Wow, okay, I'm in control.” And I say to people, “You will not decide your future. You'll decide your habits. And your habits will then in turn, decide your future.” You let that float and ask them, “Are your habits aligned with your own personal goals or stretch goals? And then are your habits aligned with the goals of this company here?” And they can't hide, it's right out there in the open and they have complete control of what they do and the success that might come their way.

 

Will Barron:

What a way to wrap things up. My framing on that, this is almost like a mantra I tell myself, Derek, and it goes along the lines of: you are the hero of your own story. And I know it sounds ridiculous, as I say that on a podcast as we're kind of pitching this for salespeople to help improve their sales performance. But that's what I think about. I think about if this is some weird joke and there's loads of people following me around with cameras, and I don't realise it is; The Truman Show or whatever the film was that kind of went along with that. Would I be happy when the curtains are pulled away from me with the results that I'm having? And if the answer is no, then you need to, pun intended, you need to get it into fifth gear or take things up a notch, right? And that's how I have to frame things up, but it seems similar to the way that you kind of framed this up with the context of the F1 and F and Ls.

 

Derek Daly:

And the beauty of it is we're all in complete control of our actions every single day.

 

Derek’s Advice to His Younger Self on How to Become Better at Selling · [33:18]

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Love it. Well, with that Derek, I've got one on final question mate. So I know you're not a quote unquote salesperson, but everyone has to sell kind of throughout their career. So I'm sure you will have an insight on this. So, my final question is: if you could go back in time and speak to your younger self, what would be the one piece of advice you'd give him to help him become better at selling?

 

Derek Daly:

Dear Derek, if I was to genuinely look back now, what I did in my younger days is I acted emotionally rather than adding intellectual knowledge to it. So I was very much instant reflex. So it's okay to slow down, don't react emotionally, add the intellectual part of it because it'll give you a much more solid foundation. That's what I would say to the younger Derek if I had the chance to talk to him.

 

How Emotions Played a Part in Derek’s Success · [34:09] 

 

Will Barron:

Love it. I love it. And with that, Derek, would you say that emotion though, is what gives you that fire and that's what perhaps got you to where you were?

 

Derek Daly:

Yeah. See I think you're right. Yeah. Yeah. Because my emotion was matched to a laser selfish focus that so few people have done this, but I'm going to try and dedicate everything I can to make it happen. And sometimes that was perceived as being arrogant, sometimes it was perceived as being abrupt and abrasive, sometimes it challenged relationships, but in the situation I was in that's all I knew and I had to do it. And despite the pitfalls I fell into, I'm still glad I did it because it was me proving to myself what could be possible, what might be possible out on the edges of your belief system.

 

Will Barron:

For sure, because the reason I ask is I feel like sometimes it's really intoxicating, you can get people on board if you've got that fire, that emotion, clearly we've got to keep on the right side of being arrogant perhaps. But I see that when I look at the people I look up to in business order, the F1 and the sports side of things, they do have that little bit of spark.

 

Parting Thoughts · [36:02]

 

Will Barron:

And I bounce back between the two of perhaps being too logical and not saying what I want to say, and getting revved up. And then again, especially the younger Will, it was a similar kind of scenario I reckon, but I wasn't an F1 driver. So clearly was not as successful as yourself, Derek, but I was too quick to shout my mouth and be bold on certain things. So clearly there's somewhat of a balance here, but mate, I've really enjoyed this one. I want more of that Derek, I want you to tell us a little bit more about, I guess the keynote that you do, the work that you do and where we can find out more about everything that you're up to.

 

Derek Daly:

Sure. And so it's easy to find me derekdaly.com, D E R E K D A L Y dotcom. I do keynotes about high performance behaviour and high performance thinkers because that's what my sport always demanded. My sport made high demands on people so I love to use those analogies. And I do probably 25 a year; I love to do them. I was just in Germany last week, I'm in Monaco at the end of April, but I'm one of the lucky ones, Will because I got to live my dream. And then I got to parlay my dream into television broadcasting. I had no formal training, I just fell into it.

 

Derek Daly:

A bit of Irish blarney went a long way in television broadcasting. And that literally led me into keynote speeches, so I'm very lucky. I don't sell a product. I consider myself an influencer just to storytelling, because if I can tell a story and paint the picture and have somebody in the audience say, “Man, that's me. That relates to me so I can do this.” And everybody in the audience will pick up a different little nugget, but if I can just influence people to have the confidence, to push themselves to the outer edges of what might be possible, I've had a great mission.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Well, you've nudged me and you've influenced me and there's going to be 20 to 30, 40,000 people listening to this right now, hopefully you've nudged in the right direction as well. And with that Derek, I want to thank you for your time, your expertise in all of this. I really appreciate it, and for joining us on the Salesman podcast,

 

Derek Daly:

Great, love it. Thanks for having me.

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