I'm sitting in a Holiday Inn Express in Willcox, Arizona right now. I've got a few days here after our pre-season testing time out at INDE Motorsports Ranch, one of my favorite places on the face of the planet. It was less expensive and disruptive for me to stay in Arizona and work for a few days than to fly home before we head on to Texas for our first race round, so here I am, writing.
This is the part of the year – April to September – where I find myself "doing both." That means balancing my "day job" with Red Currant Collective with my "day job" with CW Moto, our MotoAmerica race program.
"Doing both" is not limited to this part of the year. Our two companies are up and running and operating at a scale where everything is full-on, year round. Our friends in the paddock leaned hard on us to take some time off after the season – but we drove home from Alabama and barely even took a day off. I had a backlog of commitments for Red Currant Collective, and then we spent all winter in the strange dance of high compression and long waits beyond our control around race team prep and logistics. Issues with the supply chain are REAL. I keep half-joking that I'm going to list "Expedited Shipping" as a team member on the roster for CW Moto.
We are one of the many bootstrapped and self-funded teams in our sport, who work very long and hard to fund our operation. If you are interested and able to support our efforts as a business or individual sponsor (email: firstname.lastname@example.org for information about custom packages), we greatly appreciate it.
We aim to exceed our patron's expectations both for business impact goals reaching audiences in racing and WAY beyond (check out our current activation announcement with MakeLoveNotPorn and Transgender Education Network of Texas on Motor Sport Newswire) and with behind-the-scenes access, gifts and thank-you's that are truly special (here's an example).
This is the part of the year where my "doing both" becomes visible. I must manage my travel and schedule carefully so that I can perform for my clients and my team at Red Currant Collective and so that I can perform for my team with CW Moto.
Last year, my time was a bit more binary: I had days I did RCCo work, and days I was "off the grid" for CW Moto. This year, that's just not possible, and I must weave both together in a way that works for both businesses, myself, and my clients and team.
I've struggled with gremlins about doing so for years, even before we embarked into 2x self-employment. I've always lived the experience of the two parts of my life supporting each other: I'm a better rider because of the way I think and study the world, and because of my teaching experience, I've learned to be a picky student and find coaching and training that helps me learn instead of discouraging me. And I'm better at my corporate work because my motorcycle life helps keeps my muscles for focus, emotional regulation, and has helped shift my skillset for working with authority figures from "always the squeaky-wheel-rebel" to having a better understanding of chain of command, and better judgment about what and how to bring up when, to work more effectively with authority figures.
But I've always felt like trying to talk about motorcycling and my corporate work together is gimmicky: like it makes me a caricature that doesn't fit my reality. And I've really struggled with feelings of imposter syndrome around my riding, since I'm a highly trained, skilled rider who – despite years of high-level training and coaching is still slow in a sport that's all about going fast. For folks outside of motorsports, that is no big deal: that I ride at all, especially on the track, is a fascinating topic of conversation. But within motorsports, my lack of progression on the major metric of our sport – speed – leaves me feeling like an imposter in my sport.
And the secondary metric of our sport – mechanical ability – is not my forte. In the last year, I have learned more about the physical parts of motorcycles and even engine internals than I ever could have imagined exist. And I love (LOVE) hanging out in the shop when Chris is assembling engines and building bikes. I'm awestruck with fascination about the assembly of the moving parts – the pistons and connecting rods and crankshafts and valves; the gears and levers and cables and sprockets – that they start as puzzle pieces and end as something that puts horsepower down to the rear wheel to turn it to move the bike. Watching the component parts assemble and then seeing gears turn gives me the feeling I imagine when people describe "being like a kid on Christmas morning."
Seeing parts connect with each other and then move as a system is some kind of magic for my brain. It's like the ultimate physical reality of making sense of disparate things: the pieces starting out separate with little individual output, then fit together to become a system powerful enough to move a motorcycle at somewhere around 180 miles per hour.
So on the most important metrics of our sport – speed and mechanical ability – I am a student. But as we head into this season, I'm finding my rhythm in the business of the sport in a whole new way. Working with sponsors, handling ops and logistics for the team, and supporting the team's performance and our shared outcomes and goals is not that different than what I do in my "day job," and as we grow and uplevel, those functions are increasingly demanding and increasingly important for our overall success.
My role with RCCo has always been more clear: founder and principal consultant. Right now, I do the product invention / design / development and 100% of the service delivery, supported on the operations side by a remarkable couple of humans from HireRunner, my coaches and trusted thought partners, and a few other talented humans who drop in and out on a project basis.
My clients with Red Currant Collective are corporate CEOs and "number two's:" they are senior leaders in (mostly) large organizations who carry significant responsibility for real outcomes in industries like education and technology. My pipeline is full of new business in high-stakes industries like automotive, aerospace, and other segments where lives are on the line.
So this week was an experiment: handling client meetings on video from the front seat of the van, from an active motorsport paddock, with our team firing the race bike less than ten feet away from my noise-cancelling microphone
it was a risk – a calculated one – to see if my increasing personal comfort with the weaving together of my work lives is okay to share with my corporate clients.
And so far, so good.
My clients asked me to send them pictures of what we were doing, so they could understand what it is I do when I'm "on the road." They daydreamed about "retreats" out in the desert at the race track with me – which frankly, I'd never thought of before, and I kind of love the idea. If you haven't seen how motorsport teams operate, it's a remarkable dance of roles and responsibilities, with a necessity for individual excellence and a shared responsibility for absolute quality control and rider safety at all times. Our job is to put a machine under our rider that she or he can take around the track near their combined limit to achieve the fastest timed result possible, with bike and rider coming back in one piece at the end of the session.
The combination of working in this way with the team as a "number two" to our crew chief, and now increasingly operating in a CEO capacity myself in my business (and scaffolding that responsibility with my husband, for the shop), has given me a whole new insight and understanding about the roles of #1s and #2s that directly informs how I "do both."
For years, my mentors in motorsports have told me: "Women are the future of the sport." I've always loved hearing that, while also, thinking about other women when they say that: the fast, and mechanically-savvy ones.
It's an interesting evolution for me to wrap my head around the contribution people like me make to our sport, on the business and team ownership side.
Now: my time in the quiet hotel room is up, and it's time to run out to INDE. We're racing at COTA in Austin, Texas next weekend, then headed to Atlanta for the next round at the end of April. If you're anywhere between Arizona, Texas and Atlanta, please drop me an email. I may or may not be able to add a day to stop in person, but even just remembering who to wave out the window in the general direction of as we pass through keeps my morale up, and helps me feel connected to my people even when we're in perpetual motion mode. (And some rounds, I will have extra days before and/or after the round, and even some extra paddock passes here and there if you'd like to come out and spectate.)
I hope your week gets off to a great start, with your work and life and passions and labor heading in an aligned direction. It's a gift when that becomes true (and it is possible).
Until next time,
Sara Lobkovich Newsletter
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