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SHANNON MCINTOSH: Organizing, prioritizing, and motivating the hell out of The Dream

Shannon McIntosh Driver Diary Header
Shannon McIntosh Driver Diary Header

Between May and July 2010, I was extremely busy with pursuing more partnerships, preparing for my next races/tests and trying to "pay the bills."

I mentioned in my two previous blogs that when I moved to Indy in February, I was working part time. I ended up having trouble making enough money to support myself and continue having good credit at the same time ;). So, despite loving my job, atmosphere and all the people at U/S Sports Advisors, I moved on to a new opportunity. I left some great new friends and mentors on good terms with a lot gained and was excited for what was next.

At my next job, I was again part time with flexibility and doing some more marketing/promotions but this time as a "contractor," which meant I worked for myself and they were hiring my services. Basically, no strings attached on their end. After doing this part time for about a month, I was asked to go full-time. Then, after about another month, they decided they couldn't afford/didn't want to spend the money on this "service". So, in the blink of an eye, I was empty-handed and looking for something else.

I can't say that I was very happy that day. In fact, I was pissed. I was furious. Feeling completely used, unappreciated and naïve for thinking that something was going to pull through for once - I picked myself back up yet again and decided I would figure out what the @!$#&^ I was going to do next. Surely, there was something and someone who would appreciate and need the "bust-ass," motivated, get-it-done, high standards that I held myself to

I was so fortunate, that just at that time I was asked to help out with some babysitting - which was something I'd done sporadically all the while.

(On a side note, I was a nanny during the time I spent in Ohio between college and moving to Indy; something I absolutely loved and believe it or not, miss greatly. Miss you Emma, Sarah, Teri and David!)

So for a few weeks I sprinkled in lots of babysitting while trying to figure out what I was going to do for my next "job." I decided I was going to start a babysitting business that would run itself and allow my racing career to continue moving forward. In deciding this, I began the development of my business plan, crowdsourcing, logo development, domain purchase/registration, and on and on.

I thought, "Screw relying on others." I was extremely motivated to make something happen, and work.

A normal part of my routine at this point was meeting with my partner, Greg, as we were developing our GHR Experience programs. So, at one of our meetings while explaining the newest chapter of the book, the next scene in the movie, I scared the crap out of him.

I later found that Greg was thinking, "What now?" and, "Does this girl ever stop going from one thing to another?" and, "Now how are we going to make time for Glass Hammer Racing?"

So during the next week, I talked through my current and possible scenarios with Greg who had become a great sounding board for me. Greg had lots of specific questions like how much do you need to make, what would you do if you were able to focus solely on racing, and, if you were given the opportunity, would you actually be able to just do that and not work other jobs (because he knew I was a workaholic)? I knew he had something brewing.

Once again, I was prepared with monetary figures. I knew what my bills were, so right when I was asked, I named them off. I have rent, health insurance, auto insurance, phone, school loans, car payment, and a few other various expenses.

Greg gave me a book titled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and asked me to read over a few different sections before we spoke about "something" the next day. I knew it was a concern of Greg's that I had everything in "Quadrant I," which is something I learned about in the readings. Quadrant I is when everything in life needs to be done RIGHT NOW, whether it is important or not, so all of the not-so-urgent, but more important, things continually get pushed aside. The other Quadrants break up the other aspects of our lives and when trying to be more efficient, allow us to separate and organize the importance of our life tasks.

The following day, Greg proposed to me the greatest opportunity I could have imagined during that point in my life, the chance to get out of living in Quadrant I.

I would not have to worry about a typical job and would be able to focus 100% on the #1 in my life - racing. Half my job, I'd be in charge of development of GHR's programs and the surrounding responsibilities for the launch of Glass Hammer Racing with Greg's support and input. The other half was developing my own driving skills and racing career. Yes, he was actually going to pay me for that.

I left the meeting that day dumbfounded. I found out later that I left Greg scared shitless again. I have found from many people in my life that I am very hard to read. He had no clue what I was thinking or if I would even accept his offer. (When I found this out, I thought, "Are you kidding me?!! OF COURSE I was going to accept!") I attribute the built-up walls to the fact that in this business, especially being a female, I have become very guarded and protective of my best interests - because I have to. As mentioned before, you have to be cautiously optimistic and prepared for letdowns, and I must say that the better half of me is prepared for letdowns. So, not getting excited about much has been instilled very deeply into my soul and is second nature.

I walked away that day alone, almost in tears. How could I be so lucky? How could this be real? Feeling so incredibly blessed but thinking forward and questioning what would be on the contract, what would be expected of me, etc. etc. My mind was going a million miles a minute.

So on August 23, 2010, I signed an employment contract with Glass Hammer Racing and I officially became a full-time racecar driver. My only job was racing - my own career and introducing other young women to the joys of motorsports. It was surreal, and it still is to this day, I think, because I still have lots of work to do to get where I want to be. I'll never be content, however, which is a characteristic of mine that I embrace.

Despite having just landed the opportunity of a lifetime, I had a billion and one things going on and, as usual, I wasn't settled. Fortunately, I believe Greg recognized the "diarrhea brain" I was experiencing and, as someone in the medical industry, he should! Ha! I had so much running through my head that I was just unable to filter it, and it was stressing.

We spent the next week doing some very detailed "facilitated planning," as Greg dubbed it. It was one of the more interesting things I've done, and was very exciting and therapeutic.

We got a conference space at the gorgeous downtown library in Indianapolis. Greg, being his OCD self (which meshes well with my personality), had a large easel-sized sticky note pad, about 20 pads of small sticky notes, every color pen and every color Sharpie you could imagine. (Side note: I sit here on the plane, stuck sitting bologna on Delta, laughing as I recall the scene in my photographic mind.)

We took our time and went through all of the aspects of what goals we had for our partnership. My "job" would not only be to assist in the development of Glass Hammer Racing, but to genuinely, organically focus on my racing development and career. That means, not babysitting during the day to have enough money to pay my bills. Not hopping from one thing to another to make sure I have the flexibility, the finances, and the right scenario to make my goals a reality. It meant that I was making my goal a reality.

We made six-month, one-year, and five-year goals. We rearranged sticky notes a million times and we prioritized our priorities. Out of all of this became my work plan, and I had a fresh mind with motivation shooting through the roof.

So I began the chapter of a lifetime. I continued living the dream and couldn't wait for the next scene in the movie.

Here, then, is the timeline of my racing career to date:

  • Started racing with family for fun
  • Did whatever it took to keep moving up the ranks
  • Made last big step with family in USAC Focus Midget
  • Went to college (UNC Charlotte) full time and worked 2 jobs
  • Moved back home to focus solely on racing
  • Worked as a nanny, lived at home and got back on the map of the racing industry
  • Moved to Indianapolis
  • Worked 2-3 jobs trying to support myself
  • Got a sponsorship with Glass Hammer Racing to drive for Bob East
  • Raced 4 USAC Regional Midget races with much success and lots of turned heads
  • Sealed a deal with GHR to work full-time, without personal financial worry, on my driver development and racing programs to promote young women in racing
  • Live the dream

In closing, I just would like to say that I couldn't be more thankful for the struggles, accomplishments, and opportunities I have and have had in my life. I am so thankful for the amazing people in my life who are helping me to achieve my goals and making my dreams a reality. Thank you.

Until next time, Happy November!