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SHANNON MCINTOSH: New Year's resolutions, weaknesses, and learning life

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Shannon McIntosh Driver Diary Header
Shannon McIntosh Driver Diary Header

Part One: Communication

I'm much better at the written word than verbal communication. I'm very much (and probably too much) a "to-the-point person." So I'm not much into fluff, pointless conversations, or talking about something I'm not interested in, for longer than I have to; it's just hard for me! I don't have much patience and I am not good at taking the time to explain things fully to people. I have always been very outgoing and personable, but connecting with people on a non-topic of "pure conversation" basis has never been a strong point.

I noticed that when I first was around "business people" in racing, I thought they came off a bit brash and rude and so direct that you'd wonder if they even have a soul. I've since inherited a bit of that and hope it's not biting me in the butt too much. It's hard for me to separate my personal and professional life - i.e., come back down to earth when I'm not in "work mode" and have a relaxed convo with my parents or people close to me. Problem is, I'm almost always in "work mode" and my mind is always turning. After all, to relax, I actually work!

Today, it's been brought to my attention that I need to work on this. It appears (to others) that I think I have to be "professional" at all times. Apparently, some folks have the notion that I think I'm smarter, better, or above other people, including my family. I've never wanted to be perceived as someone who thinks I'm better than others, because I don't. Yes, I'm a fiercely competitive person, so in that context it might be applicable - but that's a completely different story.

I know I have weaknesses. I also don't want to be perceived as making excuses. Accepting a weakness in order to find a solution is a much better way to do things than to just excuse it. In my own mind, I think that my impatience, tunnel vision, and being consumed by working towards my goals, mixed with the chemistry of lots of people in my life who individually have my best interests in their mind (which doesn't always parallel) are all factors that make for a trying project to manage. There are other factors which I believe contribute... but I'll get into those later.

Lately it's just been another roller coaster and made me wonder, is something ever going to break through? When lots of things are going on and you are being pulled in so many directions while chasing a dream, it's easy for your mindset to become distorted and blurry.

I realized that recently, I've been asking myself a lot of questions. Do I take this approach? Should I stick with my gut? Do I go this way or that? I feel that lately in my life, I've swayed up and down and back and forth like the giant pirate ship at the amusement park - the one where it's split in the middle and you and other riders face each other. I always liked the part when I was at the top going airborne for a split second the best. But then you have to come back down and be faced nearly upside down looking up at the other side with people who are going airborne and experiencing that incredible high of "being on top of the world."

I'm rather confident and opinionated, but lately, I've found my open-mindedness to be leaving me feeling indecisive and confused. I think that when you're a non-paying driver in motorsports (a.k.a. you don't have any money) you've got to be open-minded and take opportunities when they come to you. Sometimes, when you're between a huge opportunity that isn't right for you and the unknown, you catch a case of what I would call "diarrhea brain."

At this time of year, the last way I want to feel is that I'm perceived as some "bah-humbug" who doesn't care about anything or anyone but myself. I am absolutely at fault for being impatient with those who mean the most. I am absolutely stubborn. I am guilty of a lack of separation between the different relationships and things I've got my hands into - all because I eat, breathe, live, and sleep my goals and career in racing. I'm consumed. I'm addicted and a filter fails to appear most days.

As 2011 sweeps 2010 out from under us, my focus is on bettering myself, and I will continue to live my dream through its peaks and valleys. We have a very positive outlook for the racing season. I will be stronger than ever, and it will be yet another year to remember.