THE BLOG

Making Every Day a Learning Opportunity

12/07/2012 09:25 am ET | Updated Feb 06, 2013

I really hadn't put much thought to the idea of making every day a learning moment until I started going to K12 for my schooling. When I started going to school online, my racing career really began to take off. I hadn't found a program that would enable me to pursue my dream fully -- yet.

As a young kid, I used to pretend I was racing Michael Andretti in the Indy 500, playing with little toy Matchbox Hot Wheels cars in my bedroom. Realistically, I didn't think it would ever happen, but the harder I worked, the closer I got. As I got closer, I had to work that much harder. As such, I began to be gone so much; I needed to find an alternative that allowed me to pursue that dream of being a professional racecar driver.

Oddly enough, my first team at the semi-pro level was Michael's team, Andretti Autosport. Just this week, we also announced that I'd return to the team for my fourth season with them and move up to Firestone Indy lights, which is the last step before the IZOD IndyCar Series and a shot at qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

In racing, there is a lot of downtime between practice and ultimately the race. We call it "hurry up and wait." This gives me the time to get in homework for school while on the road. Traveling as much as I do, it can be easy to get behind. But my online teachers keep me on track. We discuss goals at the start of each semester and what I must do along the way to reach those goals. This goes deeper than rigidly following a course syllabus. My online teachers sense when I need more time to absorb material and when I'm ready to take on greater challenges.

My racing season ended a few months ago, but it seems that things have yet to slow down. I've been testing and doing a number of appearances and tradeshows. This past weekend I was at the NOYS Distracted Driving Summit in Washington DC, getting back up to speed (No pun intended!) on the latest statistics and what's happening in the world of distracted driving so I can continue to communicate that message and be on target with the latest happenings.

I think what I've learned the most thus far is that while having a plan is important, it's also significant to be fluid and willing to adjust, as things may unfold differently than I might have planned for. I always try and learn from what I'm experiencing and seeing.

It's hard to think that had I not discovered online learning, I would have had to put my racing dream on hold. In our industry, this can be death to your career if you wait too long.

It's all about stepping back and realizing what all your options are for your situation and seeing which one makes the most sense to move you forward in what you are hoping to accomplish that day, that week, that month or in the year.

Adjust how you look at your day and you may have more learning moments than you realize.