Do you need something to change in your racing business?

Does the feeling of having to produce yet another race tapping your motivation?

You know you love racing, but maybe it’s become exhausting, frustrating and even painful to continue.

You see your competitors still maintaining the same race production tempo they did in past years, yet you at a loss to how they can keep going at that pace.

Now, you start finding yourself saying:

“I don’t want to direct a race this month.”

“I just want to go ride my bike this weekend.”

“Why am I still building races?”

What happened to your motivation?

How do you recover from a slump like this and still manage to produce another season of races?

How do you not quit?

Hopefully, this will give you the answer.

What are your Motivations?

You might not truly dislike race promotion — at least not yet.

But if you’re having doubts about building new races, and you’re not doing anything about it, it can only get worse.

So before it gets worse, you need to ask yourself some tough questions.

You need a motivation intervention.

You need a motive-vention!

However, this is the good kind of intervention; the kind with healing in it.

It requires you to dig down deep and find out what’s going on in your head, starting with your need to understand your own intrinsic motivations.

What is your Why?

Why do you build races?

This should be a simple question to answer.

Your first answer might be “for the love of the sport.”

Or maybe you got into race promotion “to make money.”

You need money to make a living, but the time it takes to make your first real money in racing is long.

Knowing there is the potential for good money after doing race promotion for five years or more, doesn’t help you in year two.

No. If love or money is not enough to keep you truly motivated, that what else drives you to build races?

Chances are it has something to do with an intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation?

This is the driver that pushes you to do things worth doing.

The three most popular intrinsic drivers are:

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Do you still want your Autonomy?

Autonomy is the freedom you feel from being able to build races without anyone telling you how you should do it.

It is also the financial freedom you achieve by owning your own business.

It allows you to organize yourself to be efficient at what you build while maintaining the creative space to design experiences without restrictions.

It also happens to be one of the main reasons race promoters get into off-road racing in the first place.

But many race promoters are stuck between a 9-to-5 day job and the dream of autonomy.

They haven’t been able to achieve the transition from day job to real autonomy.


Working towards the autonomy that financial freedom provides you requires you to work even when you don’t want to.

That means Saturdays and Sundays are always in play.

If you have a 9-to-5 job, then giving up your weekends to build something that isn’t working, would be damaging to anyone’s motivation.

Are you one of those part-time race promoters?

Financial freedom cuts against the autonomy of the full-time race promoter too.

When race registrations drop off, and people stop showing up to your events, you have to strongly consider the need to go back to work for someone else.

The fear of giving up that hard-fought autonomy with no solution for saving their business to be found, leads many to panic, self-destruct, or quit altogether.

Have you given up your autonomy for something more financially comfortable?

Are you striving towards Mastery?

Mastery is your capability to learn new disciplines and improve your skills.

This is an important driver when it comes to your sense of fulfillment.

If you spend too much time working on the same races year in and year out, you will stagnate.

Stagnation is a huge motivation killer.

This is why mastery is the driver that motivates us to learn new things and possibly change the way we do what we do.

Mastery is how mountain bike race promoters can shift into obstacle race designers, or how orienteers can learn to build adventure races.

Without mastery, we don’t change.

But when was the last time you learned something new?

Do you remember your Purpose?

Finally, your Purpose should not just be focused on the mechanics of building races, but why you believe in building races in the first place.

Do you remember why you got into the business?

Have you forgotten your desire to change a life, even if it was only for one person?

This is why purpose is always about your WHY, never about your WHAT.

Building a race is a WHAT; the mechanical action of following a process.

WHY you build races is behavior that speaks to the internal reward you receive by doing it.

Do you know WHY you build races?

Do you know what Purpose building race serves in your life?

Without a purpose, we become lost.

The same goes for your motivation.

You cannot stay motivated if you don’t know WHY you are doing something.

Are you missing your purpose?

Then it is time to find it again!

Rebuilding your Intrinsic Motivations

We all lose our motivation for different reasons.

Family emergency, illness, setbacks, and even financial challenges can all be factors that derail our efforts.

Please understand that you are not alone.

There are thousands of race promoters in the United States, and all of them — ALL OF THEM — have had trouble with motivation at some point in their careers.

The difference is what they do about it.

Some push through and find their motivation again, while others put their business on hold.

For those that put their businesses on hold until their lives become stable again, usually don’t come back.

As the saying goes, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

No matter how life continues to challenge you, there will never be a good time to start building your races again.

That makes finding your motivation and pushing through your challenges all the more important.

So if you’re ready to rebuild your motivation, here are few steps you can take to get you back into the game:

#1 – Stop Being Hard on Yourself

The myth of the overnight success is just that: a myth.

No race is ever going to be perfect, no matter how much you try to make it that way.

So if it is NEVER going to be perfect, why do you keep beating yourself up?

Each time you stop and beat yourself up for a failure, you stop yourself from success.

Face it, when you start something new, you’re going to fail.

But each time you stop building races because you don’t think you’re good at it, you feel bad.

You beat yourself up for not sticking with it and end up going to go back to your lazy ways.

Why? Because race promotion is not natural to you.

There are going to be days where you say, “I don’t want to do this,” or, “I don’t want to work, I want to go do something fun.”

But you have to realize that if you don’t work at race promotion you’re going to feel bad about yourself later.

You’re going to back after another year has gone by and realize you didn’t hit your goals again — and that is painful.

But not as painful as knowing you didn’t live up to your own expectations because you just didn’t feel like doing it.

What you have to do is ignore these emotions!

You have to push yourself to do the work on your races every day.

You have to push yourself through the slump by building new habits.

Successful people know that making small continuous improvements every day will be compounded over time and give them desirable results.

That is why you should plan for the future by only focusing on the day that is ahead of you.

If you fail to work on your race today, have no worries.

Try again tomorrow with the belief that no one is going to punch you in the face if you miss a day.

You’re only looking to improve just 1% every day.

Can you do that?

Of course, you can!

#2 – Build a Better Why

Is your WHY powerful enough?

If you’re struggling with motivation, chances are that you don’t have a strong enough reason to stay in business.

Many of us think too small.

Then, once we reach that small level, we don’t know where to go next.

This is why you need to create a better WHY.

You need to make your vision bigger.

How big?

You need to take yourself out of your comfort zone and imagine a future that will meet your personal and professional needs.

You need to create a vision of how you see your future self.

Who is that person?

What does your perfect life look like?

If you can define that vision, your future self, then you need to work towards that vision every day.

You do this by writing that vision down, and then reading it every morning when you get up.

Maybe it is to create a company that makes enough profit to pay off the house, put your child through college, and allows you and your loved ones to travel three times a year.

Whatever your vision is, it needs to be that and more if you’re going to push yourself towards achieving it.

#3 – Focus on One Goal

Next, you need to discover where your goals have gone of course.

Are you still building races the way you want to?

When was the last time you set out to learn a new way to build a race?

Or have you stopped perfecting your mastery of race promotion altogether?

If you find your intrinsic motivation drivers have ridden off down the trail, have no worries.

It’s never too late to get them back.

But to do that, you need to entrench yourself in creating at least one new goal.

Use this goal to find your passion in racing again.

And add some real value to it by using SMART Goal setting as a way to outline your objectives for this new goal.

Learning a new skill is an excellent goal, and a great way to keep from getting bored.

So is taking on a new challenge, or signing up to race in someone else’s event.

Sometimes the fastest way to get back into race promotion is experiencing the way another promoter runs their events.

However, try to focus on only one goal at a time.

Most successful people will tell you that we are not designed to be multi-taskers.

That is why you will see those people focus all their energy on doing one thing at a time, and beat their goal into submission.

Only when they have accomplished their goal, do they move onto another one.

This goes back to your need for mastery.

The reason you’re unmotivated is that you haven’t been following through with your race promotion mastery.

The only way that you will be able to build better races, is to get good at it by doing something related to it every day.

The strategy is to consistently be doing something directed towards being good at race promotion every day.

Don’t focus on the whole month, just that day.

Being fully present and committed to one task, is indispensable in building your mastery habit.

Now, you’re not going to be good at race promotion all the time.

But over time, you will begin to create mastery of your goal.

And that’s when your life will change for the better.

#4 – Learn from Others

Becoming comfortable is a huge motivation killer.

If your routines are causing you to lose your fire, it may be time to shake things up.

Anything worth doing is hard, otherwise, everyone would be doing it.

Sometimes, that difficulty prevents us from changing because it will mean starting at the beginning again.

If you’re disciplined enough to create races where there were none, then you can be disciplined enough to try something new at least a few times throughout the year.

When was the last time you talked to another race promoter?

You could spend some time appreciating the drive and determination others have for racing and explore how they overcame the challenges they faced on their journeys.

Go find one or two of them — online or in real life — and reach out to them.

See if you can discuss racing and race promotion with them from time to time.

Meeting new, like-minded people can help you find your purpose again.

If you can make a few friends in the industry, there is nothing like having someone there to encourage you, support you and challenge you to get you to stay motivated.

Being a part of a community can not only help you become accountable but help you learn a few new approaches from individuals with similar life and business challenges.

#5 – Get Your Hunger Back

Many race promoters say they want this life, but they don’t seem to want to do what it takes to make it a profitable business.

They want the result, but they don’t want to do the work.

This means that you must be honest with yourself.

Are you really willing to do what it takes to change your bad habits to save your race promotion business?

Are you willing to focus on creating better habits?

It’s a big question to consider.

Most of us want the shortcut, even though we all know — deep down — that there are no shortcuts.

You have to we willing to put yourself through the process of changing yourself before true success can happen.

Sure, you’re going look foolish.

You’re going to have events that only attract 30 racers.

But that experience is going to teach you how to deal with being uncomfortable.

Reputation and pride are the biggest problems race promoters struggle with.

They worry about what people will think about them if their race is bad.

They allow the fear, the worry, and the what-if’s to keep them from going forward.

“What if my race is bad?”

“What if they hate the course?”

“What if no one shows up?”

This is the #1 reason more races do not get made.

They would rather stay comfortably unknown, than reach success and create the type of life that they want.

I hope this does not describe you.

I hope you’re not willing to throw it all away to protect your reputation and stay comfortable.

I’m hoping you’re ready to put it out there and go for it, and possibly hit your goal!

You need to be hungry enough to do what it takes to build your race promotion business.

You have to be willing to sacrifice your money, possible public humiliation, and your current comfort for a chance to improve your life.

Unfortunately, some of you will have to hit rock bottom before you get hungry enough.

But it is that hunger will drive you towards doing what it takes.

Hunger will get you to seek out new information, listen to your customers, and change what you’ve been doing wrong.

When most people quit, it will be your hunger that will drive you to change and succeed.

However, you must be willing to do whatever it takes to gain mastery in this business.

Making these changes will make you very uncomfortable.

But when you decide you’re hungry enough to do it, keeping motivated won’t be hard anymore.

The only easy day was yesterday

There is no easy way to stay motivated.

Motivation is a continual process that requires discipline.

You will always need to force yourself to go through your motivation process to find your hunger again.

Hence the need for the discipline to know when your motivation is lacking, and the hunger to actively do something about it.

Your motivation is also susceptible to the human desire to take the path of least resistance.

If you stop trying to refill yourself with new ideas and experiences, you will get comfortable and let stagnation and doubt ruin what you have created.

You need to always be on guard from ruts, complacency, and apathy to your primary goals.

Like the wind in a sail, your intrinsic motivation will constantly ebb and flow.

It is what you do when it ebbs and flows that makes you successful.

If you are always working on making the internal things that drive you stronger and better, you will pull through this.

The key is to own your life because no one else will do it for you.

And now you know.

Posted by Kyle Bondo

Kyle started Reckoneer with the simple mission of helping those who want to become race directors and learn the mechanics of outdoor recreation engineering. Kyle demystifies outdoor racing with over 20 years of endurance and outdoor industry business knowledge. Combined with his top-rated podcast Merchants of Dirt, dozens of articles, lessons, and infographics, Kyle has made Reckoneer the premier educator in outdoor event management. Build better races today!