What kind of milk do you want after you win?

2011 Indianapolis 500

There’s a long-standing tradition at the Indianapolis 500 for the race winner to drink a bottle of milk on Victory Lane.  There’s a couple of lessons to be learned as you watch today’s race …

The first comes from 1936 Indy 500 Champion Louis Meyer.  Meyer was photographed gulping down a bottle of buttermilk, his favorite.  His mom recommended he drink it, claiming it would refresh him.  The picture was later seen by a Milk Foundation executive who immediately recognized the promotional opportunity.  He made sure that from that year forward, the race winner received a bottle of milk to drink.  The tradition is carried on today by the National Dairy Council citing, “a winning example for people everywhere who are looking to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Lesson:  Look for promotional opportunities everyday, and if you sieze the right moment, your brand could also become iconic.

Dan Wheldon, Indy 500 Champion 2011, #RIP

There are so many different types of milk from which to choose; how does the race winner have the bottle of his favorite ready and waiting for him in Victory Lane?  There’s so much activity right after the checkered flag, who finds out what milk to bring?

Easy.  They ask.  Each year, before the race, the American Dairy Association asks all 33 drivers for their favorite milk.  This ensures that all possible milk types are on site, ice cold, and ready for whomever wins the race.  They simply look at the driver’s response as soon as the race is over.  The important part of this story is that the ADA asks all 33 drivers, whether they are the pole sitter or dead last in the field.  The ADA recognizes that as soon as the Green Flag drops, every driver has an equal chance to earn their immortality on the coveted Borg-Warner trophy.

Lesson:  “Everybody is born with an equal chance to become just as unequal as he or she possibly can.” — Anonymous

One of my heroes, Scott Shannon (currently PD/Mornings on WPLJ New York), has said “Winning is addictive. Once you get a taste of it, you want more. There is is no excuse for losing.  You have to surround yourself with people who want to win and don’t make excuses.  You need to find people who have the same fire as you.”

Good luck winning your race, whether it be personal or professional.  I hope you’re on Victory Lane drinking your favorite milk soon.

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