Guildford, Surrey. 18th May 2012. Damon Hill, the former Formula One world champion, last week told Surrey business people how he had handled pressure as a driver and how his career as a sportsman has helped him as a businessman.
Hill was addressing the Disability Challengers Business Club and explained how to keep levels of pressure in business from spilling into unhealthy stress.
“It’s part of running a business responsibly,” he told an exclusive workshop of the members of the Club and their guests at Burchatt’s Barn in Stoke Park.
“If you don’t delegate and you take on too much responsibility, then the stress gets too much.
“I’m a terrible delegator, but you have to come to terms with the fact that we all have our limitations and it’s not all down to you. You have to have a good team, which you trust and which will help you. It was exactly the same when I was racing.”
How did he handle the pressure before the final race of the 1996 season, which would decide the World Championship? “Well, if you thought about it, you couldn’t handle it, so I had to square up beforehand and ask myself: have I done everything I can to prepare? Yes. So I concluded I couldn’t lose it. You do your best and beyond that you can’t do anything.
“A connection between sport and business,” Hill added to the audience of 60, including the 25 members of the Club and their guests, “is also motivation, especially in relation to start-ups and motor racing.
“You have to be very one-track minded and goal-orientated, and you don’t give up after many disappointments.”
Damon Hill, who has been involved in Challengers since 1989 and is a patron, was full of praise for the Champions Club: “It’s a very good idea and it’s an idea which is growing and becoming much more relevant with companies as responsibility rests on everyone.
“You can’t just say I’m in business and it’s not my concern. More companies are engaging and seeing how they can benefit the community as they know it’s good for business.
“It’s normal practice to do a deal which benefits the community and employees also like to feel they’re working for the good guys. So, it’s more difficult for businesses to act irresponsibly.”
One of the guests at the event, Chris Thompson, a senior financial advisor at Ascot Lloyd, said: “It was good to hear Hill first hand and how he had found the transition from sport into business. Challengers also inspired me and I’d like to get my children involved so they can appreciate how lucky they are, and how life’s about helping others.”
Another long-time supporter, Shahid Azeem, MD of Arcom IT, added: “It’s fantastic the work Challengers do and their commitment. It’s very important for local business to put something back. They’re on our doorstep and need local businesses to champion them.”
For more information about Disability Challengers and the Champions Business Club, please visit www.disability-challengers.org or call 01483 23 00 60.