FOLLOWING the huge success of last year’s Formula One (F1) night race on the Marina Bay circuit, F1 fans are looking forward to another exciting event this year.

Even if you’re not a fan, the F1 offers some lessons in managing your career. Like the race car drivers, you have to make strategic decisions and overcome obstacles to win.

1. Make a grand start

All Grand Prix drivers will agree that achieving success starts with the right attitude. Whether you are in the pole position in your career or not, recognise that having a positive mindset is already half the battle won.

It is still uncertain as to when the economic climate will recover. But you can begin today with certain objectives in mind. Have well-defined and measurable goals and soon you may be on your way to realising your vision.

2. Get in the driver’s seat

You must take charge of your career. Proactively work on your career plans to reach those goals you have identified. Competition is really keen out there on the fast track, so you will have to get up to speed very quickly.

Do not delay your plans any further. Before you reach a plateau in your career, steer it in the direction you want. When you are in control, you will realise that you are moving forward in your career more confidently.

Some factors that are beyond your control will affect your career. For instance, you cannot change the job market situation, and you may not be able to change your prospective employer’s impression of you no matter how hard you try.

Neither Felip� Massa nor Lewis Hamilton has total control over the performance of his car. So, it is more important to work on your unique selling points: understand your values, motivations, work on the controllable factors instead, and stay relevant.

3. Get on with the race

Your career is a journey. Sometimes, you are on track — climbing up the corporate ladder — and sometimes, you may encounter the bends and sharp corners — what I call a career derailment.

In the course of your career, changes and challenges are inevitable. You may be overtaken by others in the race, but be persistent. Make the turns and overcome the obstacles to continue on the path you desire.

If your job is no longer aligned with your goals, change gears or lanes when the opportunity comes along. Manage your career well by having a Plan B.

4. Take pit stops

Take stock of your personal life and career. You may need more than a two pit-stop strategy. In tough times like the present, you may need to reflect on what you want in life more frequently.

Often, people tend to carry out a personal audit only when they are forced to — when the tyres wear out or when the safety car forces them to slow down. Apply your brakes once in a while and take a good look in the mirror before moving off again.

5. Aim for a podium finish

In a race, it is important how you start, and how you run. Reflect on the values that defines your career and what winning means to you. Is finishing first the only option? Or, is coming in second or third be just as good, so long as you ran a good race? Your podium finish could mean achieving your goal of financial independence or a work-life balance.

Start a career journal, and begin with a vision of what you hope to achieve. Incorporate your milestone achievements and celebrate them — F1 style, of course — with a bottle of champagne.