Tonight I did something I’ve never done.

I took a piece of pine wood that had been cut into the shape of a car, used four nails to attach four plastic wheels, drilled five sink holes into the bottom of it, and watched a guy pour molten lead into them so the car would weigh EXACTLY 5 ounces. Then it was impounded under lock and key until Saturday where it will race.

Did I miss something? How did this fly under my radar for four decades? I spent my entire youth hitting a ball or hitting someone carrying one.

Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of hot wheels and loved taking things apart (our toaster was never quite the same after I got finished with it). But the sophistication of some of the projects I saw tonight were humbling in a few ways.

First — I realized I have no idea about car design (or at least wooden car design).

Second — Never get in the way of a man and his graphite powder (it is used to reduce the friction between the plastic wheel and the nail holding it to the car). Note: Cameron was OBSESSED with getting this on the axles of his car.

Third — Power tool envy is an ugly, ugly thing.

But the greatest thing tonight was to see a young man have an epiphany. My son looked at me and asked why his car didn’t look as cool as the others.

A little back story is that weather has been Ideal “playing outside” conditions and Cameron has taken advantage of it.

I wasn’t going to be the dad that sent his kid into this sort of thing with a pimped out car that he clearly didn’t do but I wasn’t going to chase him down to put time into it. As he looked at the sleek designs and shiny painted cars bedazzled with decals and accessories I saw the light go off when I answered his question about why his car didn’t look like some of the others.

Sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice something you like doing to create something you’ll really love.

“Cameron — those kids probably spent HOURS on their cars. You chose to play outside. Sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice something you like doing to create something you’ll really love.”

It’s a lesson I hope that stick with him and one I wished I had learned years ago.

michael aldea go left marketing imageJan Michael Aldea is a jack of all trades finally making good at being well rounded. His background in marketing, consulting, business coaching & training, real estate, fitness, parenthood, marriage, and life makes Michael ill equipped to be in a cubicle, but very equipped to help transform people and companies one (sometimes humorously awkward) step at a time. He is the president and director of business development for Go Left Marketing based out of Charlotte, NC.

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