TMM095 Matt Mackelden in the Drivers Seat
Meet Professional driver trainer Matt Mackelden, a high performance drive instructor who’s raced in a wide variety of events over the last decade, and currently racing the 2018 SuperUtes season aboard the Kubota Racing Toyota Hilux team.
This year Matt turned his attention from super car drive instructor to Real Estate Agent, as of last week.
Giving up the glitz and glam of the track, for a life at home with family and a new career he’s learning the ropes on from the ground up.
To the outside world and most of his mates, Matt was throwing away the ‘dream life’ – racing cars, driving days all over the country with amazing brands – Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar, Holden and more – jet setting around high octane living. To Matt it was a different story.
Mackelden has raced everything from Formula Vees and Hyundai Excels to Production Sports Cars, and is a two-time class winner at the Bathurst 12 Hour. He has competed in the Mini Challenge and Australian Production Car Series and is a familiar voice at Supercars events, filling the role of on-track commentator for categories including Australian GT Championship and V8 Utes.
Find out why he’s more in the drivers seat than ever before, as at 45 we reflect on what he would like to have told his younger self, how true courage means taking action and the agility required to really design and life a life you love.
In The Drivers Seat – Taking Control Of Life
Close to 30 years of age, Matt pretty well changed everything. Reflecting on being locked into a fairly unhappy marriage at that stage, hadn’t done anything that he really wanted to do. 125 kilos, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, drinking a litre of coke a day, and “just existing”.
I’m 45 years of age now and the last 15 years has been really where I started to live my life. I reckon prior to that, I was doing everything that everyone thought that I should do. Doing everything the social norms thought that I should do.
- I felt relatively trapped and so I made a very brave decision, a decision I think a lot of people find very difficult and sometimes its viewed as quite selfish. But I decided that this was my life and I needed to try, and live it the best way possible. So I ended up buying a race car- my first race car when I was 30 years of age.
Having looked at racing my whole life thinking “I reckon I could do that” – Matt ended taking some equity out of the house and bought his first little race car.
Matt said he couldn’t even fit into the car, so had to go and then lose weight. Gave up smoking instantly, from a pack a day to absolutely nothing. He lost 35 kilos, jumped into the race car for my first race, ended up qualifying fourth, coming second in the race.
All of a sudden the new life of Matt MacKelden was underway.
Prior to last week Matt was flying around the country side, being in fabulous cars, meeting incredible people, and leaving his family at home.
After a while that gets very old. There’s only 52 weeks a year and I did 64 flights last year. I thought that I would love them. And that’s a heck of a lot of travel, at the end of the day, yes you earned good money and, yes you had fabulous experiences. But the reality is, I’m not. I’m happily married, to a wonderful woman with two beautiful little girls, who you know I wanna be apart of their life. I wanna be apart of my step daughters’ lives.
So again while its all shiny and lovely on the outside, it is extremely hard work. Its also very dangerous work. One of the turning points for Matt was an event at Bathurst. After the Bathurst 12 hour event, a customer in the driver’s seat while Matt was in the passenger seat, reached 287 Kilometres an hour down Conrad start.
“I looked over and I knew immediately I had to get him to back off but that flicked a switch within me that I thought “well these things are not getting any slower.
I’m getting a little bit older here, and my wife and my family.” I knew something had to change.
Race cars to real estate and a 9-5 job?
For the last 15 years, Matt says he’s been privileged enough and lucky enough to be able to make a living out of motor sport. In the sponsorship side of the business, driving as well, a commentator on Network 7 for a little while, calling the V8’s super cars. He says took control of that age of 30 and at now at45 we’ve done it all again. Going into Real Estate.
So its something I haven’t done for a long time, and I’m a little bit nervous about it, but certainly the motivations for it now are not just about myself. Its more now about my family.
- Roadblocks from others opinions is part of the journey: due to their own sadness, will hate your success.
- Even family, they will potentially try and hold you back, even they’re not doing it necessarily outwardly, the negative, “Matt, why would you go into real estate? It’s a really bad market right now, and it’s retracting, and why would you do this?”
That’s holding back. That’s not support. So, don’t be afraid.
- Go easy on yourself. Give yourself a bit of a break, and then just be prepared to move and to act and to do the research, and just be careful about who you have around you.
- Be polite, but don’t invest all your time and your emotion in people who may be holding you back because they’re holding you back because our their insecurities, not because of anything that you’re actually doing.
Blurts and RoadBlocks – Your Ego is Not Your Amigo
Will I be able to deal with getting up and going to an office every morning, with a desk, and a sales targets, and expectations of all that kind of thing? Am I going to be able to deal with that?
Remembering that Matt’s office has been a racetrack for the last six or seven years.
Working nine months a year in the driver training field, with three months off the year. There were questions in my own mind as to how I was going to deal with that. There was even a concern for a little while there, how are we going to operate within our family unit with me being here all of the time? It’s all a work in progress. But all of that was logistics, Matt strategised and made a game plan that meant he felt connected to his next decision, no matter what.
Life and Partnerships
What lessons would you have told your younger self going through that?
The majority of people feel trapped, out of control, overwhelmed, and they’ve got lack of power in a relationship. which is really so such a shame cause it’s always 50/50. So what would you say to your younger self? What signs would you recognise and what communication do you think could’ve helped you be more of yourself in your partnership?
I was certainly stuck – that my partner at the time was looking to me to make her happy. Everything that we did, everything I did unfortunately, because she wasn’t happy within herself, never made her happy. Therefore, it would just end in conflict. I allowed that to happen as I was not open with myself as well. I then became frustrated that I can’t make her happy.
With age and maturity you understand you can’t please everybody and you can’t rescue everybody. It’s up to the individual to make the change internally.
- Stop people pleasing
- Know your individual values and goals
- Don’t be selfish – be open minded
- Value relationships
“If I were to go back to Matt MacKelden at 21 I would say “you can’t rescue everybody.” So I was a rescuer and a people-pleaser. And I think when you recognise that you’re not a people-pleaser or that you can’t be a people-pleaser and you can’t rescue everyone, you can certainly help and you can be empathetic. I’ve totally realised now, that individuals are totally responsible for their own lives, and their own futures, and their own happiness. You can’t rely on somebody else to make you happy”.
Social norms don’t change. Life changes, and you’ve got to be ready, and you’ve got to be willing to understand that life changes. How you then decide whether it’s a good change or a bad change is up to you.
Four Take Aways To Be in The Drivers Seat of Your Life
- Don’t be afraid: Don’t be scared to make a decision, to follow through and follow your heart. Encourage your kids to do so.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself: We are so hard on ourselves. We are so programmed that by 21 we’ve got to have a degree, and then by 25, we’ve got to look like’ this’, and then we’ve got to be married by 30, and we’ve got to live in a big house. That’s just BS. You’ve got to be happy, that’s what you got to be, first and foremost, because that makes you then a vital producer in society because you’re a happy individual.
- Be ready: Preparation is the key. If you want something work for it, prepare for it, and if that means a relationship that’s not going well or whatever, go and get counselling. Drop your pride, drop your ego, drop social norms. Look at your wife, and again, I should have … this is an answer to a question you asked me earlier.
- Choose your pit crew: Drop your pride. Drop your ego. Prepare to be wrong. Admit that you’re wrong. Celebrate your successes and your wins. Try and work your life with people around you who are good teammates. Just like rally, just like racing, just like everything. Work on those relationships and work on holding your side of the street – what are you actions, needs and respect others.
Special thanks to Matt Mackelden – you can give Matt a call for Real Estate in Southport, QLD at the Ray White Office. We’ll update this page with the links when his new details are all online and ready to go.
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Stay healthy, wealthy, and wise.