How To Stay In Your Own Lane
Starting out on a new venture can feel daunting, scary, and lonely—at times or even most of the time. And when we’re feeling scared and alone, we allow fear to step in, clouding our judgment and replacing our excitement with fears and self-doubt. Pretty soon that awesome new idea, venture, becomes too much.
Feeling overwhelmed, we pull back and resist moving forward because we don’t know if or how others will perceive our idea. Will they understand your intent, receive it the way you planned? Will they judge you for doing it? Mock you for taking a huge risk? Will you give in? Often, we don’t pursue our passions, purpose, or dreams out of fear of what others will think.
And we play small; we remain stuck, and inside we feel turmoil and tension. Not living life to its fullest and truest potential can leave us burning with anger, resentment, and regret. These emotions will swell and fester inside, and you will carry on through life without meaning, direction, or purpose.
Do you know that feeling? I do. It sat with me for many, many years, and it was killing me inside.
I wasn’t growing but was stuck—dying inside.
Growth happens outside our comfort zone, and for many of us, that is where we stop: just shy of stepping out of our comfort zones. You know what I’m talking about. The imaginary line we draw when shits about to get real. That feeling inside when our temperatures rise, our palms get sweaty, and we feel sick. Yep, that’s it. That’s the wall of fear. At that point, you have two choices: retreat back to safety where growth no longer lives or you can take that one step forward, then another, until the fears subside and you’re slowly stepping into the unknown. Scary as it feels, this is exactly where you need to be to grow.
Have you ever done something filled with incredible fear, whether forced or by choice and once you’ve completed it, the rush turns to exhilaration?
Yes, that’s what it feels like when you just crushed your fear. Pretty soon, that high, the rush, thrill, and excitement become addicting, and you want more. Looking back, you’re thinking, Oh, that wasn’t bad at all, in fact, it was awesome! Let’s do that again. Keep that feeling in mind the next time you’re about to do some scary shit, think of all the fun, freedom, and feelings that come once stepping forward into your fears, out of your comfort zone and embracing the suck.
Another way of looking at this is to (temporarily) stand still and be present. You know, because looking back sucks. And no one wants to feel ashamed, looking into the deep dark tunnel of the unknown future, where the risks can potentially outweigh the benefits. But the unknown can also bring out your best. Layer upon layer of who you once were is removed by stepping into the scary new person, idea, or thing you’re chasing after.
But how do you do this?
Feeling you’re going at it alone may seem even scarier than the thing itself. In our desperate attempts to move forward, to feel we’re making progress or a big enough impact, we try to copy others. So we seek help. We search for others who’ve done what we want to do. Who have a “proven” model or method and think their way is the only way. And when we look to and for others to help guide and lead us, we (blindly) follow without being true to who we are.
Seeking help is not the solution to your problem; you are the solution. Look to and ask for help, but look within yourself, not them. What I mean by this is just because something worked for one person, that does not make it a one-size-fits-all method. If you follow the leader, you’re just checking off the steps of a method that worked for them. That’s it. It’s not a bad thing, and you can’t say it doesn’t work, but the point is, you are not them. You are you.
Use what worked for others as inspiration, encouragement, and empowerment, not as the Only way. When we stay in the lane of others, we lose our uniqueness. We lose our voice, our way, and our passions trying to burn the trails others have blazed before. The world is missing out on you and your uniqueness, whether it be your voice, message, story, brand, product, etc. We get lost in the sea of allowing others to dictate our lives because we’re afraid of how it’ll be perceived if we don’t conform to the rules of society.
But isn’t that the point: to stand out? Isn’t that what your deepest desires are telling you? So step out, step up, and lead.
We’re all born a leader; we just need to trust ourselves and our maker that we are created to be different. We are created to be unique. And the world needs more different. We’re so busy following the leader that we end up wondering why we aren’t making a difference.
Life is not one-size-fits-all. In life, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. Chasing someone else’s version of perfection is not the endgame.