Stay In Your Lane
I recently received some great advice from my mentor about managing my energy and avoiding distractions: “Stay in your lane, Kristi. Stay in your lane.”
It reminded me of the road rage I see every day on the 405.
You’ve been on highways and have seen the drivers who frogger back and forth for miles trying to get ahead. Some jerk their way through erratically, others seem to magically be at the right speed where they can just glide from one lane to the next avoiding an accident and the cops. Or maybe you’ve been that driver.
Changing lanes demands a ton of energy – the fierce grip on the wheel, eyes darting from corner to corner and the pure grit to make it through traffic. And 10 miles down the road, the erratic lane changers never seem to get much further than the rest of the crowd, and their faces project pure rage. Compare that to the driver who stays in one lane, calmly toggles from gas to break pedal and fully surrenders to the slow crawl.
Let’s take this analogy off the road. Where in your life are you wasting precious energy because you’re unnecessarily leaving your lane?
Watch for these common triggers that may cause you to deviate from your lane, wasting your energy and keeping you from what’s really important.
1. You’re addicted to distractions and other people’s drama.
Stay in your lane: As my spiritual teacher advises, “Don’t entangle with fools. You’ll get messy and they’ll love it.” Examine what’s really behind your addictions – boredom, lack of focus, procrastination?
2. You’re nosey: you need to know what other people are thinking, doing or saying out of your insatiable curiosity. Or you’re competitive or insecure: you need to know what other people are thinking, doing or saying in order to stay one step ahead of them or remain in their shadow.
Stay in your lane: Comparisons are energy drains. You’ll either come out ahead (big ego puff wasting space) or looking bad (draining your esteem). Who cares?! Either way it’s a total waste of time that’s taking you away from what’s really important to you. Where are you drawing comparisons or creating unproductive competition in your life and why?
3. You’re in “over-care” mode: you feel you need to be nice or go the distance for others because you’re such a good, caring soul. Or maybe you feel like you have to be the savior, the martyr, who has to come in and save the day. Watch out for these triggers, “They need me.” “I care too much.”
Stay in your lane: This one’s a BIG drain for many people. Really examine whether you use these excuses because you need to be needed. Do not mistake service for rescue. Service is good, comes from the heart and empowers you and others. Rescue is just your ego making up a story and wasting your energy. The people in the other lane are competent and capable of handling the issue – give them the credit and the confidence to solve the problems themselves. Take a look at why you think you’re the savior – and is this pattern of behavior really working for you?
4. You’re out of your comfort zone. You are avoiding confrontation or direct communication. So you’ll switch lanes to get another answer or an ear from a more comfortable source.
Stay in your lane. This is a real problem in the workplace, when teammates go around their bosses to get answers or avoid direct conversation. Unnecessarily involving others – and taking them out of their lanes – are distractions from the business goals.
When these lane changing triggers arise … stop … take a breath … and be clear on what it is you rather be experiencing.
Are you a frequent lane-changer, how does it drain you and what is it you’d rather be experiencing? Share your insights and leave a comment below.