Taking time out to get to know oneself is a trend which has grown massively over the past few decades.
Teenagers now take gap years before University to find themselves, young adults go backpacking to get in touch with their inner selves, and people of all ages embark on self-discovery missions every day through retreats, meditation and yoga.
But once you’ve found yourself, what’s next? In my opinion, it’s finding your lane, and staying in it.
Of course that’s easier said than done, the activities we allow ourselves to participate in every day can shape our personalities greatly. Spend too much time with someone and you will soon start to do the things they do, and also accept the treatment that they accept.
The urban dictionary explains that telling someone to stay in their lane means to say; “mind your own business; keep moving straight ahead and don’t veer over into my personal affairs,” or “Stop talking about things you don’t understand or know. Let experts do the talking.”* But I want to change that definition.
Instead of using it to put people down, let’s use it to build ourselves up. Knowing your lane is not a bad thing, my lane is Journalism and I work hard at it, the result of me knowing that Journalism is my lane is that when someone asks me to; 1. Write an article for them for free 2. Work in a different area e.g. PR or marketing 3. Talk in front of an audience about something else, such as being a fiction writer, I have no problem saying; “Thanks for thinking of me, but no, sorry that’s not my area of expertise, that’s not my lane.”
I would rather have no one emailing me with opportunities to collaborate than have 100 emails a day asking me to do things that aren’t in my lane. It means less time wasted answering emails, more time for me to hone my craft, and I don’t find myself in situations where I feel under qualified or a fraud for talking about something I know little about.
Don’t get me wrong, diversifying and learning new things is nothing to be frowned upon – for example, if a high fashion model wants to then move into presenting – what’s wrong with that?
Her lane is modelling, and she is so secure in that lane that she wants to challenge herself and move into another area – starting from the bottom and learning new skills as she hones her craft.
The premise also relates to our personal lives, I hope none of us are naïve enough to think that there aren’t different lanes in terms of relations with the opposite sex; I can think of at least two. If you want to be in lane one, then I guess you need to act like a lane one kind of girl; insist on being treated with respect, dress appropriately, stay in control of your actions.
You wouldn’t go to Cannes film festival or the Oscars in a Juicy Couture tracksuit and expect to be let in would you? Then I guess you can’t dress like a lane two girl and expect to be admitted into lane one.
I’m still learning just like you, but as I see it; the dangers of not staying in your lane are: 1. People will take advantage of you because you don’t stand for anything. 2. You will find yourself in situations that you aren’t comfortable in because you didn’t state clearly what you expect and require. 3. You will waste time that could be spent honing your craft, and finding your own, unique and utterly beautiful lane.
See: 1 Thessalonians 4:11 for inspiration.