Part 2: How To Find Your Lane

Before you can stay in your lane, you have to know what and where it is right? Here’s how in seven easy steps…

1. Write a list of things you would and wouldn’t do

This can span personal and professional situations, for example on your list of things you would do could be; take a week off work for a yoga retreat, spend a month’s income on new web design or work overtime for no extra pay to get a project finished.

On your list of things you wouldn’t do might be; work for free on a project to help someone out, kiss on the first date, miss a family birthday party for an important networking event. It’s important to know what you are and aren’t prepared to do so that when the situation arises you can make quick and consistent decisions and say sorry; that’s not me.

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2. Find out what your career should be

Remember when you learned about Venn diagrams in school? Well they are about to come in handy (for the first time ever). Find the biggest piece of paper you can and draw two interlocking circles. In one circle write a list of things you are good at, and in the other, a list of things you enjoy doing, are there any that belong in both circles? Write them in the middle.

It’s important not to worry about which of these things you can actually get paid for at this stage, thinking about how we are going to support ourselves only restricts us, there are people making good money by shooting vine videos or doing tutorials on Youtube. See: Internet famous.

If your dream job is something that you can’t make money from right now e.g. blogging, pick something else from that middle section of your Venn diagram that you can make money from, and blog your little heart out during lunch breaks, after work and at the weekends until it pays.

3. Write a list of your key qualities

This list can help you see if you are actually suitable for the career you have in mind, if you are both good at and enjoy looking after people, but you are impatient – a career as a nurse might not be for you.

Make sure your key qualities align with those career options that ended up in the middle of the Venn diagram.

4. Create a fantasy of your ideal life

I spend a LOT of time daydreaming, probably too much. But I do think it’s good to have an idea of what ‘success’ looks like to you. What job would a successful you have? What would she eat? What would she wear? Would she live alone or have a family?

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5. Use a Pinterest board to define your new identity

I have a secret board of things that are just *so* me; from quotes or single words, to outfits, to book covers I love. The board can be as random as you like; mine has lots of pictures of pineapples.

This helps when you’re struggling to figure yourself out, and you can always refer back to it and find comfort in seeing your favourite things in one place (of course you can also make a physical collage.) I would suggest keeping the board ‘secret’ on Pinterest because this isn’t about how you want others to see you, it’s about who you really are; embarrassing favourite boy bands and all.

6. Take silly personality quizzes

A fun way to get thinking about all aspects of your personality is to take personality tests – you can do it the old school way by buying magazines or Buzzfeed has loads of hilarious ones including: Which Disney animal are you?, Are You More Jennifer Garner Or Jennifer Aniston? And Which Beyoncé Song Are You? 

7. Set realistic goals

The beautiful thing about staying in your lane is that you are fulfilling a destiny only you can fulfill. Your goals should not be the same as your best friend, sister or mother, they should reflect your skills, experiences and dreams. They should also be realistic and appropriately worded.

Instead of writing a goal such as; “Be a famous singer,” set goals such as; “Release first pop album in the next five years by continuing to network and meet new producers, taking daily singing lessons and writing a new song at least once a week.” That way the goal seems less daunting and you have practical steps to follow.

Read Part 1 here: Phoebe Parke on… The Importance of Staying in Your Lane

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