You want to find your lane (your purpose) so that you can get in your lane and stay there, right? I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about intention, focus, purpose, fighting fear, etc. Basically I have been thinking about all the things that will prevent you from stepping into and living out your purpose. One of things I think really distracts a lot of us is too many options. If you have multiple talents, it can be harder for you than for others to figure out which one talent you want to focus on in this moment. It sounds so weird, but I sometimes feel sorry for people who are good at too many things. I tell my brother and sister all the time, because they are both really smart, that I realize it can be really hard to figure out what they want to do with their lives because they are good at so many things. Who knew being really talented could be a blessing and a curse?
I think the inability to identify your ’highest purpose’ or at least the skill that you want to focus on right now is tough. Maybe you aren’t ready to do your highest work right now, but you would like to pick one of the things you are fabulous at to start with. The inability to narrow that list down, is what prevents so many of us from doing so many of the things we say we want to do and what the universe really needs for us to do. Keep reading to discover how to find your lane so you can get in it.
How Do I Know When I’m In My Lane?
- Do I know I’m in my lane because I’m doing something that seems easy for me?
- Do I know I’m in my lane because I’m doing something that other people find difficult?
- Or am I in my lane when people are willing to pay me to do a particular thing?
None of these answers the question, how do I know when I’m in my lane. But they are a good starting point.
So, I’m on Facebook the other day, playing around and eating ice cream with one hand while scrolling through stories with the other when something made me drop my spoon! For those of you who are aware of my new boyfriend, FitBit Flex, we have not broken up and we remain committed to improved health. It’s not really ice cream, it’s Skinny Cow, but I still think it’s a treat. Full-fat ice cream or not, it’s delicious and it had to be something really big for me to drop my spoon and risk missing even one bite.
As I was cruising along my Most Recent stories, I had one of those divine appointments. You know, one of those moments where I said to myself, this is just too good to be a coincidence. I see you God, I saw what you did there. One of those magic moments when God wanted to let me know that he had his eyes on me. Have you had one of those? Aren’t those delicious? One of those moments in which you know that several seemingly unrelated things came together to help you clarify a thought you were having, to affirm a conclusion you had reached, to help answer a question you were twisting around in your head. To underline a point you have made. To emphasize and affirm what your inner voice had already hinted at.
A childhood friend posted pics of her son’s high school graduation. If you have a FaceBook account, I know you have been inundated with these pictures just like I have for about the last month. I have seen these pictures and I really didn’t take much notice of them. Sorry, I’m not being mean, I just don’t usually click on stuff like that. But on this evening, I clicked. I was amused in the moment that somebody I played with as a child had a child of her own old enough to graduate from high school. Actually she has more than 1 child old enough. It’s a medical miracle, because we have not aged a bit.
On her timeline, in addition to the picture of one child’s graduation, I noticed that she shared a video from another child. Again, not something I would usually click on, but this pic fascinated me because the son was holding a violin. Now, some of you may know that at one time I was training to be a concert pianist—I know, right? Who woulda thunk? I was one of those people who sat down at a piano at about 6 years old and just started playing a song I heard on the radio. If I recall correctly, it was Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. (Thanks you, Mrs. Gipson for recognizing the song when I breathlessly recorded it into my cassette recorder and played it back at Sunday school.) So until I reached my sophomore year of college and got all distracted, I was training to be a professional musician. Because of that, I have a deep affinity for music. I can’t dance to save my life but I love listening to music and believe that I FEEL it on a much deeper level than most. HA!
So, I’m intrigued that her son (Christian) is in a band and that he plays the violin. And to make it even more interesting, he is doing a cover of the Alicia Keys song, If I Ain’t Got You. LOVE that song! I hit play and there went my spoon. Shut the front door! OK, so you will understand, I’m going to include the video right below. Click the image below to watch the video and then keep reading.
Amazing or what?! I was immediately sharing the video to my brother’s wall and calling my sister on the phone so she could watch it with me over the internet. What blew my mind was not just that he was covering a song I really like but that he was so completely, blissfully in his lane, it’s hard to describe. It was a spoon-dropping moment. Those 3.5 minutes were epic. He made something incredibly difficult look so easy. And watching that video taught me 3 ways to know when you are in your lane:
- When I looked at his personal profile, he had a bunch of videos in which he covered contemporary songs in addition to other videos with his band, etc. He didn’t create just one video for the giggle, he made multiple videos. He couldn’t stop himself from making more. Something inside him really wanted to share his ‘take’ on those songs with the rest of us. And I’m glad he was obedient to that prompting. He can’t NOT do music. (Yes, I now that is grammatically incorrect.) Clue #1 that you are absolutely, positively in your lane is that you cannot NOT do the thing. You can’t keep yourself from doing it. You think about it doing it even when you just finished doing it. If someone tried to make you stop doing it you would find a way to keep doing it.
- What he was doing was so difficult, but it didn’t appear to be difficult to him. At a couple points he was smiling, almost laughing at some private joke. It was as if he was thinking, ‘Yeah, I know what I’m doing right here is EVERYTHING. I don’t know if you guys are paying attention, but I’m kinda the bomb right here and right now. Don’t miss this! I am really this incredible.’ So from this I gathered, he is really confident in his skills (as he should be) and he was so enjoying what he was doing that his joy was obvious. I do not know him, I have never met him, so I don’t know if he’s normally introverted and reserved, but mid-performance, he was neither of those things. He was simply in his lane. And I could feel that joy right through my computer screen. Clue #2 that you are in your lane is that when you are doing the thing, your joy is so evident, nobody can deny it. If the joy you derive from the activity supersedes all other emotions, and people are drawn to you because of that, you may be in your lane. Ding, Ding, Ding!
- Finally, I recognized that what he did was breathtakingly, magnificently unique. Nobody else could do precisely what he did, the way he did it, why he did it, when he did it, or how he did it. Now my sister informed me that there are other people who have ‘covered’ contemporary songs with an unexpected musical arrangement or instrument. OK, but just because others are doing the same thing, doesn’t mean your result is the same. Did you catch that? Because that will help you when you worry that whatever gift you want to bring to the world, somebody else is already providing. So what? Do you remember when David Cook sang that dark, bittersweet, show-stopping version of Always Be My Baby on American Idol in Season 7? Someone else had sung that arrangement before, but not the way David did, at the moment, on that stage, while he was in his lane. I’m not saying nobody else could do an unusual cover. What I’m saying is that in the video I shared, Christian was the only person able to provide his take on the Alicia Keys song in precisely that way. Clue #3 that you might be in your lane is that you have produced something that you KNOW nobody else could have done in just that way at just that time.
Just because others may do something similar, doesn’t mean your gift isn’t valued. Your Story is for Your Audience. Be You. Tweet This
Some Things to Keep in Mind
I have now watched that video probably 4-5 times. Ok, probably closer to 20 times. I keep watching because it reminds me of how powerful it is to do something that you just know you were put on this earth to do. So it re-energizes me for my work around being able to break down focus and clarity into the steps required to figure out what you really want to do so that you can show up. I encourage you with everything I have to punch fear in the throat, but that is not where the story ends. I want you to punch fear in the throat so it will be silent while you show up and tell YOUR story. It’s hard to show up if you don’t know who you are. And you can’t tell your story if you’re not familiar enough with it.
So I hope you enjoyed Christian’s video. You can even make his version the ringtone on your phone if you want, just sayin’. But what I would really love is for you to think about these things:
- What are the things that you simply can’t NOT do?
- What is a skill or gift that gives you so much joy when you share it, that it’s like nothing else in your life?
- What have you created that was so YOU, that you know nobody else could have done it the way you did it?
You don’t have to share your thoughts with me, but I’d love it, if you did. Send me a note or leave a comment below. The important thing is not that you tell me, but that you have the conversation with yourself. I’ve said it before, I believe our work is to identify our lane, so that we can get in it and stay in it.
How do you know when you’re in your lane? What did you learn about yourself when you considered the questions above? Let me know in the comment box below. 🙂
Have a POWERFUL day!