I was in a meeting with a client recently where the bulk of the conversation consisted of corporate lingo – KPAs, KPIs, performance measurements and reviews. Having a corporate background, these terms and strategies are not new to me and are methods I have used over the years. It was only after the meeting, whilst mulling the specifics of the discussion and the project requirements, that I started to ask myself, “but isn’t this one of the reasons I left the corporate world because I wasn’t passionate about these types of things?” This is where I draw inspiration for my topic this month, “Sticking to your lane”.
How many times have you changed lanes or diverged from your areas of strength and passion to accommodate a task or job description that you, actually, didn’t really love? It’s easy to fall into this trap when you know you are capable of doing other tasks and want to please clients- and it can also benefit growth and development in other areas of expertise. But, if you find yourself changing lanes a little too often, you steer away from those aspects of your work that energise, inspire and motivate you. I offer my most productive version when I am driving in the lanes of marketing, design and creativity, and thus, these areas show off my greatest results in my space. I take pride in knowing that I have focussed on cultivating my strengths and placed my energy in the areas I am passionate about. In doing this, I am offering my best work and ensuring my clients are happy.
So, how do you know if you are ‘changing lanes’? Small deviations in what tasks you are willing to perform for clients can gradually evolve without you realising and the next thing you potentially find yourself feeling glum and uninspired every day. When I start to feel as though there is dip my passion levels and I am not drawing energy or joy from my work, I know I’m steering a little too far off. It’s not about being ‘picky’ or stubborn with clients or areas of work, and certainly not about throwing in the towel in the middle of a job after you decide you are not feeling passionate anymore. Rather, it’s about being mindful from the start and having a clear idea of your strengths, your business aims and goals, knowing your niche and capacity and sticking to those lanes.
Fortunately for us, we live in the age of technology where everyone is connected, and networking is at our fingertips. This means there are wonderful opportunities for every kind of business to collaborate and use each other’s strengths. If I am working for clients who require tasks that fall out of my area of expertise, I know I can outsource those tasks to reliable, expert businesses in my network to get the job done and vice versa! This means there are ways to work around sticking to your lanes of strength and still getting other job requirements completed.
Sticking to your lane is about establishing your business objectives, strengths and goals from the start and staying true to them. By doing so, you will ensure you are offering the best version of yourself and your work every time.