When “staying in your own lane” is bad advice
I said this to Olly multiple times on Tuesday night as I sweat not only my guts but also my eyeballs, heart valves, hopes, and dreams out onto the mat rolled out in our lounge.
Of course, I’m not actually dead because I’m writing this email to you, , but OH MY GIDDY AUNT it was touch and go for a few minutes.
The app I hook up to my television to do my workouts just introduced a new feature called Fiit Club which involves a group of people joining the same online class and being scored on a live leaderboard. The more effort you put in, the more points you get, and it’s all based on your heart rate monitor.
(It’s a super smart app and I love how innovative their technology is. Not to mention convenient for a woman who wants abs but doesn’t want to leave the house to get them.)
Usually, when I exercise using this app, I’m the only one setting the benchmark. There’s only one ‘lane’ so to speak. I think I’m pushing myself hard down it, but how would I really know when there are no other lanes to compare mine with?
The entire concept of Fiit Club revolves around competition. (A word that’s got a bad rap in the entrepreneurial world.) Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one setting the benchmark. When I could see that Anna was a few points ahead of me, I burpeed like a mad woman to try to catch her up. And then FLIPPING SUSAN came along and overtook me which had me swearing at the television like a coyote mid-lunge.
When you’re slogging that hard, seeing yourself go down the leaderboard puts some kind of rocket-fuel up your backside. You thought you were doing your best, but actually, you weren’t. The whole concept works because you’re constantly being driven to do better.
The initial driver is external – the other people on the leaderboard, but the secondary driver is internal – your mind.
If these people are getting more points, then I can, too. Body, keep going. Show me what you’re really made of.
That’s why it gets my goat when the internet preaches to ‘stay in your own lane’ and ignore what people around you are doing when it comes to business.
Why? Why would you ignore the external driving force? I LOVE looking around at what others are doing. Not only does it inspire me because I get a better understanding of what I enjoy consuming, it makes me wonder what I can do/create/deliver that’s BETTER. It encourages me to discover what I’m truly capable of.
Staying in your own lane is smart – but how do you even know you’re in a lane worth staying in if you haven’t compared it to others?
How can you contribute new insights to a conversation if you don’t know what’s already been said?
How can your brand intentionally stand out if you’re not aware of what it’s trying to stand out from?
The point isn’t to compete with others. It’s to get inspired to compete harder with yourself. You can’t truly do that if you put blinkers on and ignore what’s going on around you.
So, sure, stay in your own lane, but only when you’re sure it’s the best lane for you to be in.