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Stay in Your Lane

Most of the time I’m pretty optimistic. Ummm, maybe sarcastically so? I don’t know. I might be living in a sitcom in my head. But the fact is, I DO think positively when it comes to my goals and the goals of others. I have no reason not to think I can’t achieve anything I want because I’ve already done so multiple times. Maybe not how I thought I would, but I did. That doesn’t stop that voice of inadequacy from popping up. I’m trying to pay more attention to when she pipes up and right now I am doing some things that are nothing if not uncertain. I'm taking some risks – for me – and doing new things, so I think that's her cue. But despite her, I’m glad I'm doing these. I LOVE that I am. But because of that voice, I found myself reminding myself that I have to stay in the here and now. Don’t think about the future over which I have no control and that may not even play out like I could imagine if I gave myself a second to let Miss Inadequate have the floor. I can’t think about the past because that’s like digging through the garbage. Can’t redo any of that anyway, right? So all I can do is stay here in the present and think about what I am trying to achieve and do everything I can in this one day to head in that direction.

This is about mindset and if I allow myself to really consider it for just a moment, I have had two months so far of being extremely intentional about how I think – about my business, about my success, about myself. In these past two months:

  • I have been published on a site I have wanted for about a year;

  • I have joined two dynamic, supportive communities through whom I am getting such a boost to my esteem because I have helped and been appreciated, I have received help and been blessed;

  • I have found 4 fantastic ladies to work with and netted 2 new clients with the possibility of others;

  • and I have launched my site and gotten a VA.

I am also stepping out a little further financially by getting some specialized help in fine tuning the services I am offering and I look forward to learning some new things there. I’ve gotten a little more organized and structured in how I use my limited time, including trying to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep on the nights I have to go to work the next day! That’s huge for me! Right now I am testing a marketing plan in line with who I am and who knows where that might take me. I don’t know. From where my positive side sits, I’m making strides. What’s the problem?

The problem is some days I am steering my car just fine, noticing the bright sky, fluffy clouds and the fact that traffic is light. And some days I look over and notice that better looking car next to me and I think, “Ah. If only I had THAT car. I love the color. It’s bigger and I bet the seats are heated. That person must be doing pretty well to afford it. Hmm. Wonder what their life is like?” The times when I notice me doing this the most? When I actually see my future car. A 4-door orange SUV. Don’t ask my if it’s another Nissan or not. It might be, but I remain open on the make and model. All I know is that is what I want next. So I suppose when I see it, I think about the fact that I don’t have it yet. And why don’t I, honestly? Because I don’t want it badly enough right now to take on a car payment again. Because my son will be driving soon and I’m focused on him right now. Because I want to be able to pay either at least half of it in cash or all of it – again, because I hate the thought of a car payment coming back to haunt me. There is nothing wrong with my sweet little blue Nissan Versa that is roomier than one might think. It’s been good to me and I tell her I love her, lest she think I’m thinking about replacing her. I’m not. I’m thinking about maintaining her so my son can have his own car one day and THEN I will get what I want next. So why look over when I see my future car on the highway and think anything at all? Because I’m human and it can’t be helped.

Most recently that orange SUV came in the form of another website that is sooo much of what I am looking to turn mine into. I saw it through one of my groups. It’s sweet and it’s fun and it clearly a good mix of what the businessowner does and who she is. Perfect! I loved it instantly. Then I heard that stupid voice. Ugh. “Can you imagine what it took for her to create that? It’s so organized! And look, her husband is part of her team so she’s got internal help. I think this is competition. How are you ever going to get to this level?” Sigh. Hearing that is like knowing how determined I have been over the past 7 years to slowly and deliberately lose the 55-60 pounds I have so far (that means 5 pounds keep coming and going right now), but instead beating myself up because I still have 20 or so that I still want to lose before I chill out for a while. Now that I’ve just written that, I think that it’s nuts to focus on things that way, on the thing that's not done yet. Same thing about the business. Because of the 10+ years of experience I have from growing the puzzle business, I feel light years ahead when it comes to growing this one. I even started off by investing in the kind of help I need out the gate. We didn’t do that the first time. I'm growing!

If I really want to be truthful about how things seem in the world of others, all I have to do is listen to the startup stories of other entrepreneurs. The guy who was on the verge of foreclosure before he made it. The mom whose family was on welfare before they made it. The guy who was suicidal. The guy who just couldn’t get his business off the ground, until he did.

Yeah, I know it sounds like things have to get horrible before they will get great, but I don't buy that. Everyone's road is different. These stories had to be as interesting as they are to get on a show like that in the first place. That doesn't have to be me and I need to remember that. I can't journey down someone else's road if I wanted to. I have to stay in my own lane.

Besides, have you ever admired another car and then gotten in only to find out the owner kinda treats it like trash on the inside? I can live with how the snow and rain dirties my own car on the outside, until I get sick of it and take it to the car wash. But the inside? That I’m very particular about, even with my messy daughter who is constantly testing my patience with how she treats my back seat like it's her bedroom. So I have a somewhat low threshold when it comes to car interiors and if I get in and someone’s car is not clean to my liking, who cares what the outside looks like. My admiration is lost.

There really is no reason to covet what another person has. My rational mind knows this. I can love that other website all I want, but the fact is it's the branding I’m attracted to anyway and I’m not ready to focus on that for my business yet. I’m too busy trying to do the work and connect with new people. The brand will evolve because it has to. I will get there if I stay in my own lane.

I told myself all of this. I remembered something I had told myself just yesterday – Too many voices, Monica. Just pick the people you want to listen to and skip the rest for now so you can focus. All that is distraction. This year is all about consistency, persistence and focus, after all. I told myself all that yesterday and today I’m feeling this way and having to encourage myself. That's life for you. And then, holy crap. Today an angel spoke in my ear while I was at work. He spoke after I had written this blog post. And this is how I know God hears me and gives me what I need. I’m on the right path and I’m doing things the way I should. This is my confirmation to go ahead and admire the other drivers, but to stay in my lane. Take a listen.

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