I’ve been making a ton of two-hour highway trips lately as I’ve been managing the reno on our new pad.And I’ve found myself consistently sticking to a lane strategy on the mass of freeways that make up greater Los Angeles.Never the right lanes—there, massive trucks present clear and present danger as they speed up/slow down for oncoming cars.And almost never the commuter lanes because like a true Angeleno, I’m usually traveling solo.I’ve found my lane just to the right of the fast lane. It keeps me close to the speed lane so I can move over when I need to zip by and yet unharassed by the 90 MPH crazies who would otherwise shoot me the finger (or worse).Is it a rut? Of course not—it’s a strategy to commute as quickly and safely as possible based on how I drive best.
The same is true of your business.
There is a highest, best use of your time—your personal genius if you will—that once discovered, makes your lane clear. (Not sure how on your personal genius? Here’s how to get there.
)For example: Jessie is a strategist first and foremost. Which means that executing tactical steps is not her primary talent. Can she do it in a pinch? Of course—she’s a pro.But if she does too much of it, it saps her energy and before you know it, she’s firmly out of her genius and into a rut.She’s charging less—tactical execution typically doesn’t command the same consulting fees as strategy—for work that doesn’t use her best talents.Fee pressures + your not-best work create a rut.Related: The Rewards From Sticking With Your Strategy
Instead, learn to stay firmly in your lane while avoiding getting stuck in a rut that doesn’t serve you. Get exquisitely clear on those aspects of your work that drive you.
This means teasing out your ideal combination of your expertise, how you like to work, your big idea and your ideal audience (always making sure there’s a viable market for what you’ll be selling). Don’t be afraid to shift lanes when something’s not working.
Precious few of us choose our lane early and never veer elsewhere. It takes some experimentation to discover your sweet-spot. Which means that sometimes the slow lane is exactly the right place to be as you reconfigure your work and business. Think of your lane as a set of guardrails.
In Jessie’s lane, she’s got a strategy guardrail. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have plenty of room to try new ideas, new platforms, new people. It’s only a rut if you keep doing the same things the same way without evaluating how they’re impacting your performance. Working your personal brand
of genius isn’t just brilliant for your business. It’s what enables you to keep loving your work and the people you serve.