Why 'Stay In Your Lane' Is Bad Advice

99% of the time someone tells you to "stay in your lane" you can rightfully interpret it as, "Your talent and/or success threatens me and I'm afraid I'm becoming irrelevant." 

Should you try to be all things to all people or a "Jack of all trades"? No, and that's not what this is about.

If your skillset allows you to pursue new opportunities that make sense for your brand, your family, and your goals, go after them. You don't need permission from those who would rather see you fail, or worse, coast along in joyless mediocrity.

Your goals belong to you and ambition is not a dirty word. You don't need your competitors to sign off on your business plan. 

Originally published April 2014

Competing to Succeed

Too many people are dismissive of what real competition looks like, or that exists at all. The industry newcomers don’t have the skill set, connections, or years in the game that you do, so they can’t possibly compete with you. The other person doesn’t even play in the same sandbox as you, so they obviously aren’t a competitor.

Here’s the truth: budgets are limited, no matter how large. If a person or company competes for the same dollars in a budget, they’re your competitor. If a potential client hires them and therefore no longer has as much money left to hire you, that professional is a competitor. This means that an event planner is often in a position of competing with a splurge-worthy photographer. A business consultant competes with a workshop. A restaurant where an entrepreneur spends money getting face-to-face with potential clients competes with a publisher’s ad platform.

Many of the people you may not consider competition are serious about building a brand that makes what you bring to the table less relevant. And the more you keep your head in the sand about who does and does not compete with you, the better for them.

You can be friends with and build community with your competitors and there is certainly room for many people to be successful – but you cannot succeed if you don’t compete.

Originally published March 2015

Who You Are, Now

One of the best gifts we can give in conversation when reintroduced to people we've lost touch with is, “Tell me who you are now.”

None of us are the same person we used to be. We set New Year's Resolutions with this very goal in mind, putting hope in our potential to do and be better. All of us have grown and changed, having been shaped by the experiences that come with turning another year – or several years – older.

If you’re still defining someone by mistakes they made years ago, chances are they’re still defining you by yours as well.

If you haven’t seen someone for a while and your paths cross, allow yourself the gift of being the first to extend the benefit of the doubt.

Originally published January 2015