Staying in your lane is vital if you want to make a difference in your industry and the world at large and avoid overwhelm, fear and exhaustion. Don’t be a business butterfly with a million ideas but no follow-through, or the person who has potential for impact but makes none because you can't focus. Instead, double-down on your vision, gather your tribe, and prepare yourself for setbacks with my secret ingredient for staying the course.
First things first: There is no wrong lane and it doesn't matter which one you choose. The important thing is to choose the cause or problem you’re emotionally drawn to because it’s this connection that will sustain you when the going gets tough (which it will).
Don’t choose a lane because it’s the hot topic of the moment - if it’s not your heart’s calling to be there, don’t be. Even if what you want to change isn’t currently fashionable, commit to it by creating a vision of what you want to achieve that really excites you.
Here’s how my personal vision helped pull me back into my own lane recently: I love business and am good at it generically. For 18 months I delivered all sorts of business coaching because people around me needed it and I knew I could help. As a management consultant, this sort of work is easy for me, but is it what I’m called to do? No. And by saying yes to these opportunities, my focus was taken away from helping organisations deliver successful, sustainable change that won’t kill their people and bring more trauma.
Without vision, we skate between lanes, getting tempted off in different directions by shiny things on the side of the road. To avoid distraction, hold a big vision of the future that energises and lights you up at the thought of being part of its creation.
Hold onto it when you fear you don’t have enough credibility or leadership to be a driving force. When inevitable doubts and setbacks occur, connect back to the emotion of your big vision and how it will change the world.
Action: Learn to co-create your vision with others - it’ll be better than anything you can come up with on your own and will sustain you when things get hard.
Overwhelm is a common problem I see in people working in change and transformation because of the very nature of this work. It’s the feeling that the problem you’re trying to solve is bigger than your ability to solve it - which, actually it is!
In order to break down huge problems and deliver solutions, you need a network of experts to help you. Not only will you go further together, you’ll be kept accountable when you’re tempted to go off and solve a different problem.
When you’re pulled towards solving a huge problem, such as helping your industry that’s crumbled as a result of the pandemic, reforming social care or health, tackling racial issues, or another cause you feel personally compelled to do something about, plant your flag in the soil. Look at who else is solving this problem and ask how you can help.
Gather people who are as passionate about the change you want to make as you are. It’s important to understand that you can’t be the only person travelling in your lane because you simply won’t make as much progress alone. Solving huge problems and creating meaningful change means going on a journey together to co-create solutions.
Action: Take steps to gather a global network of experts and change makers who are credible and energising around you.
There are certain essential attributes that will help you to stay in your lane and focus on solving the big problem in your sights.
One of them is persistence, or another word we’re hearing a lot about now: resilience. What does resilience actually mean, and how can you cultivate more of it so you can stay the course and make lasting change?
For me, the key to resilience is authenticity. You need to genuinely feel driven by your vision for solving the big problem in your sights. It’s a long old road to making successful, sustainable change and even when you’ve done the hard work of gathering a tribe around you, people will drift away from your cause when they get distracted by something else.
No one who has achieved big change knew how they were going to do it. Resilience is about wanting that end goal so much that you will continue to look for different ways to get there. You will keep going, even if you have no idea of the route and keep making wrong turns.
Resilience is about continuing to serve the community you’ve built around you who believe you’re part of the solution. When you're in no-man’s land and you’re exhausted, stay in your lane by looking towards your big vision and community for the inspiration, energy and sustenance you need to keep going.
Action: build the resilience to keep going by being 100 percent authentic with your vision and your tribe.
The Change Maker Academy will show you exactly how to implement your big vision and give you the support network, frameworks, tools and methodologies to get there. Launching soon, sign up to the waitlist for 25% off the cost and an optional payment plan. Money doesn’t have to be a barrier to you reaching the next stage in your career so join the waitlist now.
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