Sunday, October 15, 2017

Staying in Your Lane by Jena Bell

How often have you heard the expression, “Just stay in your lane?” Maybe it was directed to you or about someone who you know.  Or, was it a little voice you whispered to yourself when you were feeling uncertain about your next project or opportunity?

Reflecting on my personal journey, I recall an individual saying those very words to me.

It was the end of spring 1977. I was excited and full of joy because I was enrolled in driver’s education.  I planned to practice all summer so I could convince my parents I would be ready to drive by the fall.  At that time, driver’s education was taught at school and my favorite teacher, Coach Bean, was my instructor.   I loved his training  because I trusted him and he made it fun.  We started the lesson driving local roads.  Once I mastered those, it was on to the highway.   I felt confident driving on familiar roads  but the highway was a different story.  I was terrified!  It was congested and the cars drove too fast. As we approached the interstate, my anxieties skyrocketed.  Merging onto the road, my hands shook with fear. The speeding cars, heavy traffic and big trucks, rattled every nerve.  It was so bad,  every time an 18-wheeler approached me, my palms dripped with sweat and my heart pounded.  I was so scared, I moved the car to the shoulder of the road to allow the trucks to pass.  Sensing my fear, Coach Bean commented, “Bell, just stay in your lane.” The next session he challenged me to stay  in my lane and to not spill his coffee.  I made it!  As my confidence increased, he commented, “Great, glad to see you’re  staying in your lane, nice and steady.”  I felt proud!  I had mastered  staying in my lane and found my comfort zone.  The following session, I repeated my style easing into my comfort zone. I didn't want to rock my grove.  As I eased into my zone, Coach Bean turned to me and said, “Bell, at some point you must speed up and change lanes, otherwise,  you‘ll never get what you want.”  Wow, what a powerful statement.  I had learned the basics, but I needed to reposition and change my pace to grow.  I had to face new challenges, but with each challenge came greater mastery, decision-making, awareness and mental reflex.

That’s the way I see life. We have to learn when and how to change lanes.  It may be  uncomfortable, but we do it anyway learning to keep pace with oncoming traffic, but eventually setting our own pace.  We weave in and out of our zones but never stop challenging ourselves.  We continuously raise the bar to never settle for less than our full potential.  I believe staying in your lane is appropriate at times but, your greatest possibilities will be unleashed when you exercise the courage to change lanes!

To find out more about Jena Bell, visit her at: Twitter: @jenalbell

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