Until recently I did not really understand the essence of this statement. I heard someone say, as I now echo the importance of Learning your role and Mastering your lane. What does it all mean? The interpretation may vary, depending on who you ask, when, why and how. The asking of this question from women will differ in response from that of men. The ‘when’ of asking may invoke an unwelcoming response or unexpected behavior whereas the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of asking may not sit well either. So let’s talk about this for a minute.
Let’s take for instance your new position as Office Assistant. The staff welcomes you with open arms. You are introduced to your work responsibilities that of which include assisting others on how to best and seamlessly alleviate their stress, i.e. answering telephones, interacting with clients and the list continues. In this capacity you are later expected to adhere to subsequent duties because you have mastered your primary function with such tact, diplomacy and professionalism. Consequently, you are an essential fiber to the office whereas if absent, stress and chaos are apparent. With that said, now envision the staff without you!
If we, as employees are consciously able to give of our best selves to an employer, why is it that we lack the same practice in our personal space? The answer is complicated, but chiefly found in the protocols and guidelines that regulate our behaviors in the workplace which are less governed in our personal lives. The aforementioned vignette displays a sense of loyalty from the Office Assistant to the employer because there are capital interests attached, e.g. job promotion, employee recognition or peer notoriety that could possibly lead to professional openings. Whereas, in our personal lives the comparison may be abstract.
Staying in our lane and mastering our respective responsibilities are paramount in both aspects of our life – professional and business. Hence, I will be the first to admit, I have failed in this department, which is probably how I know so much about it. So let’s talk about how this can be introduced and better achieved so that both components of our lives are met. As one who is competent, proficient and effective in business development, I have worked in various capacities of sales: door-to-door, inside, outside, tangible, intangible, face-to-face, consumer-to-business, business-to-consumer and telemarketing to name a few. However, those who know me well may say my forte is that of an effective speaker of large audiences. Conversely, there is self admission to the enjoyment and comfort of a speaker role that I attribute to four years as a health instructor who still occasionally teaches life-saving techniques to persons who desire to learn and master the practices of CPR, AED and first aid.
Conversely, I am further confident in other fields of profession, particularly ones that are autonomous. Nonetheless, I am aware of what areas of business I am my best self although discerning this in my personal life is a recent pursuit. I function best when I visually see progress. However, I also realize and you will regularly hear me say that ‘Progress is defined as steps forward toward a goal, objective, project or mission, no matter the pace,’ which speaks to how we should all learn from our past to no longer be stuck there, yet grow from that stagnant position.
Is it ever a wonder how the personal bothers in our life have a spill-over detriment into our professional positions and vice versa. For instance, did the argument with your significant other leave you unprepared to finish that urgent- deadline-group project the next day? Or did your personal counseling session last night ultimately lead to the inaccurate figures you sent to the client, costing your department $16,000 in overhead costs? How about that awestruck comment from the VP who sent out a company email about how you caught a miscalculation in the business proposal that may have resulted in an over-staffing of volunteers on the company’s humanitarian assignment?
These are all examples of how we can either manage or mismanage our emotions. Further, these are also patterns that exude mixed emotions when our minds are at peace or, worse, disrupted. Conversely, we, as employees are often in tune with self that when there is an inkling of discomfort in our professional space we can usually discern the end result, i.e. conversation with the boss and the like. We are likewise able to decipher the same sentiments in our personal space, but the difference is often in our incapacity to exercise these practices. Simply put, we have policies and procedures in the work place that guides our actions, emotions, behaviors and the list continues – these actions inadvertently keep us in line with appropriate and inappropriate conduct or else our job is at stake. Unfortunately, this is viewed differently with our loved ones.
Grant it, there are a few who have mastered the skill of ‘staying in their lane,’ yet I am sure personal guidelines are at the core of their persistence and its consistency because we are all flawed. Therefore, learning, staying and mastering your lane is simply put as one’s understanding of the role s/he has in another’s life. Albeit a mother who accepts her role as mother and endorses the concept with complete onus. That mother will nurture, console, consult, guide and instruct her offspring in the different paths they must go; however, the mother will also know when to set aside personal time for her young to develop and grow individually, thereby appearing to be emotionally distant only long enough until she needs to hold her daughter’s heart or grab her son’s hand to deliver that maternal grace of leading each child by example. This same mother possesses a particular discernment whereas she will intuitively listen to her heart, asking it and God to guide her along the trails of wisdom and streams of maturity so that her respect remains in tact.
This mother who holds wifely responsibilities is further confident in her role as the spouse. She is considered an equal and respected partner because she brings her whole self to the relationship. Her heart is healed of past hurt and although she may speak of the past, her words are delivered with empathy and without contrite. She further ushers her husband in his masculinity, encouraging him and endorsing his dreams as the sole cheerleader and exclusive partner that he desires and deserves. His pains are her pains. His hurt is her hurt. His past is her past because it’s been shared as luggage lifted along the way towards a healthy relationship for the two to enjoy and reflect upon as lessons learned. She is his buddy and he likewise. They are cognizant of one another’s space because they realize that space and silence allows oneself to gather thoughts so that hasty words and reactive steps aren’t introduced. Both are attentive to the other’s needs, respecting the body, mind and spirit they each share in the place they call home – please read my post about how a home differs from that of a house.
Mr. Husband, who may have been hurt before is transparent about his wounds, yet possesses an astuteness for personal counsel to help him heal beyond the hurt. Because he has a partner in his wife, he is conscious of her wants, desires, needs and the essential ‘me’ times needed. Instead of interrogating her, he solicits responses with selective-word choosing. The traditional ‘telling his wife what to do’ does not sit well with him because he knows that will quickly result in her ‘feeling some kinda way,’ so he instead engages in substantial conversations that includes words like ‘we, us and our’ because they both know that the ‘I’s, me’s and you’s’ of conversations can drive each in separate directions. Mr. Head of Home will ask for his wife’s input in decision making because he realizes that exclusivity may lead to toxic situations that could have been prevented and avoided.
These respective roles are challenging to perfect. Mastering one’s lane simply implies that whatever role you are given in another’s life, you are expected to be that and more. Study your role description, become efficient in it, excel in it, promote it, guard it, nurture it, praise it and usher others who are misguided on how to become a like-minded peer of that great spouse, awesome co-worker, loving husband, unforgettable partner and appreciative boss. Venture out, daringly asking others how you may help them feel better about themselves so that others can feel the spill-over benefit. Don’t shun the opportunity to become the awesome mother to your child because your own lacked the ability to do so. And most importantly, embrace your role as wife, mother, significant other or partner, viewing it as a title that you wear proudly, adopt fully and apply proficiently. You are not a label because there can never be a monetary value attached.
When God gives us the title parents, we are actually chaperones of his children. If we each veer from our assigned and respective lanes, we thereby engage in areas of neglect. As with that opening position where you were hired to create that seamless atmosphere at your workplace, you are thereby accountable to ensure the role at home is properly filled so that spill-over detriments and loss of emotional stability are proactively handled to create a happy home instead of an unstructured house.
Be kind to others. There is enough to g’round!