Mindset is such an important part of life and any form of transformation or change. If we are continually plagued by self-doubt, low self-esteem, and inconsistency, we'll never reach our full potential (nor have any fun doing it). And when we fall into the comparison trap, well, game over. It truly is the "thief of joy."
Kate shares one of her most potent tools for working your way through the comparison game one day at a time so that you can fully step into the person you were meant to be, your best self, which is waaaay better than being a carbon copy of someone else.
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These four words are:
Stay In Your Lane.
'Stay in your lane' is a phrase I first became familiar with after marrying my husband, and the US Army, by proxy.
It's a saying used to remind others to stay within their own area of expertise or responsibility when they are getting into someone else's business.
It's also a pretty well used phrase in the Army since everyone has a specific role and area of expertise, and there will still often be times when some people feel the need to interject their thoughts or influence into someone else's task or domain. Human nature, I guess!
So 'Stay in your lane' became equivalent to 'Mind your own business' to me, and it really started to take on personal meaning when I started tackling my own insecurities and tendency to compare myself to others.
Over the years, I developed a bad habit of comparing myself to others. And by "over the years," I mean probably since birth.
I remember distinctly measuring myself against others during my teens and 20s for sure, and clear into my mid-30s. I compared my weight, my fitness, my attractiveness, my professional ambitions (or lack thereof), my personality, my charm, my intelligence.... You name it, I compared it.
I was convinced, for a very long time, that I was lacking --- because I never measured up to those I compared myself to.
I even compared myself to the fitness models on magazines for a while there as a means to evaluate my own fitness, and in the past couple of years, I have struggled with comparing myself to other fitness professionals and entrepreneurs.
And you know what? It ate me alive and never, ever helped me to 'get better.'
When I started my journey to better body acceptance (which, let's be honest is SELF acceptance), I let myself 'off the hook.' At the time, this meant learning to live more peacefully in my own body and worry less and less about 'measuring up' against others or in the minds of others.
With practice, I became better and better at being okay in my body and accepting of it --- of all its strengths and weaknesses, assets and 'flaws.'
Which was awesome....only it wasn't enough. What I found when I became happy in my own skin was that I was still actively falling into the comparison trap --- it just wasn't about my physique, or strength, or speed anymore.
What I found myself now comparing was my intelligence, my charisma, my ambition, how accomplished I was/wasn't, how dedicated, how creative, how 'savvy'.... The list went on and on.
Instead of taking full advantage of the expertise of my business coach and fit pro peers (who are phenomenally smart and inspiring women), I was mentally stacking myself up against them, convincing myself I was 'less than' again, and shrinking instead of growing.
Finally, after I caught myself self-correcting an urge to compare physiques peacefully and effortlessly, I realized my problem AND my solution: I needed to stay in my lane.
For so much of my life I'd been caught up in looking to my left and to my right as a means of evaluating my progress and my worthiness.
And when our eyes are on the things going on to the left and right of us, the things that other people are doing, or saying or thinking, we have so much less energy and attention on what WE'RE doing.
One of the best quotes I've heard over the past few years, one of those amazing game-changer quotes (paraphrased) is, "What other people think of you is not your business. It's theirs. Your business is your business."
The part that stuck the most? Your business is your business.
When we are completely invested in the pursuit of becoming our best selves, we don't have time to worry what other people might think.
We don't have time to waste on looking right and left for reassurance that we're okay, or as motivation to change.
When we are completely invested in OUR business, we are actively pursuing our goals, we are taking the small daily steps needed to get us closer to those goals, we are proactively dealing with challenges we face and finding solutions that help us improve week by week.
When I started to challenge my episodes of falling into the comparison trap, I found that just saying 'Don't think that way" wasn't strong enough --- I needed a new, positive message to replace the old negative thought pattern and feedback loop.
So I adopted "Stay in Your Lane" as my mantra and my reminder.
Every time the compulsion to compare myself to anyone surfaced, I would quickly say to myself, "Stay in your lane," and it was a cue to shift my attention from the external to the internal. And it WORKED.
Instead of focusing on what might be happening 'to my left or right,' SIYL brought my focus back to MY purpose: becoming MY best me.
This saying hasn't just been helpful in dealing with the 'comparison trap' with other people. It's become a tool for refocusing my energy and attention to thinking, acting and behaving in a positive, proactive way that uses my energy to make positive progress, to map out success routes.
It's become a quick and easy means of nipping negative self-talk in the bud. "Stay in your lane" helps me avoid comparing myself not just to others, but to how I 'used to be' or how I think I 'should' be. It keeps me present-minded, goal-oriented and planning ways to succeed.
"Stay in your lane" helps me avoid or dismiss any 'should-a,' 'could-a,' or 'would-a.'
This saying keeps me in the now, looking forward to what I want, putting one foot in front of the other. And I bet it can help you, too!
• Do you catch yourself evaluating your body, personality, performance or choices against someone else's 'yardstick?'
• Do you rake yourself over the coals for yesterday's choices or 'failings?'
• Do you spend too much of your time and energy looking to your right and left instead of dead ahead?
• Are you losing determination to stick to your changes because other distractions keep you from seeing your goals?
Maybe it's time to adopt a policy and mantra of "Stay In Your Lane."
The very next time you feel yourself slipping into a negative thought pattern, or wondering what someone will think if you do X, Y or Z, or giving up on your goals because some distraction around you made you feel shaky, try saying to yourself, "Stay in Your Lane."
• Get present in your body.
• Get focused on YOUR goals.
• Remind yourself what YOU'RE really after --- what your long game is, then get busy planning and/or taking that next step that gets you closer.
It's taken daily effort and mindful practice, but I'm able to easily avoid 'the comparison trap,' EVEN when my biggest insecurity buttons are pushed. Because when I tell myself, "Stay in your lane," I get to focus on how I can, and get to, improve, not how I'm failing.
And that's huge --- the huge difference those 4 little words have made for me.
Give it a try. I'd love to hear what you think and how it works for you.
Talk to you soon, and Stay in Your Lane <3
I'm certified through the American Council on Exercise as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach. I’m Levels 1 and 2-certified in TRX Force Strength.
Testing limits – especially self-imposed ones – is a central theme to my own training and that of my clients. The world opens up to you when you let go of ‘I can’ts’ and ‘I’ll nevers’ and replace those thoughts with “What if I can? Let’s give it a shot.”
You can find me on Facebook (Real Life Fit by Kate) and Instagram (@reallifefitbykate), or check out my blog, Real Life Fit by Kate, at reallifefitbykate.com.