By Renee Huse
If you know me, you know I love Brené Brown. One of my favourite expressions she uses is: “Stay in your own lane.”
Take a minute and think about driving your car on a fast-moving highway. Think about that feeling you get when you’ve stayed in the passing lane a little longer than you should have. Maybe the person behind you is riding your tail or, worse, honking at you. Think of that feeling you get when you pull out to pass someone on a single-lane highway. Doesn’t it feel like you’re sort of “white-knuckling” it until you can get back over to your own lane? Think about that little voice in the back of your head saying, “Oh, brother! I’m moving a little too fast here. I hope I don’t blow a tire!” It all just feels wrong, doesn’t it? It feels like you’re in the wrong lane.
Here’s the thing. We’ve all got a lane that works best for us, whether it’s on the highway or in our relationships, in our careers, in our families, or even in terms of the number of hours of sleep we need at night. The difficulty is figuring out which lane works best for you, then owning it and being brave enough to find your way back to that lane when you know you’ve made a wrong move.
When I started going to REIN meetings about three-and-a-half years ago and we’d be asked to fill out the “goal card,” I’d set a realistic goal for myself. Then, five minutes later, I’d see Richard Dolan or Jared Hope or some other amazing investor speak on stage, and my immediate reaction would be, “I need to do more. I need to raise more capital. I need to get involved in renovations. I need to get involved in creative real estate…”—you get the picture. A month later, things would be going nicely with my real estate portfolio, but I would think that I needed to pull out of the right lane and into the passing lane and take on a renovation project, a rent-to-own deal, or a different tenant profile. Often, “departing from my lane” was both costly and stressful.
Going to REIN meetings over the years, I’ve struggled on many occasions with “staying in my own lane,” whether it was related to real estate or something else. Let’s face it: the room is filled with creative, motivated overachievers. It is simultaneously an awesome and an intimidating place to be. At any given meeting, you might hear someone talk about four books they’ve read (or written, for goodness’ sake), their morning meditation and workout routine, their “personal Belize” and travel plans, their amazing home gardens, or their second homes. Sometimes it’s easy for me to get pulled out into the fast lane, even though I know in my heart that it’s not really where I want to be.
I’m going to tell you a bit about my lane, as it stands today, in the hopes that you might find some motivation to define your lane.
The Huse lane is cluttered with three kids (aged three, six, and eight), a husband who works full time, and a mortgage/real estate business that I run from my home office. In my lane you’ll find nine children’s activities packed into five days. (Sometimes in that lane you’ll also find kids dropped off at the wrong activities on the wrong days.)
In my lane you’ll find sleepless nights and musical beds because someone (read: everyone) has a cold/flu/bad dream. In my lane you won’t find a garden, or even a live plant for that matter. In this lane you’ll often find takeout sushi (the owner of the restaurant hugs my children when we pick it up—oh, the shame!), and you’ll find me (inconsistently and half asleep) at my 5:15 a.m. workout classes.
This lane holds a real estate portfolio that is 75% “right.” In my you won’t find renovations or pet projects. Instead you’ll find a list of amazing tradespeople contacts that I keep close to my heart. In this lane you won’t find major tenant disputes, arguments, or confrontations—you’ll hear the word “dissipate.” You’ll find firm rules, kindness, and win-win solutions.
Overall, in my lane you’ll find an exhausted mom of three who is often eating a sandwich while driving an F-150 to the ski hill, with a laptop on the passenger seat and a “For Rent” sign in the back. You’ll find a gal who’s wildly passionate about building a financial future for herself and her family and who shows up as a contributor in her community.
Here is the thing to remember: My lane is about me and my goals. It’s about the people I love. If I am increasing the speed or changing the trajectory of that lane, it’s because it is the right business or personal decision to make at the time. Am I inspired and motivated by the speakers at REIN and the community? You bet. But I will not depart from my lane for the sake of reaching a destination that isn’t where I truly want to go.
I’d like to challenge you over the next month, as we move into the new year, to step back and look at the people you love and get really clear on what defines your lane. Where are you going? What is the direction in which you are headed? What are the boundaries you need to set to get there? What are the rewards and checkpoints along the way? And why is it your lane?
I invite you to shoot me an email and share your answer to these questions with me, I’d love to read them. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.