I recently watched a Periscope broadcast by someone who was discussing the concept of “staying in one’s lane” as it applies to doing what you do best and not trying to do what someone else does best. Basically, stay in the lane where your best unique talents and abilities are … don’t creep over into another lane where your skills and talents are lacking.
As I was pondering what I do best and what my lane is, I began seeing the irony as it applies to many speakers and communicators. It’s often not intentional. We creep over into other people’s lanes because … there’s an app for that.
Technology and tools have made it easy for people to do things that previously they did not have a choice but to solicit the help of someone who had a unique gifting in a specific area or lane. Let me give you a couple of examples.
1. WordSwag or Canva (and other like precious apps). These little apps have become very popular among those who like to post quotes, known as memes or infographics, on social media. Unfortunately, not everyone who uses these apps is gifted with graphic ability. Even though they are easy to use, not everyone needs to use them. Until these apps were made available at the fingertips of anyone with a smart phone, when someone wanted to create an infographic, they’d first have to hire someone for a few dollars per infographic who IS uniquely gifted in creating them. Now, anyone with an app can create their own and the result is … well, honestly, there’s just a hot mess of things being posted. Those who know want to uphold their perceived level of professionalism hire people to create their infographics. You don’t see Joel Osteen, Stormie Omartian, Joyce Meyer, and others creating their own. No, because if they did … well, it would not be at the level of quality that they want or need. If they did, they would be lane creepers too.
2. About 10 years ago, this same phenomenon happened to speakers’ promotional materials and it’s still impacting us today. We call these materials today an electronic press kit. If a speaker wanted to create promotional materials, they would hire a professional photographer and a graphic designer to develop a professional quality promo sheet. The technology to do so themselves wasn’t available until the personal PC put desktop publishing software at the fingertips of anyone who could afford the hardware and software. The quality of speakers’ promotional materials took a big nose dive onto the side of amateur quality. As a result, those same professional speakers started being perceived at a lesser level because they had changed lanes into what they didn’t do best.
I bring up both of these examples because with over 30 years in marketing and promotion designing award-winnng promotional materials … this is my lane. I have been uniquely gifted to create these types of materials and have done so for businesses, churches, and Christian communicators at almost every level. My lane has been creeped into by anyone with an app or a computer, regardless of ability, skill or talent. And, the results are not working in their favor. For the sake of trying to save a few dollars and doing it themselves, these speakers and communicators who are professional when they speak are starting to be perceived at a much lower level because their promo materials and the things they post on the Internet have taken a hot mess walk on the amateur side.
So, my thoughts in a nutshell on staying in one’s lane … unless you are uniquely gifted in a certain area … don’t change lanes. Stay where God has gifted you. Spend a few dollars and hire someone to create the things you use to promote your message … your infographics, head shots, promotional materials, web sites, ebooks, etc.
If you’re gifted to speak, write, sing, or whatever … do that to the best of your ability. Let those around you who are gifted in other areas help you! You stay in your lane and let others around you stay in their lane. Let the highest quality work be done … not just for your sake, but for the sake of representing the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with excellence. “Run your best in the race of faith …” 1 Timothy 6:12a (GNT).
Where does lane changing lead? Usually not where we want to go. Award-winning author, Randy Ingermanson says this:
“If you are a professional, and want to continue to be perceived as a professional, but do things in an amateur way … you will always be perceived as an amateur.”
In what area of your ministry or business have you maybe changed lanes? Where has someone creeped over into your lane? What are some steps you can take to get back into the proper lane … the one God created for you to run in?
I’m Karen Power and my mission is to equip, empower, and support Christian Communicators as they share their messages and change the world!
I have over 40 years of experience in the Christian communication industry. I started at the age of 11 as a drummer and later as a bass guitar player for Christian music bands. I have been on virtually every side of events and the stage as a musician, songwriter, speaker, author, event planner, concert promoter, coach, book promotion manager, speaker bureau owner, and booking agent.
Since 2004, I have focused on working with Christian communicators and event planners across the country as the founder and owner of Empowering Christian Communicators, specializing in training and supporting faith-based communicators, and Christian Speakers Services, a speaker bureau with a ministry heart. My diverse background in business, marketing, and communication gives me a real edge in assisting Christian communicators.