The Courage to Stay in Your Own Lane

health and wellness business

Many of you know that I’m a huge Formula 1 car racing fan, which I realize may be slightly odd for a yoga therapist slash health and wellness business coach. Formula 1 is a loud, aggressive, elitist sport in which billions of dollars are traded to essentially watch boys play with fancy toys. Quite the opposite of yoga.

AND it’s also an amazing study in focus, constant evolution, and conserving resources. Planning and strategy are crucial, as is the ability to pivot on a dime and change your plan. It’s a great metaphor for how to run a health and wellness business.

At a race in Azerbaijan recently, Sebastian Vettel, one of the top drivers, ran into his primary rival not once but twice, in rapid succession, because he thought his competitor brake-checked him during a safety car.

Don’t worry if you don’t know a brake check from a bounced check, or what a safety car is, because I will give you my interpretation of the scenario: Vettel focused more on what his rival was doing than what he was doing. He was trying to anticipate his rival’s every move, which pulled his focus from his own driving. I see this often in my health and wellness business coaching. Many practitioners focus more on what other people are offering, than what they have to offer.

Now to be fair, in F1 and in business, it’s not a bad thing to know what your competitors are doing. Sometimes it is 100% crucial to have your head on a swivel and constantly be surveying the landscape for new and noteworthy developments. But often times, we are so concerned with what the rest of the field is doing, that we lose our focus and forget what our own strengths are.

What Were You Doing in the First Place?

So my wish for all of us is to have the courage to stay in our own lane – both in life and in our health and wellness businesses. As a longtime Career & Business Coach, I’ve witnessed many brilliant minds start a new project by wanting to know how others were doing it, and specifically how industry leaders were doing it. We crowd source our next project until it’s an amalgam of someone else’s product plus what our boyfriend/best friend/Facebook friend think is best.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s CRUCIAL to have mentors and colleagues to bounce around ideas, and it’s also important to be aware of best practices; no one wants to reinvent the wheel. But one of the most important skills we can develop is the ability to sift through the noise and trust ourselves.

We need to reconnect with the spark that brought us to where we are today.

Why did you go into your line of work in the first place? Can you trust yourself to deliver something extra special?

Are you a yoga therapist who helps people reduce back pain? A holistic nutritionist who supports people with food allergies? Who do you want to serve and what kind of conversation do you want to have with them? Are you trying to inspire and educate, or train your peers to serve a specific niche?

Whatever it is . . . trust it, and trust yourself. Courage of conviction goes a long way. When you couple that with the perseverance to do it your way, you are already on the road to victory.

Dreamers are Winners

I recently hosted a webinar on creating an online course, a big topic of interest for yoga and other wellness professionals. If you are one of the many who wants to pursue this avenue, I invite you to let yourself daydream a bit – what would the ideal online course look like for you and your customers? If you could design it any way you wanted to, and create the most magical experience that was uniquely YOU, what would that entail?

This act of dreaming, this connection to creativity and authenticity, is what is lost when you focus on the driver ahead of you, rather than your own line around the course.

Does this mean that you will always get what you want and that your way will be the best way and always yield positive results? Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t mean that (sorry!).

What it does mean, though, is that if you use your way as a starting point and keep iterating from there, you will eventually end up at a destination that comes from the heart. YOUR heart. It will be a version of YOU. But if your starting point is focused on how someone else is driving, or someone else’s online course or opinion, the best you will end up with is a polished version of their dream. Success on your own terms isn’t just a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, it’s actually the only way to create and deliver something of meaning and lasting value.

If You Want It . . . Come and Get It

Now I want to be realistic: it takes hard work to make your dreams come true. It’s much easier to follow someone else’s template. And by all means, please don’t confuse “staying in your own lane” with “doing it all yourself” and ignoring all conventional wisdom.

You will have to practice discernment and combine learning from others with what you know to be true for you and your business. You will have to cultivate your own team of trusted advisors and peers who call you out on your bad habits, and you will have to get really good at listening to your intuition, which can often be drowned out by fear or someone else’s enthusiasm.

But in my mind, there really is no alternative. It’s authenticity or bust, my friends, because your customers can tell when you’re copy-catting someone else’s business model or “borrowing” inspirational quotes on Instagram. They know when it’s coming from your heart and experience, and when it’s someone else’s formula. But mostly – YOU will know the difference.

So hold your chin up, adopt your best power pose, and remember that courage doesn’t mean you are always brave – it means that you move forward even if you’re scared.

Leave a comment:

Our courage multiplies in community! Share with us below – do you find it easy or hard to stay in your own lane and pave your own way? Does it feel safer at times to emulate someone else’s health and wellness business? What are your tips for creating a business that is courageously and authentically YOU?

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  1. Ann French

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you!! It’s always good to have support on going my own path.

    • Laura

      Thank YOU Ann for reading and your commitment to putting your own beautiful work out into the world. We are all here for each other!

  2. Tammy

    This is a rather timely article! As I sit here in my kitchen, thinking of how the heck I’m going to get my business off the ground. I realize that I’ve not looked deep inside to find out what exactly it is that I want to create. I am at the very beginnings of this “business” process as a recently certified yoga instructor. The “not good enough” tape continues to play in my head day in and day out. Perhaps that is due to not focusing on what I’M good at and want to offer.

    • Michelle

      I definitely relate to you Tammy. YOU have something special that only you can offer the world. Sending you positive vibes and support for continued momentum. With Gratitude, Michelle

    • Laura

      I totally get it! That “not good enough” tape comes from the brain, always on the look out for what might go wrong. It tricks you into believing that your offering is a “performance” and others might be judging you.

      What we want to tap into instead, is what comes from the heart, or the gut, that place where happiness and intuition live in your body. It’s the place that reminds you that your offering is GIFT to be shared with others. When it’s the best expression of what you can uniquely put out in the world, it will be received with joy!

  3. Michelle Banzet

    Thank you Laura for writing this blog post. The topic really hit home for me. I completed Yoga Teacher Training last Fall in Kundalini Yoga. I am blessed to be working at an integrative private practice studio where I have autonomy and creative freedom. However, I find that I am hiding behind my “newbie” or “rookie” shadow more and more these days. I am constantly searching for ideas and looking to others to help me carve out my lessons. I am humble in knowing that I have a lot to learn through experience. And I am also aware that I have been dimming my spark. Your post got me thinking about how practicing discernment is something that I could benefit greatly from. I also feel inspired to start journaling and mapping out my authentic vision. Thank you for bring our community together. I am so glad that I took the time to read your blog today and I hope that others also find peace in knowing that we each have a unique gift to give to the world. With Gratitude, Michelle.

    • Laura

      Thank you so much for sharing, Michelle! It sounds like you are totally ready to step out of the shadows and shine a little brighter. It is SO liberating to get clear on your own vision and walk that path with confidence and courage. Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, you will most likely end up in a better place than you could have imagined.

      It is your time!

  4. Janet Golownia

    Thank you for this blog Laura. It spoke loud and clear to me at this specific point in my journey. I agree with all of your points. It is a combination of learning from others and getting clear on what your passion is, what you’re hear to deliver and how you are meant to serve. What I’m finding is that I am getting clearer as I learn, teach and work with my clients. It does take courage to stand up and take a stand and deliver your message in your own voice. I feel like I’m finally ready to do that.

    • Laura

      Yes Janet!! Intention + experience = clarity, and it sounds like you are well on your way 🙂

  5. Kendra Boone

    Just love the idea of sifting through the noise and trusting yourself. I do find it challenging to really refine in words what that spark was that brought me into this line of work. Trying to sell ‘peace and purpose?’ Much gratitude Laura. I plan to take up Business Mastery with you next year upon completion of my yoga therapy studies.

    • Laura

      It can be hard to convey in specific words exactly what our special sauce is, but just know that it comes through in *everything* you say and do: the look of your website, how you engage with clients, the language you use in your marketing copy, the jewelry you wear . . . it’s really the whole package.

      So don’t sweat it if you can’t distill it down to a few words, sometimes it’s easier to think about how you transmit “peace and purpose” on a broader scale.

      Hope that makes sense 🙂

      You’re awesome Kendra!

  6. Andrea Trank

    Very timely piece. I have always gone my own way, but for me, it’s been learning how to charge enough and stop giving away my services. That where I am at now. I know what I offer is of value and I am ready to earn a real living at what I do really well. Namaste and thanks for being a great mentor and role model. Andrea

    • Laura

      You’ve got this Andrea! <3

      • Louisa

        I love this Laura, so often it seems like we just need to give ourselves permission to trust in ourselves and our ideas and be ourselves.

        I wonder whether this has become easier or harder with all the social media sites out there?

        Some sites are super polished and can be a little intimidating, others are more DIY and much easier to relate to. There are some which remind me of the person who auditions for X Factor and can’t sing and is deluded – the category we all hope we’ll avoid. Checking in with a mentor or coach can really help as sometimes friends and colleagues are not brave enough to be honest.

        • laura kupperman

          Thanks Louisa! I think that all of the noise in our external environments def. makes it harder to “stay in our own lane” because we are hyper-aware of how everyone else is doing it. Agreed that we need our trusted mentor or group of business buddies who give us the truth no matter what 🙂

  7. usha Leason

    I find looking at how others are doing things can be helpful BUT when I over expose my self and get lost in their world I shut down my computer and get on my yoga mat, after a short while I return to my SELF and inner creativity/wisdom, all kinds of insights pop up which I jot down and return to later. There’s nothing like being the driver of your own vehicle, checking your mirrors from time to time to see whats around you and then continuing on your journey with confidence.

    • laura kupperman

      Yes, Wendy!!! I love the last sentence you wrote, especially 🙂

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