Stay in Your Lane!

by : Justin Anderson

I grew up in Southern California about 40 miles south of Los Angeles where the 5 and 405 freeways merge in Irvine. It was an interesting experience learning to drive on a freeway where at one point there are 14 lanes going in each direction as these two massive rivers of traffic merge together just south of what is now known as 'The Irvine Spectrum'. During heavy commute times, this artery of transportation has so many vehicles traversing it, that it comes to a complete stop. All other times, you need to drive at 80 miles per hour just to keep up with the flow of traffic.

My first year driving, it was overwhelming. I was challenged with the usual and expected tasks of learning how to apply the brakes without throwing my passengers through the front windshield, and releasing the clutch with the appropriate amount of tension so the car didn't stall through a rapid series of violent jerks. I also had to learn how to drive in that jungle of freeway chaos designed to move 16 Million people to and from everyday.

The interesting thing is this was exactly how I felt my first year in business. I had found the vehicle of my dreams in Real Estate Investing. It was my Ferrari! The trouble was, I had never driven one before, and I was learning by immediately jumping behind the wheel and trying to merge from the 5 to the 405 at eighty mph. Sound familiar?

That first year in business my success was driven from the same lesson that allowed me to navigate successfully amid the chaos that abounds in the Southern California freeway system. Focus. Stay in your lane.

When I first started driving on the freeways in LA, I did not change lanes unless I had to. I got on the freeway, usually on the far right, and stayed in that far right lane unless I had to move over to avoid an exit only lane. I also usually had a plan and a purpose in place for where I was going. I knew the route I would take and about how long it would take me to get there. I was focused. I had to be.

My business has paralleled this experience closely. The successes I have enjoyed in my business have been driven by staying focused, having a plan and knowing clearly where I am going. When I do not have a plan in place, I often get lost. It is easy to do that with the 40+ freeways we all navigate. Each time, the lesson I had to remember to get me back on track was to focus. To stay in my lane.

As I got more comfortable driving on surface streets, and controlling my vehicle in a variety of situations, I became more confident. It became easier. Over time, I was able to confidently merge onto the freeway and transition all the way over to the fast lane...a task that was daunting and impossible when I first started driving.

Take action every day. Get out there on the road to financial freedom. Just remember to stay in your lane.