When trying to get someplace with thousands of others going the same way, it’s so much easier to swing wide. Go to the edges and get there faster. Listen in this week as we talk about how this concept applies to getting where you want to be in your career as well. From finding a new job to pushing back on leadership. Learning how to “swing wide” and not follow everyone else will get you there faster. Listen in and learn.

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Hey, y’all, how’s it going? Before we jump into our topic today, I want to talk to you, that is, listening to this podcast, who is really struggling in their job. You are lacking motivation; you’re not sure where to go; the job market’s crazy; you feel stuck, but you’re just kind of dragging yourself through the day.

 

See, I have been talking to so many people just like you, and every single one of them is coming away with these like amazing aha moments. So listen, here’s what you need to do: go and sign up for a coffee chat with me. There’s zero obligation; this is not a sales call; you’re not going to get pressured into anything. This is just your chance to take 30 minutes, do a little something for yourself, and let’s jump on the phone and talk about what is going on for you and come up with a solution. Literally, so much can change in just 30 minutes. Go to lindsaylymancoaching.com/chat, grab one of the spots; they go pretty fast, so if there aren’t any available, check back again. I open up more as soon as I can, but there’s no reason you should be dragging yourself through the workday.

 

Okay, let’s get you feeling better again. Zero obligation; let’s just have a little coffee chat and see how we can get you a little bit of relief today, because you’re amazing and you shouldn’t have to drag yourself through it.

 

Okay, today I want to talk about the concept of swinging wide. Now, hear me out. I love live music; I love it. I love concerts; I’ve gone on music cruises; I’ve traveled all over the place to see different musicians. I love the energy; I love the feeling; I love the sounds; like, I just love all of it.

 

And there’s something I’ve learned that my family kind of jokes about in multiple different scenarios, but I’m always telling them, “Swing wide, swing wide.” When you’re in an area with tons and tons of people, what happens is we naturally just start to follow the person in front of us. And so, as you’re trying to get in and out of some of these large venues, we just follow the herd of people and go through the middle, and it’s the slow sludge to get to where you’re wanting to go. I’m telling you, if you take those few extra steps and instead of following the herd and going straight, and you go wide and you swing around to the edges, it is faster every single time.

 

You can see this with, like, traffic; the left lane in the US is supposed to be where you pass and go a little bit faster, but you know what? Sometimes, if you swing wide and go to the right lane, that’s actually the fastest lane because everyone thinks they’re fast and no one’s in the slow lane. Getting through security, look to the edges, swing wide. At Costco, this is my best tip. I know the lines in Costco that are the shortest; they are the ones that are on the edges; they’re a little bit further away; people may not even know that they’re there; that is the fastest way to get through to where you want to go.

 

I work a little bit in my sister’s business, and we were at a conference with her team, and I was teaching them all this concept as we were trying to get in and out of the conference room. I’m like, “You swing wide, guys; you swing wide.” And people don’t believe me because you kind of have to go away from the crowd, and it takes a little bit of extra time and energy, but it pays off every single time. Swing wide. Even my niece has caught on to this; I was laughing. We were at the local high school football game the other weekend, and she was in line at the concessions, and I happened to, like, walk past her with her little sister; we were getting in line, and she told me, she’s like, “Aunt Lindsay, I taught my friends; swing wide, and it worked, right?” I’ll tell you, this works every single time. What you need to do is walk to the sides, walk out, go wider to get to where you want to go and get through faster with a little less resistance of having to go through the minutia and just go slow and trudge through it with everyone else. Works every time. Works at Disneyland; works, I’m telling you, swing wide.

 

As I’ve been thinking a lot about this, I think this same concept applies in so many different ways in our jobs and in our careers. We need to learn to swing wide, and I think there’s three key steps to doing it. The first is you’ve got to become aware that you are stuck in the middle; you are stuck with the main group, going slow, following the social norms, going down the path that you can see right in front of you that’s clear and easy to see. But you’ve got to first become aware that you are stuck in the middle; that’s what I call it.

 

The second, you need to purposely go away from the middle, go away from the group, and go out further away. Now, you want to keep your eye on the group, and you want to keep your eye on where you’re trying to go, but instead of going through, we want to go out and away, okay? And then the third is you go forward and you create your own path. So, what a concept. This might mean walking on the grass a little bit or instead of going down the aisle, I’m cutting through the chairs, right? You’ve got to create your own path. I think of this as one of my favorite quotes from a Brandy Carlisle song. She says, “The path of least resistance is catching up with you again today.” So, following the herd, following the crowd, going down the middle, following the path everyone else is following and has set out and feels the most logical and the easiest to follow, that is the least resistant path, but it may not actually get you to where you want to go or as quickly as you want to get there.

 

So, I want to give you kind of three examples of how I apply this concept of swinging wide and kind of these three steps of be aware, purposely go out from it, and then create your own path. I want to talk about this and how I think you can relate the same concept to your job.

 

Let’s say you’re trying to find a new job for whatever reason, okay? The first step in swinging wide is you’ve got to realize, hold on, I am stuck in the crowd, I am stuck in the middle, I’m going with the flow. In this example, I think this happens when we realize we’re frustrated and we’re feeling like we’re not getting anywhere. Maybe we’ve been applying, and we’re annoyed because we have to update our resume every single time with all these keywords, or your resume is not going to get through the algorithm to even get to a person, so you’re spending all your time trying to make your resume perfect to outsmart the machines, you’re working on formatting, but …just nothing’s really working, and you’re really frustrated. To me, this is a sign that you’re stuck in the middle. Okay, we’re following the path and doing the things all the people are telling us. I’m not saying it’s bad; I’m not saying that path won’t get there; I’m not saying you can’t follow it. What I want you to see is that is the main path that people will present to you that thousands and thousands of people are on and following. It’s harder to stand out and find that right thing when you are one of the many in the crowd.

 

Okay, step two: you’ve got to purposely go away from the group and go wide. So, what does that look like in this example of finding a job? It might look like instead of obsessing over your resume having the right keywords and being able to get through all the machines to get to the people, maybe what you’re gonna do is you might still do that, but now instead of obsessing about a resume in the middle, maybe you’re just gonna go and start finding a way to have conversations about relevant topics in that industry that you’re trying to find a job in. Maybe you’re gonna host lunch and learns; maybe you’re gonna start a podcast; maybe you’re gonna interview people; maybe you’re gonna do a live stream; maybe you’re gonna go and cultivate all this data and start producing a one-pager or a newsletter giving industry insights and changes around it. I don’t know what the answer is; your smart brain does, but you’ve got to get away from that five-step process that people are out there telling you you need to do, and you’ve got to go wide and figure out and purposely look to the edges and see where else can you add value? How else could you stand out that is not in that path that everyone else is doing?

 

And then the third part: you gotta go and pave your own path. Okay, this is where you’re gonna go and make it up. Maybe instead of applying for jobs, you’re gonna go ask to be an intern for a week. Maybe you’re gonna go ask, is there a project they need help with, and could you do it voluntarily because you want the experience and you want to learn about this company and you want to learn how they do things? This is where you get to go and be creative and make it up. You’ve separated yourself from the main flow of all the other people trying to get jobs, and now we’re going to go and get creative and create our own path because here’s the thing: someone else made up the path that all those people are following trying to find a job, and they had some success, and it worked for them, and that’s great, and I’m not saying it can’t work for you, but the reason it was successful is because someone once upon a time swung wide and made it up and went and figured it out. They went and figured out, “Haha, when I add specific keywords to my resume, the algorithm picks it up more.” Great, that’s a helpful tip and trick to know, but how do you swing wide now? How do you keep iterating and making it up?

 

Let’s apply this concept to trying to figure out what’s the next step you want to take. This is coming up so much with my clients. They’re just not sure where to go, where they want to grow their career; they want to keep learning, but jobs and promotions are a little bit funky and weird, and they’re just not sure what they want because they also know the grass isn’t greener on the other side. So, maybe you want to figure out that next step. First, you’ve got to acknowledge, I’m stuck in the middle; I’m stuck in the flow; I am trying to figure out how everyone else figured out the next step so that I can go and rinse and repeat, right? Our brain naturally wants to know, well, how do I go and do this? That is you trying to figure out where’s the middle that I can jump on board with all the people and slowly walk my way into the venue. It will get you there; I believe eventually it will get you there. I just think there’s a faster and more fun way. Let’s go swing wide.

 

Swinging wide in this example might mean you’re keeping your eye on where you want to go, of that next step, but you’re not doing what others are doing. You’re zooming out; you’re looking at the bigger picture; you’re obsessing over what you want in your next step; you’re not obsessing over, well, how should I get there? You’re staying so focused on what you want and trying one next step and one next step, and you’re making it up as you go. You keep looking for gaps and opportunities, and you’re trying things, but you’re not worried, well, how did you figure out what you wanted your next step to be? Well, what did you try? You are going and making it up for yourself. This might mean you job shadow some things for people; maybe it means you ask for permission for a couple hours a week to work on a special project; maybe you start taking a class; maybe you ask other people what they like, what they’re interested in; maybe you try a small project on something else completely outside of your traditional scope of work. There’s no wrong way to do this because there is no right way to do it either. You get to go and make it up.

 

Swing wide. Stop spending your emotional energy trying to figure out how do I get myself in the middle to go to the next step of my career along with the herd of other people trying to get there.

 

In the last example, we’ll talk about is managing up again. Step number one is to become aware you’re trying to do this the way everyone else does. You’re trying to provide the status update in the exact same format or spend the same amount of time as someone else. Maybe that’s going to work for you. If that is, awesome, go for it, but if it’s feeling really hard and it’s not fun and you don’t feel like you can be you and you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed because you’re trying something that’s not intuitive and doesn’t feel like managing up the way you want to manage up, let’s swing wide. Let’s start managing in instead of trying to manage that other person. Let’s manage how you feel, how you’re choosing to think and believe about the things you’re doing and the things you’re discussing with other managers. Let’s start managing that. We want to keep an eye on where we’re trying to go, what’s the state of our leadership how are they feeling about this, are we heading in the right direction, but when we’re swinging wide, we’re not in the zone where we need our manager to be happy and love us and think everything we do is great and wonderful and love our teams in order for us to feel good. You get to go and make it up.

 

You know what I think really good leaders do that manage up really well? As they’re making it up, they’re very okay with other leaders not being okay. We’re not jerks, but we don’t need a leader to be excited and feel good and tell us great job when we have to push back and say that’s not possible; we don’t have the resources to deliver and hit that goal. Of course, leaders want it faster and cheaper and better and bigger; that’s their job; they’re going to push us. As we’re swinging wide, we’re swinging away from the need to manage how our leaders are feeling and we’re obsessing over managing how we are feeling because that’s what’s going to allow you to go and figure it out and make it up in a way that aligns and lets you be the kind of person you want to be and still feel like you’re giving your updates and communicating effectively, but you don’t need to manage how someone else feels because you know logically you can’t. They could be having a bad day for some personal reason that has absolutely nothing to do with you. Let them be them.

 

If you find yourself in the spot of trying to get better at managing up, swing wide. Go away from trying to manage them and swing wide and go all in on managing you.

 

So, I’d offered you to think about this concept of how do you swing wide? How to keep your eye on where you’re wanting to go but how do you swing away from those social norms from those processes that are kind of unspoken that everyone believes this is the process you have to follow or how it’s supposed to be done and how do you swing wide and go find those things on the edges that are fun and allow you to make it up and let you get to where you want to go so much faster, so much more fun this way. I’m telling you.

 

Okay, so the next time you’re in a big venue, do me a favor, go swing wide and think of me and test out this theory with me, okay? Call me out if it doesn’t work, but I’m telling you, swinging wide is going to get you there so much faster.

 

Alright, y’all, you’re amazing. If no one has told you that they appreciate you this week, I want you to know I appreciate you. I see the hard work you’re doing; thank you for getting up and trying and doing your best today. You got this; we’ll talk soon.

 

If what you’re learning from this podcast is helping, this is just the beginning. Each week I offer a limited number of coffee chats so that you and I can connect one-on-one and talk specifically about what’s going on for you. You’ll leave this call feeling more hopeful and motivated, but I’m also going to teach you a few things to try right away to get unstuck. Space is very limited, and these are free, so grab your spot before they’re gone. Click the link in the show notes or go to lindsaylymancoaching.com/chat and sign up today. You got this!

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Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last ~12 years growing my career at Amazon. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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