To the Shy Girls Learning to Own Their Lane
I have lived in the US for three years now and have had my US driver’s license for two. Driving here is so much different from driving in the UK; the roads and cars are much bigger here. In fact, everything is bigger here.
Though I’ve had my license for the past two years, in some ways, I’m still a timid driver. I confidently own the road when I’m the only one in sight, but as soon as an oversized car or truck heads in my direction, I get tense and my entire demeanor changes.
My husband Rodger noticed it last week while I was driving. He said, “Shandice, every time a car passes, you start moving closer to the sideline, why?” I shrugged and replied, “I don’t know; I just get scared.” He went on to say, “You can’t get intimidated every time a car is behind you or sway to the sideline every time a car drives past. While driving and throughout life, you have to own your lane.”
I paused and slowly repeated those words to myself.
While driving and throughout life, you have to own your lane.
Shandice, you have to own your lane. Purposeful Woman reading this, you have to own your lane. Seriously, because if you don’t, some crazy driver will force you off the road and keep on moving. You will be on the sideline with your engine turned off, literally and figuratively.
Admittedly, I have spent many years of my life allowing other people to drive me off the road. I would rather stay on the sideline than get hit with the discomfort that often accompanies courage. I would dim my vision, my ideas, and my voice to slowly fade into the background and let those who are “naturally loud” take the lead. As if being loud is a prerequisite for being effective.
It wasn’t until I started a new job just over a year ago that I realized I had a serious problem I could no longer ignore. I was a marketing assistant surrounded by dominant personalities. With over nine years of customer service and marketing experience, I was still afraid of claiming my expertise and making my voice heard. Each and every time I gained the confidence to speak up, I could feel the tension building because “Shandice, the shy girl, shouldn’t have an opinion.” Well, at least, that’s what I silently told myself.
Give yourself permission to share your gifts.
My goal was never to outshine anyone, take center stage or be the “top dog.” My only desire was to confidently share my skills and gifts without the fear of stepping on someone else’s toes. That should never have been a concern of mine. There is more than enough room for everyone’s toes to flourish (lol). And I was raised knowing that. However, when overly insecure people subconsciously project their beliefs on you that “it’s you or them,” a shy girl’s tendency is to choose “them.” We naively abandon our ability to then help others enhance themselves while they refuse to acknowledge us.
Do not allow overly insecure people to subconsciously project their negative beliefs on you.
I unknowingly allowed others to place me in a box, one that undermined my gifts and potential. I dumbed myself down to comfortably meet the basic needs of my position to avoid the muscle ache of spreading my wings to fly. But I cannot blame the “others” because it starts with me.
I must take a moment to look at the woman in the mirror and remind her of who she is. I must convince her not to fall victim to the negative voices that stem from seeds she didn’t sow but decided to water. She must weed them out and plant her own.
I cared more about how others would receive me and failed to accept myself. I was too busy putting out flames that should have been fanned and spread like a wildfire. I was too busy questioning my authority while succumbing to someone else’s.
You can no longer be that shy girl who turns down the volume on her creativity, gifts, and skills to make others feel more comfortable with themselves.
You can’t hold back, especially if you want to experience the woman God created you to be in her fullness. You can’t be intimidated if you want to lead others to thrive from a place of courage that screams authenticity.
I decided I must reclaim my voice, my confidence, and my belief in the simple fact that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. No. Permission. Needed. I must confidently own my lane in private and in public. It is my rightful position when the roads are clear and when they are buzzing with traffic. I must not get lost in the crowd. I must not tense up in the presence of others even when that crazy driver beeps his horn behind or beside me prompting me to get out of the way and sway to the sidelines.
I don’t care how big you are; you won’t intimidate me anymore. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize. I shall maintain my position, own my lane, and reach my destination.
So to all my fellow timid/shy girls, it’s time to tear up that title and choose a new name for yourself. It’s time to own your lane.
Shandice Stallworth | DPW Founder
Dear Purposeful Woman is on a mission to transform how women see themselves, live their faith and walk with purpose daily. I hope my products, programs, and resources encourage you along your purposeful journey. You are here for a purpose, one that lives in the big and small moments of everyday life. Most importantly, it lives within you.
You can keep up with Shandice over on www.shandicestallworth.com