Mind Readings: Stay In Your Lane

From time to time as I create content, I’ll get feedback from people – usually on political topics – advising me in fairly coarse language to “stay in your lane”. Here’s why this is universally bad advice.

Mind Readings: Stay In Your Lane
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Christopher Penn 0:00

Hey it’s complaints Week.

In this episode, let’s talk about a complaint I receive a lot.

From time to time as I create content, I will get feedback from people, usually on political topics, advising me in fairly coarse language to stay in your lane.

This is almost universally bad advice for everybody, not just for me, not just for content creators, but for everybody.

For two reasons.

One, the obvious reason and a good piece of advice is don’t take criticism from people for with whom you would not seek advice, right? If you wouldn’t go to this person to ask advice, ignore criticism from them as well.

But the bigger picture is this idea of staying in your lane of do the thing that I expect you to do, right? So if someone is watching videos, or content from me, their expectation is probably stuff around marketing, or data, etc.

And probably not stuff around politics.

However, if you step back and look at the bigger picture, like for example, My undergraduate degree is in political science, I have a degree in political science with a focus on stateless transnational terrorism, that was a mouthful back in the 90s.

Turns out, that was actually would have been a good field to go into.

Because for years after I got my degree was 911.

But needless to say, politics is in my lane, I literally have a degree in it.

But it’s not what I’m known for.

And that’s okay, as content creators.

And as, frankly, human beings.

You should feel free, particularly on channels you own, maybe not so free on like, you know, the company channel where you’re representing more than just yourself, but certainly on your own personal accounts, you should feel free to express the whole of your being not just one aspect.

Maybe you do have a political perspective, maybe you do have a religious perspective, a cultural perspective, a gender based perspective, whatever that is.

Staying in your lane implies, putting away all those other things that are part of you that are part of who you are.

And that’s really bad advice.

For two reasons.

One, it’s creatively stifling.

One of the things that I view as one of my more useful skills is the ability to take ideas from one domain to another, if I can take an idea from this domain, which is may not be related to say marketing, and move it into marketing.

I can bring more value into marketing, because it’s something new, it’s something fresh.

For example, I bring a lot of ideas from biostatistics into marketing, because things like survivability in biostatistics easily translate into things like campaign effectiveness in marketing, right, it’s you’re still measuring the survival of something except that in the marketing side, the stakes are a whole lot lower.

I bring a lot of quantitative ideas from finance into marketing, things like a moving average convergence, divergence indicator.

That’s a stock market technique.

But it works really well, with certain types of marketing data, actually works better with marketing data than it does with stock data a lot of the time.

If I stayed in my lane, if I took these, these people’s advice, I wouldn’t know to do that.

I wouldn’t think to do that.

I wouldn’t think that was an appropriate way to add value.

When I talk about things like bodily autonomy, like everyone, regardless of gender, should have bodily autonomy.

Other people should not be coercing you to do things with your body that you don’t want to do.

Understanding the motivations of people which is a lot of psychology, guess what that translates into marketing.

Now you may or may not want to hear about bodily autonomy and that’s fair if you don’t want to hear me or any creator talking about a topic unsubscribe or just skip that episode or on so on and so forth.

That’s totally fine.

It’s just as it’s a creators, right to create whatever they want, obviously, within whatever boundaries they have with their employer, if that’s applicable.

It’s your Right, as a member of the audience to say, you know, not my thing today, I’m not I’m not interested in this one just sort of pass on it.

And I think that’s part of where

Christopher Penn 5:13

people have gotten lost.

People have gotten lost in realizing their own power to say, and I want, Scott shut us off, I’m gonna do something else in my time.

And that’s a skill that’s going to be really, really important in the next in the coming years and decades.

as technologies continue to improve as our ability as marketers as our ability as creators, to deliver more and more immersive content to people improves, we, as the audience have to have the willpower, the self awareness and the self respect, just push the off button, say, you know, Next, click, rather than violently react to content that we’re not being we’re not compelled to consume, not paid to consume.

And it may not benefit us.

There are plenty of episodes of podcasts that I tune into that I’ve skipped like, yeah, that’s not interested in this one.

Is there’s content of every kind.

Every now and again, this this, there’s one like, yep, that’s not.

That’s not for me.

As creators, one of the things we can do to help our audiences is Mark stuff, label it.

When I did the piece on abortion rights.

I said, Hey, this is a political piece of big letters.

This is a political piece.

So that if that wasn’t your thing, you knew upfront, this is not my thing.

Click Next.

And so I have, I have relatively little sympathy for folks who see the warning and then get upset that it was a piece of content that upset them, even though it came with a warning.

So that’s today’s mind reading.

Stay in your lane is bad advice.

It’s bad advice.

It’s condescending advice to but it’s bad advice.

Because outside of your lane is where all the good stuff is that you can bring into your lane, make your lane wider, and make you a better creator, a better marketer, a better human being.

And people dispensing that advice.

For the most part, that advice is pretty safe to ignore.

Right? Unless it’s somebody you really respect Hey, and I’ve thoroughly trusted to say, tell me when I’m going off course.

What that advice in in the spam bin, you know, just just let it go.

Anyway, that’s today’s mind reading.

Thanks for tuning in.

I’ll talk to you soon.

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