Success Lesson: Pick a Lane

Jim StovallDue to my travel schedule, I frequently find myself in airports across the country waiting to go through the security line. I have noticed a phenomenon among fellow travelers that involves them getting in a line and then observing one of the other lines is moving faster. They will invariably rush over to that line and stand there a while until they, once again, believe that another line is better. Regularly, the people who were in the original line and stayed put get through security much faster and are well on their way to their gate before these opportunistic line jumpers clear security.

You have probably noticed this same phenomenon in traffic when the car next to you at a stop light revs their engine and races away the microsecond the light turns green. They will weave in and out of traffic and screech to a halt at the next red light where they are predictably a few feet away from you again.

While this practice may be merely annoying in traffic or at the airport, the principle behind it can be critical in our personal and professional lives.

Let your passion lead you …

Experts and pundits often argue about the best field, career path, or business in which to be involved given current economic conditions. I’m a firm believer that people with passion in any field of endeavor can succeed better than they would in a field where they do not have passion; therefore, it is important that you pick the right lane for your life’s work.

Several years ago, I spoke at a national convention for surgeons. These men and women had dedicated many years of their lives and countless hours of training to become qualified to be a physician and specialize as a surgeon. I was shocked when talking to several of the surgeons as I was signing their books that many doctors are not happy in their careers and wish they had pursued another path. This is sad as many doctors do not even begin their practice until they are well into their 30s and often feel trapped because of their student loan debt and the years they have invested in education and training.

Recently, I read that a jet airliner traveling from coast to coast across America will burn 80 % of its fuel it will use for the entire trip just to reach cruising altitude. This is true in our lives in that most career paths or business ventures require a tremendous amount of education, training, and investment in the beginning and then, those who have endured, generally enjoy reaping great returns for the time and energy they have invested.

Never confuse a job with a career. A job is something you take in order to pay the bills. This is important, honorable, and necessary; however, a career represents your passion, your purpose, and the contribution you will make to our world. You must choose it wisely and well.

As you go through your day today, choose your course wisely, then pursue it with passion.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at or by visiting

* What are your thoughts on choosing a career based on your passion versus other factors? Do you agree or disagree? If so, why?