So how did it go last week? Were you able to put to rest some of those long lived fears and take a more positive approach toward your life? Hopefully so. I know it will take some time and practice to create a seamless flow around this but the good news is, as we have discussed before, you will get there.
Therefore, this week instead of integrating a new idea or actionable step into your routine I would rather take the time to reflect and build upon and idea discussed several weeks ago. If we are looking to create sustainable change here the only way to accomplish it is through practice. I mean think about it, Michael Jordan didn’t just wake up one day and say I want to be the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. Sure, it can be argued that he was born with raw natural abilities but ultimately he became the best through sacrifice, dedication and practice. Take the Olympics as another example. As the Summer games approach us next month, many of the athletes looking to qualify have been practicing for their chance to make the team for the past 4 years or more.
I can assure you that the common denominator between the best of the best in any field whether they’re an athlete, a musician, physician, model, actor, accountant, etc. is practice and we're no exception to the rule.
If we're looking to create sustainable change within our lives we must practice.
So, this week I bring back the idea of stretch and challenge you to pick up where you left off in your practice of it.
The most common definition for the word stretch is to lengthen, widen, or distend. And, to take it one step further it means to enlarge beyond the usual or proper limits.
I’d like you to again take this time to think about some of your greatest accomplishments in life. First, recognize what they are and acknowledge yourself for achieving them. Second, think about how they make you feel? What is it that makes them special? Great? If I had to guess, I might think someone would say they are special because they took a good deal of work to achieve and you are proud you were able to do it. Sure the work might not have been enjoyable or easy in the moment, but when it was all said and done you hung in there and just might dare to do it all over again. It’s the method of the madness behind the marathoner, going to grad school, achieving significant weight loss, receiving that incredible promotion or title change at work, etc. No one accomplishes these things and says man, I wish I didn’t work so hard. No, instead you celebrate your success and then set yourself up on the next course of action to go even further.
Forget about the things in life that are easy. Easy is boring and basic. It does nothing to set you apart or help you to move forward. When things are easy you’re more likely to become lazy, complacent and stagnant. Stretch on the other hand is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and those around you. When you’re challenged you automatically become motivated, driven, and purposeful. You invite positive energy into your space and open yourself up to new ways of thinking, learning, and growth.
This is the essence of stretch.
The push. The challenge.
This week I challenge you to push yourself beyond what your new “normal” limits have become. Maybe it’s another extra 2 miles on the road, increasing 10 lbs in weights at the gym this time, biking to and from work, those 50 extra jump shots at the end of practice when everyone else has wrapped up and gone home, etc. Whatever it is, you get the point. Extend yourself further than you have before.
Then, break out your journal and compare and contrast this new experience to your old. What are the immediate benefits? Do you feel as if you are more alive? Are you creating awareness around what you are doing as opposed to just going through the motions? Take note of the positive and negative effects so that you can make adjustments accordingly.
It might take time for you to figure out what the right amount of stretch is for you and that is ok. The point is to simply practice and build a sustainable foundation so that down the road you to become the greatest version of yourself.
So get to work. It won't be easy but I can assure you it will be worth it.