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Stretching Yourself

Stay Moving

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Stay Moving

“The greatest thing in this world is not where we are but in what direction we’re going.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

To push yourself out onto the frontier, to get swept up in some new exploration, to travel in a direction personally uncharted, this is the "greatest thing in this world."      

Don't make your endgame a destination; in fact, scrap the whole notion of an endgame. You're not looking to arrive. You're looking to move and stay on the move.

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What Growth Feels Like

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”
— Carol S Dweck

We’ve all experienced the excruciating feeling of beating our heads up against a wall. Was it when you were studying for that Statistics exam? It got so bad that your textbook was moments away from the fire. Or perhaps it was when you were trying to learn CSS? You got so close to putting your laptop through the wall. 

The turning point to a fruitful finish, however, is the precise moment we push past these episodes of fruitlessness and keep at it. Persist. Persevere. Snatch the book from the fire. Yank the laptop out of the wall. Get back to it. Be encouraged: this is what growth feels like. 

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It's the Arc We Want

The evolution of getting good at something is what brings about career happiness, not just picking something you're passionate about.
– Cal Newport


When we go and see a movie, we’re banking on the fact that the story will have a strong arc. All the great ones do. The protagonist starts "here" and ends up "there" All that's in between grips and holds us.  

Yes, we want strong arcs in our movies; and, yes—we want them in our real lives too. The journey to proficiency, excellence, and mastery in any field makes for a strong, and satisfying arc. Get one going in your life. 

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No Time for Do-Overs

If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
— John Wooden

This sounds like something my grandmother would’ve said. I’ve always thought about this aphorism in terms of a chore, but it could just as easily be applied to each and every day we live. Think about it, if you don’t live each day as you intend, when will you have time to do it over?

We all know the answer. There are no do-overs. Once the day is done, it’s history. Just thinking about that, impels me to make each day a masterpiece. 

Ask yourself:  If today was to really turn out well, what would it look like?

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Do One Hard Thing Every Day

"Do one thing every day that scares you."
—Eleanor Roosevelt

I like to tell myself, do one hard thing every day. If you just did one hard thing every work day, for example, that would add up to over 250 stretching moments throughout your working year. Just imagine what 250 stretching moments could add up to after a year? A completed book? A restored relationship? A cashflow positive business? A new skill? A higher paying job? The sky’s the limit.

Hard things challenge you, they get you out of your comfort zone, they create healthy stress. Doing one hard thing every day will provide the resistance you need in order to get stronger and grow. Get started.

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Persevere Especially When it Hurts

Tribulation is the training ground for perseverance. 

Going through physical and emotional pain is the only way you can hope to attain such a prized character trait. Every time you keep going, or get back up, or go a little further, or do a little more, you’re building up one of your most important assets. And this asset delivers phenomenal returns. 

According to Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D., perseverance or grit is the key to entrepreneurial success. It is, literally, the one character trait that makes the difference between failure and accomplishment in most things in life. 

Are you rejecting pain or embracing it? Are you giving up at the first tinge of discomfort, or are you pushing past it? Growth is reserved for those gritty ones who persevere, especially when it hurts.

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To Reach Your Potential Expand Your Capacity

“Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Recent research suggests that you can grow your brain just like you grow a muscle. That means the more you practice, the stronger it gets.

There’s no doubt; new ideas enlarge our minds. They also create new opportunities and open our eyes to what’s possible. 

“What’s possible” is the definition I like for potential. There are so many things you can do with your life. But the only way you step into more and more of your potential is by continuing to grow. And growing is all about expanding your capacity. How are you stretching yourself?

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The Law of Stretching

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Law of Stretching states: To expand beyond your limits, you must submit yourself to ongoing periods of escalating resistance.

Stretching, as we all know, isn’t something that happens by chance; it’s something you do on purpose. Now, if you just stretched once a month, it wouldn’t do you much good. To truly get this Law working for you, you have to begin stretching daily.

When we do something daily, we’re establishing a routine. That routine builds a habit. That habit builds our character. And our character is what shapes our destiny. That’s why John Maxwell says, “You won’t change your life until you change something you do daily.”

How do you know if you’re stretching? When you feel the burn. Whatever you decide to engage in, it should come with strain. The strain you feel is where the new growth is; it’s your next stage of growth. And while it’s a somewhat painful process in the moment, if you keep at it, you will level up. 

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Develop Yourself for Our Sakes

The reason we need you to develop yourself to the best of your ability is because the value you create will be the value we consume. Skip a day of creating value, and the world won't skip a beat. Skip a decade and you'll make us all poorer. 

The point is, we need you to become all you can be. The value you create is your gift to us. And the value you create will inspire and incite us to do the same. Certainly, develop yourself for your sake, but do it also for ours.  

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Every Day is a Good Day for Growth

80% percent of life is showing up.
— Woody Allen

A Growth Time is the staple in the successful person’s schedule. All successful people know that success is only a byproduct of value. Becoming valuable and creating value are the keys to success. There’s no getting around it, you increase your value through consistent effort over time. Those who consistently show up for growth are those who will experience success.

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You Don’t Need a Perfect Record

Perfect seasons are rare, awesome, and most definitely not a pre-requisite to winning the big game. You never have and never will need a perfect record to be a champion. 

Just ask the 2011 New York Giants. Remember their regular season record? 9-7. Ouch. They almost lost as many games as they won. Yet, this team somehow snuck into the playoffs and ended up winning the Super Bowl.

When it comes to habit formation, we need to rethink what winning looks like. Research is now telling us that perfection isn’t what’s important; it’s consistency that matters. In other words, when you begin kickstarting a new habit, forget the idea of amassing a perfect record, and, instead strive for a consistent one. Consistency is key because it implies not giving up. 

“Yeah, I messed up a few times, I made a couple of mistakes, but I’m going to learn, get back up, and keep at it.” 

Here are the two things to remember:  1. You don’t have to possess a perfect record to be a champion. And, 2. No champion ever became one by giving up.

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