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  • Writer's pictureKaren Stabile

Are you feeling the pain?

Hear the word stretch and I think pain. The good pain though.

For the last 6 months I’ve been working with a trainer and I’ve learned to value the good kind of pain.

I’ve felt the affects where I didn’t know I had muscles. I never knew or understood the value of building muscles, so I didn’t. I thought occasional cardio was enough to keep me alive and kicking.

Understanding the reason behind stretching and developing for the purpose of maintaining the ability to move and stay healthy for a longer time made sense. And was reason enough for me to give it a try.

It seemed simple enough. But I wouldn’t or couldn’t imagine lifting anything on my own, no matter what I read. Now, that I’m feeling better and seeing results, I can see myself moving into being more disciplined.

Maybe to the point where I won't need someone standing beside me while I’m lifting.

Initially I couldn’t help ask, “Am I really so weak that I need someone to stand there and count for me?” To tell me I’m almost done and that I’m doing a great job? Can he really tell I didn’t eat breakfast?

It is so much easier to stretch in areas that we love. Ask me to read 6 books this month, no sweat. Ask me to join a group discussion around life or leadership, I’m there. Ask me to go where people are, I’m excited.

How do I know there aren’t things that I haven’t tried yet, that I won’t love just as much? That initial uncomfortable feeling of:

  • doing something new

  • pushing through the pain

  • feeling foolish…isn’t enough to hold back those who live life purposefully.

Making stretch goals a part of life is like breathing for leaders with purpose in their blood. Pain and pushing through is normal for them. But it wasn’t always this way. It's not that you don't feel the stretch or the pain. The more you do it the more you know you are moving into areas you've yet experience and that's what being a leader is all about. Getting out of the proverbial box.

You have a thought of what you’d like to achieve, but it is so impossible that you are afraid to tell your closest confidant. The gap from where you are and where you’d need to be is big. The idea seems like a fairy tale with a bad ending, one where the villain wins.

The more you think about your goal, the more you realize that there are a few pieces missing and you just don’t have what it takes to make it happen. So you shelf the idea, turn off the light and head home. It was good while it lasted, but really reality is where you need to live. Maybe stretch goals are overrated? Or maybe they’re what you long for to help you feel the good kind of pain. The pain that makes you want to push through to have a positive effect.

Just consider these 3 points for a minute:

  • In what ways might you be holding yourself back? Feeling foolish when you stretch is as normal as normal gets. Comedians get paid big money to be foolish.

  • What would your goal look like if you just began stretching a quarter of the way? Remember Bill Murray talking about “baby steps” in What About Bob?

  • Don’t you sense that you might be able to accomplish more than you are letting on? Being unsatisfied and frustrated can be a sign you’re ready to stretch, you’re ready to grow, and risk making life a little different.

You are the example. You are the inspiration others see. They need you to be stretching. They look for it. They’ve learned to rely on you to stand there and count for them while they do things that are foreign and uncomfortable for them. If you don’t stretch, they don’t grow.

And you know that one day, they won’t need you to count for them or tell them they are almost done. They’ll be counting for others. You’ll be in the distance watching it all, because that’s what leaders do. You develop others to take your place.

You continually stretch yourself, set new goals, and try new things on a daily basis. Not just for your benefit, but for the benefit of influencing others.

What stretch goal are you thinking about? That's the beginning of making it happen. I'd love to know what you're shooting for. Drop me a line and let me know. Karen

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