Over the past year, I have worked with many organizations and individuals who desire to make positive changes in their life and business.
The key word is desire. I think we all desire to have more, do more, and become more.
Significant growth is never comfortable. Many of us live each day and have the desire to stay comfortable. There is nothing wrong with having a level of comfort in your life and business. However, when comfort turns into complacency, you will never grow and achieve the things you really want in your life.
Growth requires a series of stretches. Every small stretch leads to your next stretch.
In 2004, I ran my first marathon. When I began my training, I couldn’t even run 3 miles in a row, but after a number of consistent stretches in my training (1 mile, 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles), I was able to complete the full 26.2 miles. Every stretch pushes you a bit further……but you have to take the first stretch.
A few weeks ago, I had the tremendous opportunity to stand on a stage and share my story in front of 2,500 people. Some people asked me how I was able to accomplish that in such a short time and how I could speak in front of that many people.
The short answer is that I have been stretching for a while…..and I continue to stretch.
In 2005, I joined Toastmasters International. Toastmasters is a speaking club with locations all over the world. Over the next several years, I gave numerous speeches, table talks, and more to learn and develop my speaking skills. I attended most meetings at 7am every other Friday. I didn’t always look forward to getting up early on a Friday, but I stretched.
In 2011, I gave my first live presentation in front of 7 people. I knew that a great way for me to grow my insurance business and gain influence was to be able to stand up in front of people and speak. I continued to give small presentations over the next couple of years. I had a desire to speak to gain influence and share my thoughts and ideas to help others, but I was terrified. I stretched
In 2014, I gave my first “real” paid presentation. It was for 60 minutes in front of 100 insurance agents. Again, I was terrified, but I had to stretch.
This leads me to today.
Earlier this year, I took the plunge and applied to have the opportunity to speak on stage in front of 2,500 peers and mentors at an international leadership event. I almost didn’t apply because I was intimidated by the sheer magnitude. However, I knew that although I had been stretching, I needed to stretch further. After submitting several videos and practicing hundreds of times, I was selected to give my story and share the stage with some of the world’s greatest thought leaders.
I am not sharing this to boost my ego, but because I know there is somewhere in your life right now where you need to stretch. There is someplace where you have been held back due to fear, doubt, and confusion.
Think big, start small
Here is what I have learned. If I didn’t stretch back in 2005 at my local Toastmasters club, or in 2011 in front of 7 people, or in 2013 in front of 100 people, I never would have had the confidence or skills to stretch in front of 2,500 people.
Abraham Maslow stated, “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”
You have to stretch. You are wired to stretch. You were created to stretch and become the person you were designed to be. You are fully equipped and resourced, but you have to start.
You just have to take the first stretch.