by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Professional DevelopmentTagged as: Flexibility, Personal Development
Most athletes understand the importance of stretching: avoiding injuries, becoming more flexible, and improving performance. But unless your business is fitness (or you are a performance athlete) how might this be relevant to you?
First, let me suggest that you ARE a performance athlete, but in the arena of business. You require flexibility (not to mention strength and endurance) if you are to succeed. The question of course, is how to develop it.
Many athletes recognize that to excel, they must push themselves beyond what they are currently doing. Again, this is no different for your career’s health. To succeed, you must move beyond your comfort zone, and stretch yourself “up” to the next level. Professional growth requires you to grow – and the operative word is “you”. Here are some ideas:
1) How often have you taken on new challenges? Ask your manager if you can help with something different.
2) Do you avoid a “scary” part of your job (public speaking, financial management, sales, etc)? Figure out why it is scary, and craft a plan to become comfortable doing it. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to have comfort.
3) How involved are you in volunteer leadership roles outside of the office? If you are a marketing person, for example, consider taking a financial role: do something different!
4) When was the last time you took a course outside your area of specialty? Invest in yourself, and broaden your perspective. Education does not stop after graduating, nor does it stop at the C-level.
5) When was the last time you tried a completely different sport or hobby? Feeling comfortable doing new things beyond the job will help you adjust to – and take advantage of – changes at your workplace.
New experience gives you different perspectives, intellectual flexibility, and a recharged outlook. Athletes stretch for a good reason, and so should you.
Whether you regularly stretch up or not, look through the five ideas described above. Is there one that you haven’t yet done? Or haven’t done recently? This week, add it to your calendar: you become even stronger when you are cross-training!
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