Actually, The Best Way To Help You Grow Is By Stretching Yourself

Terri Kozlowski

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Are you truly stretching yourself to reach new heights or are you playing it safe? When you stretch yourself you cultivate personal growth.~ Terri Kozlowski

Are the goals you have truly stretching you to reach new heights or are you playing it safe and allowing your egoic mind to be rational about your objectives? But did you realize that playing it safe means you aren’t growing and most likely stagnating? Remember, taking a misstep means you are learning and, therefore, discovering growth and success.

When you are feeling comfortable in life, it means you are staying in your comfort zone doing what you’re accustomed to doing. And you already know growth only occurs when you are uncomfortable. When you challenge yourself, discomfort ensues because you are moving into the unfamiliar.

I know I’ve chosen the familiar path for a time, but then I realize my development has stagnated, and look for ways to stretch myself. When you are expanding yourself, it feels good to see your progress and the steps you’ve overcome to reach where you are. But if you don’t take the risk and stretch, then you are choosing to live a life of survival instead of thriving.

Just like exercising, the more you stretch, the better you feel about yourself and the fewer grievances you have about your life. The more you are willing to expand, the more likely you are to succeed. Remember, your actions move you forward, not your egoic thinking. So be proud of the minor victories along your way to the ultimate objectives.

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

Why The Ego Wants To Be Comfortable

When you look for ways to stretch yourself, the egoic mind sees the possibility of risk and not obtaining your goals. But if you take the chance and move out of your comfort zone, even if you don’t reach the goal, you’ve moved forward. See, growth and progress are just as important as obtaining the aim. Why? Because the more you learn, the more you improve and the more authentic you become.

Besides, your dreams are not something you’ve reached before, so of course, there are unknowns that the ego doesn’t like. It doesn’t want you to stretch to reach your vision. It wants you to stay safe in your small, stagnated life.

Instead, consciously choose to try something new. The swells of growth in anyone’s life occur when they stretch themselves. You can start small by trying a new food or reading a different genre of book than you normally would. Or take a leap of faith and start that business you’ve been dreaming about for years. But be mindful of the potential risks, especially financial ones, when you do something big, like quit your job.

The more regularly you stretch yourself, the easier it becomes. Why? Because you’ll have proof that your risk-taking is beneficial for your life and personal development. By the way, stretching may seem painful, but the discomfort is not harming you, it’s beneficial. And with each surge of growth, you gain a different perspective, which is always valuable.

If there isn't a struggle, there's no stretch, and therefore no growth. Easy doesn’t change you and comfort won’t challenge you. Coasting isn't a strategy. ~ Farshad Asl

Choosing The Why For Stretching

When you pull a hamstring and you are told to stretch it and hold it in place, it’s painful. Why are you doing it? So the hamstring regains its elasticity and remembers its range of motion. But as soon as you let go of the stretch, it snaps back into place. Why? Because it’s comfortable. And people are the same way. To overcome this tendency of going back to your comfort zone, you need to understand why you are stretching.

· Is your why because you want to obtain your life objectives?

· Do you have a growth mindset and understand that living is about improving yourself every day?

· Are you looking at overcoming bad habits?

· Do you want to be healthy and fit?

· Does your why come from a spiritual place?

· Are you looking for more emotional stability?

· Do you want more fun and leisure in your life?

Your why can be for whatever you like, but you need to buy into the why, so you maintain the stretching during the uncomfortable periods. This buy-in helps to empower you to push through when the egoic mind wants to quit because of the discomfort or external factors.

Write down your why and look at it each day to remind yourself of your goals. Ask your tribe to help encourage you. Have them repeat to you your why when you feel uncomfortable. Consciously choose to stretch yourself instead of allowing the ego to keep you stagnate.

The human spirit is like an elastic band. The more you stretch, the greater your capacity. ~ Bidemi Mark-Mordi

Expanding Your Comfort Zone

Did you realize stretching yourself to cultivate personal growth increases your comfort zone? What does this mean? Well, the more situations you learn to handle, the more confidence and familiarity you have with similar circumstances. This translates into you feeling more confident in your ability to handle differing conditions. And as you continue to grow, your desire for learning and stretching increases too.

So a little stretching today leads to more self-confidence tomorrow. Which has you heading into fresh adventures with assurance you’ll be able to handle whatever happens. And the next time you expand the edges of your comfort zone, you know you’ll have another breakthrough to the next level of your fabulous life.

But how do you stretch when you’re feeling uncomfortable? The answer is to take action. Any activity you do to move toward the goal is how you move past the anxiety the egoic mind puts at the forefront of your self-talk. But as soon as you take action, the ego realizes moving forward isn’t quite as fearful as it conjured. Besides, even if you take a misstep, you tried, and it’s just as important for your personal development.

And the more you do this, the easier it’s to do and the better you get at facing egoic fears. Why? Because you have a history of times your stretching has worked out well for you. And you now trust yourself to move confidently forward. Realizing action helps you obtain your objectives or teaches you something new.

By stretching yourself beyond your perceived level of confidence, you accelerate your development of competence. ~ Michael J. Gelb

Ways To Stretch Yourself

When you decide it's time to expand your mind and are looking for ways to move out of your comfort zone, it may be overwhelming. But there are slight changes you can make, new habits you can add, or if something piques your interest, try it.

Here are some ways you can consider stretching and cultivating your personal development.

  • Explore an alternate spiritual experience.
  • Have an authentic conversation with someone you normally wouldn’t.

· Let go of judgments, rigid opinions, and limiting beliefs.

· Take an online class on a subject you’re interested in pursuing.

  • Join a book club to expose you to different categories of reading.
  • Go to a social event you normally say no to attending.
  • Visit a local museum and learn about your community.
  • Learn about a sport you don’t currently follow.
  • Go to a concert to hear a local band play.
  • Learn to play a new game.
  • Find a discussion board where you can contribute your knowledge.
  • Try a new grounding exercise.
  • Move your body in a new way.
  • Try a new recipe intriguing to your pallet.
  • Explore your creativity.

See, none of these are hard to do, but if it’s new for you, the egoic mind will make excuses why you shouldn’t do any of them. Is that what happened when you read them?

But if you try one of these ideas, it will help you stretch into the unfamiliar and grow on many levels. Again, you need to choose consciously to develop and improve yourself.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Moving Forward While Stretching

The level of challenges you face in life is in direct portion to your ability to stretch and grow. You are given these encounters now because you can handle and move past those circumstances. You are intelligently expanding, which means you are aware of your egoic self-talk and yet have been able to look at ways to overcome.

It’s finding the balance between the effort of reaching and the ability to relax and take in the lesson. Pushing yourself to the next level and letting go of the constraints that keep you from growing. Increase your flexibility in dealing with life situations by moving through the discomfort. Be receptive to new ideas and experiences. See, stretching means increasing your awareness in all areas of your life. Which gives you new perspectives. This is growth in action.

I want you to take this principle of cultivating your personal growth by stretching past your comfort zone and applying it to all areas of your life. By having the discipline to do so, you’ll see how you will move beyond anything your egoic mind can imagine. Be flexible and open like the plants reaching toward the light so they can grow each spring. In what way will you stretch yourself today so you can move onto the next level of your life?

You were created to excel. There’s no limit to how high you can go in life. Keep stretching to the next level. ~ Joel Osteen

As you become more mindful of certain aspects of your life and see the need to try something different, you can alter the course of your life by stretching out of your comfort zone.

Do you need help to break out of your stagnate life? Are you looking for support in learning how to tap into your amazing potential? Do you want a strategy to help you create an extraordinary life? If so, please get in touch with me, and we can put together an action plan for you to cultivate growth by stretching and living an authentic life.

To learn about how I learned to expand my growth and became a more authentic version of myself, you can do so by reading my book, Raven Transcending Fear, available on Amazon or you can go to RavenTranscendingFear.com for more information.

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Native American Terri Kozlowski has a BS in social science, certified life coach, blogger, author of "Raven Transcending Fear," & host of the Soul Solutions podcast. She specializes in empowering people to overcome their fears and limiting beliefs.

Woodstock, GA
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