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Make It Happen Tipsheet
Career Management and Life Balance

Stretch yourself and reach up

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 in your career. 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 the health of your career. To succeed, you must move beyond your comfort zone, and stretch yourself "up" to the next level. Career growth requires you to grow - and the operative word is "you". Here are some ideas:

1) How often have you taken on new challenges within your workgroup? Ask your manager if you can help with something different.

2) Do you avoid a "scary" part of your job (public speaking, sales, etc)? Figure out why it is scary, and craft a plan to become comfortable doing it.

3) How involved are you as a volunteer 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.

5) When was the last time you tried a completely different sport or hobby? Feeling comfortable doing new things after work 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.

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Make It Happen
Copyright 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved. Publication date: June 6, 2006