How often do you stretch?
B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO
Fitness experts often talk about the benefits of stretching. Stretching has been known to reduce stress, improve flexibility, increase blood flow to muscles, and reduce injuries. However, stretching can be painful, time-consuming, and to some, just flat boring. People who stretch regularly understand that committing time and enduring discomfort can improve capability and performance. Our physical bodies are not the only things that benefit from stretching. Our personal and professional skills, talents, and abilities can also benefit from being stretched from time to time.
Pablo Picasso once said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Picasso believed that in order to accomplish amazing things, you need to stretch yourself and do things in which you may struggle to accomplish. Sometimes you may even experience failure. Nonetheless, the process itself is a learning experience and it better prepares you for the future. We are all generally wired to enjoy a stable, familiar, and comfortable environment. Changes, new processes, and challenges can create anxiety. However, the benefits of stretching ourselves far exceed any temporary discomfort.
The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians as a letter of encouragement to the people of Philippi. The primary message is about the joy achieved through faith in Christ Jesus. However, Paul also writes about the importance of humility, attitude, harmony, and serving others. All of which can be lofty responsibilities. In verse 12 Paul states, “not that I have already obtained all of this, or have I already arrived at my goal…” Paul understood that life is a journey that requires deliberate effort to navigate in order to accomplish great things and impact people. He goes on to say in verse 13-14, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…” Paul’s humility and transparency in his journey sets a powerful example that is applicable to each of us. Forget what has happened in the past and continue to stretch toward your goals and God’s purpose for your life.
Regardless of where you stand on your like or dislike of stretching, it is hard to deny the benefits. When was the last time you were willing to take on a project, challenge, or task that you know would stretch your skillset? Are past failures preventing you from stretching toward a goal again? Don’t be intimidated by the journey in front of you or discouraged about past failures. Commit to regularly stretching your personal, professional and spiritual life.
Challenge: Look for opportunities to improve, learn new things, and focus on positively impacting others. Take Paul’s advice, forget the past failures and continue to stretch forward. Remember, everything gets easier with repetition, so push through the temporary discomfort in order to experience success.
Published: August 1, 2019