Flexibility, teachability, and open-mindedness — while staying true to your values as you learn to grow and adapt to new situations — is like stretching a tight muscle. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
A tree offers a great example of stretching. It is rooted and grounded in the earth yet its branches and leaves blow and change with the wind, even in a heavy storm or hurricane.
Learning to stay grounded yet flexible like a tree can serve you well in life. Everything lightens up when you let go of being stubbornly attached to how you want things to turn out or when things change in a way you hadn’t expected. Being rooted and aligned with yourself provides the support you need to bend with change.
Reaching for something new and exciting, something out of your usual pattern or comfort zone, and perhaps a little scary, requires you to stretch your thinking.
The brain remembers grooves or patterns. It’s comfortable to do what you have done before. So, to extend your skills or enjoy new experiences, you need to continually stretch yourself until it becomes a new habit that your brain recognizes.
This is the magic of what is known as neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to grow new neural networks.
You Really Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!
Stretching yourself just a little bit every day by doing something new will bring you more flexibility, courage, and confidence to do things you haven’t done before but really want to do.
There is an interesting sports phenomena of breaking world records that applies here. When someone breaks a previous record, all of a sudden many more people start meeting the new standard. Why is this? People have proof that it can be done, so they believe they can do it too!
Connecting with other people who are doing what you want to do can help you stretch your current thoughts and move beyond limitations. But you will have to practice stretching just a little bit everyday, in both your beliefs and your actions.
Staying continually immersed in the new idea or goal will help you do this. This is why coaching works so well. Having ongoing support, accountability, and redirection when you get off course or begin to doubt yourself will keep you moving steadily forward in the direction you want to go.
It’s all about s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g your limits.