by Mark Miller | Monday, June 3, 2013
Leaders are learners. To learn we must stretch. To be stretched, we must be uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable? Is something in your world causing you to learn new skills, establish new habits or strengthen your character? I hope so!
I’m sore this morning – really sore. I worked out with a trainer twice this weekend. I’m being stretched physically. I’m growing muscle and losing fat. These outcomes wouldn’t be possible if my body wasn’t being stretched.
At the office, we’re changing, stretching and growing. We’re transitioning from a regional brand to a national brand. There are many changes taking place – each will make us stronger; each is stretching us in some way. I mentioned the outside consultants we worked with a few weeks ago. They stretched us! That’s good.
In my life outside the chicken, our family is being stretched as we contemplate the possibility of starting a school for my son with special needs. Beyond the obvious family implications, there are emotional and financial implications as well. We’ll have many stretching conversations in the weeks ahead.
My writing continues to stretch me! This post is being written on Monday morning – 2 hours after it would have normally have been posted. I’ve realized Monday, Wednesday and Friday come around with amazing regularity! My new book is proceeding well. It was my focus this weekend. My copyeditor stretched me with her suggestions on what I thought was a final manuscript.
As counterintuitive as all this seems, it’s all really good! Growth requires stretching.
I was with more than a dozen outstanding Chick-fil-A Operators last Thursday and Friday. One of the questions I asked them was, “What stretches you?”
Their answers were extremely diverse. However. I heard examples in three broad categories…
Problems – Many of the things in our life that stretch us are not planned. Sometimes, they create chaos, confusion and pain. If you miss the growth opportunities in the crucible, you’ve wasted the pain. Don’t be surprised when problems arise – try to leverage them to grow.
Unexpected Opportunities – One of the many traits I admire about Truett Cathy is his eye for unexpected opportunities. On the surface, you could think these are always easy, no brainer, sure things – not in my experience. Sometimes, these legitimate opportunities are extremely stretching. They may even be disguised as hard work. Don’t miss the gift of unexpected opportunity because you fail to recognize it. Be willing to stretch!
Purposeful Activities – These are activities and events that require some courage, vision and discipline. What are you doing on purpose to stretch? Do you have a partner to help you? My oldest son and I decided about a decade ago to do something on purpose each year to stretch ourselves. He convinced me to run a marathon, trek to Everest Base Camp and more! Choosing to be stretched has been one of the best decisions of my life.