Think with me for a few moments on the subject of ‘Reaching’. I like the word reaching because it means there's action. If we're reaching for something, it means there is something we want or need which we don't yet have, but we're on our way…and there is a reward or benefit in obtaining it.
Maybe it's a goal that you've set: you need to win two more rounds in the competition to reach the final. Or the goal could be in business, increasing your effectiveness by reaching 20 new clients within the next 2 months. Or with regards to fitness, you know that if you’re consistent with …X…Y…Z, in a month's time, you’ll have reached your goal of... [fill in the blank].
Reaching could also apply to a destination. You could say, ‘30 minutes in the taxi and I'll have reached the hotel', or 'In an hour from now, I'll have reached the top of that hill’.
Reaching can also refer to an object that you want to grasp but you don't yet have it. A lot of the time reaching requires some level of stretching. Here's an example…
I used to live in a house in London where I think the bathroom was designed by people taller than average. Now, I'm average height I guess, ~5ft 6-7 inches (old metrics). The basin was in front of a very large window pane, which was great. You couldn't open that window pane, but there was another smaller window flap above it, which you could open. But it just seemed to be a little bit higher than I think it should have been, than was practical. I worked out a way that after I'd had a shower, to ventilate the room, I could open the window flap by standing just to the side of the basin and stretching to move the handle and push the window open a bit. At times I was overzealous and pushed it open a little bit too far! To then close it, I'd have to stand on my tiptoes and really stretch as much as I could, and sometimes actually launch myself towards the handle to pull it in to close it. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think that should be required when it comes to closing a window! There are more important things we can and should focus on, I think, when it comes to investing our effort, stretching and reaching.
How about reaching a decision? Are you faced with several options? Are you assessing the risks to see which is the least risky, but also evaluating which is the most beneficial, because you need to reach a decision on how to proceed?
There are lots of requirements with regards to reaching. Here are 4 to ponder:
Clarity & Focus
We need to be clear on what we are reaching for. Will it take us to where we really want to go, or who we want to become? Clarity helps us to make adjustments when needed and informs us when we've reached the target. Mix clarity with Focus, otherwise, we will easily get distracted, channel our time & energy on the wrong area, find ourselves somewhere we don’t want to be and we’ll miss the intended goal.
Time & Effort
There's usually a passage of time involved. Sometimes things are immediate, but most of the time there's a process to achieve the bigger things we’re reaching for. And it's going to take effort, goal setting takes effort, and consistency to follow-through, but the reward of achievement is worth it!
Nothing of value is received without some sort of exchange of effort
Back to the fitness example, if a toned, healthy physique was possible without effort, we’d all be totally ripped!
The Reward can motivate
The euphoria of an achieved goal, the satisfaction of making a plan and following through, new clients etc. These can all be rewards for reaching, stretching and obtaining. When you feel less inclined to go through the stretching process, and there’s a reluctance to reach beyond what’s comfortable, focus on receiving the reward, and what that will feel like.
Keeping the end in mind will often supercharge your motivation and help you stay focused
So pause with me for a moment…
What is it that you're reaching for right now?
It's worth thinking about because it can help you avoid experiencing a lot of frustration and disappointment. Are you putting the right effort, the right focus towards those things that you want to reach for?
Now ascertain and check, that what you're reaching for is actually worth the effort that's involved.
Let’s look at stretching a little more…We are designed to stretch. It's part of how we're made. Mentally - stretching your thinking towards setting and achieving a goal, or Physically - stretching your muscles, or adding extra Kgs or Kms. Think of long-distance runners or those heading into a gym class or into a weight-training session. Usually they'll warm up, they'll stretch their muscles. Why?
Well, when the muscles have been stretched a bit, they are more efficient. They carry the weights better. They just perform better. Now, obviously, if you stretch them too much, you'll get injured. But likewise, if you don't stretch them at all, or enough, and then you put a lot of exertion on them, you're going to get injured that way too. The habit of stretching physically and / or with regards to life in general and the things we want to achieve is a good habit to develop. So don't be put off by the fact that most of the things that you want to reach for, will involve effort and stretching.
Have you stopped reaching for things because of disappointment or failure. Maybe you tried goal setting, and it didn't quite work out as you thought it would, or it actually required more effort than you were willing to invest at the time. Well just reassess, ‘actually, would it be worth doing that now, trying again?’
Generally, as humans, we have so much more potential than what we usually tap into.
If you haven't yet read it, John Maxwell's Book, 'The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth', is a great book. I highly recommend it. One of these laws is the Law of the Rubber Band, which says that growth stops when we lose the tension between where we are and where we want to be, (and where we could be). Do we want to stop growing and developing ourselves, our leadership? I don't think so because then mediocrity sets in, and we stagnate, we end up going backwards.
Self-leadership: I believe the personal benefits of leading ourselves better by reaching, and being willing to stretch far outweigh the effort involved. Providing we’re focused on what we're reaching for, aware that it's going to take effort, and we’re intentionally prioritising to reach for the things that are worthwhile to us. (Or maybe it's something that you have to do. Sometimes we have to do things we don't necessarily want to, but there's a benefit to it, that's part of being responsible).
Leading others: make sure that your team members, those you lead, are somehow reaching for things within the context of their personal skillset, personal development for the role they're in, and / or for the next role they're progressing to. Encourage them to see the value of goal setting, and the reward of reaching to achieve. (How can you encourage and support healthy reaching and stretching for them in their personal lives too?) And within projects, make sure there are targets, milestones to aim for. There needs to be clear goals, objectives that people can focus on and reach towards. That's how we grow. That's what keeps life interesting.
So to conclude, take a few moments now and ask yourself:
‘What am I actually reaching for? Is it worthwhile?’
If not, make some changes. If it is worthwhile, do you need to double your effort?
I'll leave that for you to ponder, but as always, leveraging the power of Coaching or Mentoring can accelerate you towards greater fulfilment quicker, enabling you to experience greater levels of satisfaction.
I believe in YOU, and I believe in YOUR potential!
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