Have you plateaued? Is your golf score stuck? Have you hit the ceiling in your business? Is your marriage on the dull side? You’ve tried the same things that used to work and enabled you to reach your current level, but now it’s not working anymore. Or have you thought about stretching yourself to try a new hobby but didn’t see how you possibly could learn the complex skills needed to succeed?

When we hit a barrier, when we come upon the wall that we just can’t navigate, we have a few options. The easy thing is to just shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh well”, turn around, and go home. But when successful people face a wall, they find a way over, under or through it to reach their goal, even if it means several failures (learning opportunities) along the way. It’s one of their most distinguishing features.

In his book The Power of the Other, Henry Cloud suggests that when we face a wall in life we break through by adding new sources of energy and intelligence. And perhaps most important, we have to be willing to open ourselves up and seek out these new infusions.

This often comes in the form of coaches and mentors who teach us new skills, and clearly push us out of our comfort zones – but not quite to the point of breaking. Dr. Cloud says, “They stretch but don’t injure.” This is your sweet spot for growth. The question is, “Am I being pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to go to the next level in critical areas of my life?” Larry Page, co-founder of Google says, “Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting.”

I have set goals that many in my life think are crazy for a not-naturally-gifted 46-year-old. But I’ve found there is fun, energy and life in the process. I committed to do a Spartan Race and knew to succeed, I would need to improve my muscular conditioning. I engaged Alex Bode, coach at CrossFit Acceleration, to guide my development. I have had many walls (figurative AND literal) to overcome and engaged another coach, sports physical therapist from Dynamic Physiotherapy Jake Hegge, to work through some injuries to reach my goal. In addition, I decided to learn the drum set in order to play at our church in the future and engaged drum teacher, Jim Knutson, to help my aging brain make the rhythmic connections needed to someday reach that goal. Both are taking perseverance, humility and lots of practice.

What is your uncomfortably exciting challenge in life right now? What is the wall in your life for which you can engage a coach or mentor who will push you to a level you didn’t know you had, so you can get over, under or through, expecting failures along the way? I encourage you to stretch yourself and find your sweet spot for growth.

 

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