Have you ever felt constrained by the expectations you set for yourself? Creating limiting beliefs by saying things like:
“I’ll never be able to…”
“How am I supposed to…”
Using words that develop self-doubt and worry. Reluctant in your capacity to succeed, but then finding it within yourself to get it done. Extending your abilities past your expectations by stretching yourself.
Working late hours all week to finish a demanding clients or manager’s report on time. Getting an industry leader to agree to a meeting, whom you never thought would see you. Managing one last rep at the gym when you feel utterly depleted. Stretching yourself past your limits to discover that you are capable of more.
Setting limiting beliefs creates boundaries from which you’ll work within, even if you can achieve more. Only in circumstances where external forces are present do you muster the courage to stretch yourself past your expectations.
However, what if this didn’t have to be the case and you could stretch yourself further on a regular basis? How much more would you be able to accomplish in a week, a month or a years time?
If you increase your capabilities by 1% every month, you’d be 12% more capable in a year. What if you only increase your skills by 0.5% every month? You’d be 6% better in a year and 24% better in just four years.
Developing a slight edge has a compounding impact in the long term. Working every day on small things that may be insignificant tomorrow but will contribute to your success over time. Discover how to develop a habit of stretching yourself can provide considerable results in your life, career and influence those around you.
Developing the ability to do what is necessary over what is easy.
Stretching Yourself With Hard Lines
Hard lines are deadlines or commitments that force you into action.
My business and I have grown at a much faster rate due to hard lines. I’ve booked spaces to speak without having a presentation or attendees. Scheduled studio time without knowing what I was going to record. I’ve said yes to take on more responsibility without having a clue how I was going to achieve it.
But the thing with hard lines is, they propel action. It forced me to create a presentation I had said for weeks I wanted to begin. Helped me buckle down and write outlines and scripts for videos I wanted to record. Provided me with opportunities to push my abilities, stretching myself further than I thought possible.
You can find the power within to break through your limitations and recognize your real potential. Stretch yourself time and again and you’ll accomplish more than you ever had the willingness to take on.
The Benefits of Creating Hard Lines
1) Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Like at school when your teacher gave you two weeks to finish a paper, and you finished it in two weeks. Yet if you were only given one week, you’d manage to complete the same paper in half the time with minimal differences in the quality.
Setting hard lines helps close the gap between creating perfection and what is good enough. Not that you shouldn’t strive for perfection. But excellence is closer achieved by creating ten things that are good enough, than obsessing over creating one perfect thing. Practice and feedback are the processes to perfection.
2) Deadlines and commitments create external accountability
You are no longer holding yourself accountable when you set hard lines. Rather the meeting you’ve scheduled or the expectations you’ve set will now be your motivating force. Most people are not very good at holding themselves accountable but have the willingness to stretch themselves for others.
By creating hard lines, you’ll learn to push your limits further than expected. Make this into a habit, and you’ll begin to grow your comfort zone exponentially. Outside forces can be a greater motivator than personal willpower. Where expectations create the pressure required in stretching yourself.
Making The Right Choice
We’ve discussed the benefits of stretching yourself and the significant impact on your capabilities over time. However, the same can be said about staying complacent or moving backward. If you spend your time developing bad habits, routines or engaging in destructive behaviors – the challenges you face will only become increasingly difficult.
It takes the same amount of energy to do what’s right for you over what may cause harm. The actions required to order a healthy salad over a greasy burger are the same. It’s up to you to make the right choice.
But if you’re willing to test your limits, make stretching yourself a consistent practice and take advantage of growth opportunities.
What hard lines can you create to force action on the things you’ve always said you wanted to accomplish or do? If you ever wanted to go skydiving, find a local place and put a deposit down for this weekend. Have you ever wanted to do stand up comedy? Find a local club which hosts’ amateur night and put your name in.
No matter what you want to accomplish, the timing will never be perfect. Obstacles will always stand in your way, and your list of excuses will only increase.
Begin stretching yourself by writing down 3 things you’ve always wanted to do and set hard lines on accomplishing them. Share this article with your friends and comment below on how you plan to stretch yourself this week.