As I prepare for this weekend’s event with Max Strom I’ve been doing some reading on creativity and I found this excellent article by Patti Dobrowolski entitled “Stretch Yourself” where she says:

 

Does this week’s topic call to mind that person who stretches their calves or sides at their desk, or as you pass them in the street? While I am a big proponent of all stretching, the kind of stretching I’m talking about is more cerebral.

I’m talking about learning a new skill.

I was in a meeting yesterday with a super star Event Organizer, who told the team that she had taken her first salsa dancing class the night before. She had totally sucked at it, but was totally going back for more.

Earlier today another woman confessed to me that she had always wanted to learn how to graphic-capture. I told her, “It’s not rocket science, you just have to practice. You can find proof of that right on my website.

What these two women have in common is that they both want to learn a new skill. What differentiates them is that the first woman is OK with sucking, knowing she needs to suck before she can succeed. The second woman is more tentative, she’s worried about not having what it takes.

Why wait to stretch yourself? You’ll never have what it takes unless you practice (And suck) first. Find something that you have an interest in, or something that scares you. It doesn’t have to scare you immensely, just a little fear will do. Like maybe standing up in a meeting and speaking out. Take a leap and speak up in your next meeting, or if your fear goes deeper than that, take a public speaking lesson first. You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve, and how many people will thank you for it.

There are two things I love about the article:

  1. She talks about stretching your MIND rather than your body and this fits in with one of the original premises of StretchBodyMind – that it would stretch your mind as well as your body.
  2. She reminds people that stretching yourself involves practicing a skill and this fits in with what I tell my yoga students all the time – that it is always Yoga practice and never Yoga perfect!

I firmly believe in the concept of practice to stretch both body and mind which is why I’m stretching myself this weekend by hosting my friend and mentor Max Strom. It’s his first time in Scotland and I’m feeling so much pressure to ensure he enjoys it and that the delegates enjoy it too and learn something from him. So, believe me, this weekend is a HUGE stretch for me and for StretchBodyMind. So, I am somewhat reassured by what Patti says at the end of her article.

 

Don’t take my word for it, hack yourself. Stretch yourself. Scare yourself a little. You’ll feel so awesomely confident after you’re done. You won’t be perfect at it the first time out, but that’s why they call it practice. That’s the learn in learning.

Now, if you like what I’ve shared here and want to learn more about Patti, check out her TED Talk. And hopefully I’ll see you on Friday!