Ex-Stretch Yourself: 3 Exercises to Extend Your Professional Development


For the record–This post is not a “get out of your comfort zone” pep rally of pieced together “you can do it” speeches. This is about recognizing opportunities to express
or stretch (Ex-Stretch) your professional experience. You may want to consider downloading the Labrinth song “Express Yourself”–it holds some responsibility for this insight–plus it will put you in a good mood.

1.Know Thyself

EQ-Emotional Intelligence is key to understanding who you are, what you do and don’t do well and what is missing from your bag. EQ will also help you alleviate certain levels of anxiety that will help you commit more to fight than flight. This is key when your defenses trigger –you can recognize them and move forward to navigate through the dark. Commit to vulnerability.

2.Know Thy Neighbor-Resource
Who do you know that has the experience or skill sets you wish to have? How can they help? If they are not expressive or articulate in helping you understand what you would like–ask them “what motivated that choice?” or “what two things I expect to encounter”.

3. What are You Stretching Towards and What Do You Need to Express?
Ask yourself if what you are pursuing is value adding? Try to envision what you look like afterward, and how the experience will change your current state. Does it help you get to a desired state? Less fear of expression. More confidence in front of others. Making tough decisions on the fly.
Commit to the experience and the vulnerability required. A senior leader at my firm shared the idea of “becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable”.

Exercise this logic with a heavy dose of positivity and a dash of realism to become your best self.