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  • Writer's pictureRobin Clyat

Stay Stretchy!

How are yoga, rubber bands, and leaders alike? Let me explain.

Recently, I began the practice of yoga. My old muscles haven't been stretched in quite some years so touching my toes with legs outstretched isn't possible! But, I'd read of the benefits of stretching for my physical health and wellbeing and thought I would give it a try. I mean, it beats running or the craziness of CrossFit, right?

Yoga, I've learned, is multifaceted. I've come to enjoy the soothing music, the controlled calm, and the "right now" awareness of this practice. The stretching part is another story. Its uncomfortable and the muscles are so tight I wonder if they will ever lengthen. In short, it hurts. I find the harder I try to force the stretch, the more it hurts. Coaches of the practice suggest that you focus on your breathing and, rather than "try harder," to "try softer." This softer approach requires an intentional relaxation of the muscles and release of control. Surprisingly, as I allow each muscle to relax and stretch in its own time, I make progress little by little. It has taken nearly two months to touch my toes one leg at a time, however, I continue to improve my flexibility day by day by being consistent!

Speaking of stretching, what about the rubber band?

Did you know that rubber harvested from the rubber tree was used by the peoples of Mexico and Central America to make shoes? Rubber bands were patented in the mid 1800s and are staples of any office today. They can be used to gather things together, propel spit balls, pop people, put hair in a ponytail, and tie dye a shirt!

Of all these things, what is common to the use of these rubber bands? They all require the rubber band to be stretched in order to be useful. A rubber band without tension isn't very helpful, but good tension yields great results!

May I suggest something? A life without healthy tension and stretching will never achieve its full potential. Leaders know this. Through intentional focus on the present, consistency, and allowing circumstances to stretch us to our fullest potential, leaders understand that growth never stops. Pushing the limits, thinking outsid

e the box, challenging the status quo, and never settling for mediocre are just a few ways leaders stretch to level up!

Today, I challenge you to learn something new, try a new perspective, or take a risk that will stretch and propel your ability to lead. When leaders level up, everybody wins!

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