Image by Ryan McGuire at Pixabay

Pick your stretch goals.  Reach further, stretch higher.  Stretch yourself in order to reach your full potential.

I hear or read these words often.  I’m pretty sure they’re meant to be inspirational, but honestly, when it comes down to stretching, so many of us aren’t able to “touch our toes”, much less stretch into a position that makes us uncomfortable, into a position or place that we can’t imagine, or one that might create pain.  Why?  For what?  And if it’s important, how?

According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, organizations that attempt to issue stretch goals aren’t any more successful than most people.  Stretch goals were defined in the article, “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” by Sim Sitkin, Chet Miller and Kelly See, “We’re not talking about merely challenging goals. We’re talking about management moon shots—goals that appear unattainable given current practices, skills, and knowledge.  In the parlance of the business world, these are often referred to as stretch goals…”

The article describes some interesting case studies and points out incidents where organizations have strived to set “big, hairy, audacious goals”, thinking they would magically transform their organization and solve their problems.  But like many of us who struggle to make our dreams come true and fall flat, the authors found a string of failures in attempting to achieve stretch goals in organizations.

Image by Howard Wilks on Pixabay

Well, obviously, some people and some organizations DO achieve their dreams and goals.  What are the keys to success?  The authors suggest that organizations do better with stretch goals when they are strong, not when they are weak.  Just like developing your muscles for a physical stretch.

Same with your personal stretch goals!  Thanks to the Master Key Experience course (#NothingLikeIt), and through Mark Januszewski’s material, it becomes very simple – define your purpose and the life you want (a Defined Major Purpose, per Napoleon Hill), envision it, then put together a plan of action and follow it daily, checking in weekly to make sure you’re making progress.  Slowly, steadily, focused, not like a cold-muscle, painful lurch.  Mark encourages us to practice the vision, and fulfill our daily plans every single day, not just once in awhile, and offers hands-on support to make sure we get where we want to go.

The HBR authors had similar advice for their organizations:  take small steps and pursue small wins.  These amount to big wins later.

So allow yourself to dream and take those daily steps toward it.  Recognize that the only thing holding you back is YOU!  Whatever your dream it may seem like a stretch now, but, as Og Mandino, in the Greatest Salesman in the World, says, “In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult … I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.”

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