Leaders are experts at transforming themselves. They know that today’s capabilities produce today’s results. If they want to create greater impact, they have to add the skills and experiences that will produce better results. Of course, they are doing everything they can right now. So, if they want to do better, they must become a different kind of leader. And the only way to make that happen is to stretch their experience beyond what it has been so far. They have to jump into the deep end of a new pool and learn to swim. It can be scary, but it’s the most effective way to produce greater results.

The picture above is me just before I climbed into a racing car to compete against a team of colleagues. It was a great and thrilling experience. I had to learn all kinds of things that are not a normal part of my everyday life. This included how fast I could accelerate in a turn without losing control — and the only way to learn it was to push the envelope, which meant I lost control more than once. I learned how to expand my comfort zone as a driver. I had to become comfortable with my wheels losing traction as it was a regular part of the hairpin turns while under the pressure of racing competition.

In my Visionary Leadership Academy, a course I teach to executives here in DC (the next one is forming, here’s the link), we discuss what holds them back from stepping up and producing a new level of result in their profession. We take a look at all the ways we unintentionally limit ourselves. We do this so we can expand our abilities beyond those limitations. I am always inspired by the courage of the participants. I also am amazed at how we all undermine our ability to excel. No one is immune. It’s natural. The only way out is to put yourself into new experiences where you must s-t-r-e-t-c-h in order to succeed.

How will you stretch in the week ahead?

“Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.”
– Charles Scribner, Jr