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Stretch Yourself Anew

Yesterday, we discussed how to live without being perfect. We told you to practice the
“75% solution” so you have more time to enjoy life. Today we’ll discuss how to stretch yourself anew.

Let’s face it – we’re all busy. As we age, our careers get more demanding. We have more family responsibilities. Real life gets in the way of stretching ourselves in new ways. We want to give you four questions to ask yourself to rediscover joy in your life.

Question 1: What’s something you used to love to do?
There are things you used to do that got pushed aside – not intentionally, but accidentally. Something had to give. We have a friend who loved music when he was younger. Recently, he bought a guitar and started playing again. He loved it! Now he’s in a band and has an amazing collection of valuable guitars!

Question 2: What class, outside your major, did you really enjoy?
Or another way to think about it – was there a class you always wanted to take? Another friend’s job involves a lot of analysis. In college, he took a creative writing class as an elective. Now he’s taking another writing class at his local community college. He loves it! He says it’s a complete escape.

Question 3: What do you have sitting around the house?
You may have to dig deep, but there are probably remnants of old hobbies somewhere in your house. Why not break out the tools of your craft? Mary-Lynn says she has rediscovered paint-by-number. She’s learned to keep her brushes clean and in plain sight. That’s her reminder to enjoy this favorite activity from the past.

Question 4: What did you used to read?
Take a trip to your local library or bookstore. Browse the magazine section. What strikes you? George used to subscribe to a couple of fishing magazines. Now, he’s rediscovered fishing with a new twist – it’s a great time to relax and reflect, even if he doesn’t catch anything!

Stretching yourself by recalling those things that used to bring you joy rounds you out. You’ll find it helps your career and your family life. You’re more interesting. You’ll have new energy. You may even find a clue that will take your career and your life in an exciting new direction.

Our quote today is by the great writer and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”

Take an old idea and make it new again. Stretch yourself and expand your mind. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss building self-confidence. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

The Role Of Role Playing

In our last blog, we told the story on storytelling. We discussed finding the right yarn and offered tips on telling your tall tale well. Hear the story.

Today, we’ll discuss how to use role playing, both professionally and personally.

We’re not pretending to be the have all and be all of role play discussions here. We’re talking about a specific use of it. So let’s define what we mean when we say role play:

Practicing human interaction before you actually do it.

Rehearsing in your mirror is better than nothing, but it’s not role playing. With role playing, you’re going to have a mentor, a peer, or a buddy. When done right, it’s a much richer experience than simply rehearsing.

Practice makes perfect.
Imagine an athlete who never practiced. Or an actor who never rehearsed. Would you expect them to rise to the top of their profession?

So why do we think it’s any different for us? It’s not. By role playing, you’ll enter situations with more confidence, because you’ve been there before. You’ll face less stress and perform better. You’ve made the unfamiliar familiar.

Simulate the situation.
Create the exact same environment. Come as close as you possibly can to setting up the same circumstances you will face in the actual situation. This really needs to be done with you and another person face-to-face. You can role play over the phone (especially a phone call), but it’s much better in person. Let’s look at some examples of situations that you might want to role play.

Annual review / ask for a raise
Are you going to be sitting or standing? How about your boss? Most likely, you’ll both be seated around a desk. So when you role play, sit around a desk (or something you can pretend is a desk).

Sales call
You’ll probably be standing, at least at first. Practice your greeting while standing. Practice down to the handshake. You want a handshake Goldilocks would like – not too hard, not too soft.

Service call at homeowner’s residence
Practice ringing the door bell. What if the door bell doesn’t work? Practice knocking. Where will you stand as the homeowner opens the door? What will you say?

You can use these same techniques personally. For example, if you’re a parent, you may want to role play an important conversation with one of your kids. Personally or professionally, role playing is a great preparation method. Practice it, then do it.

Our quote today is by the great tennis player, Arthur Ashe.

“One important key to success is self-confidence.
An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

Willingness to prepare helps you succeed. Role play your way to a great day.

Tomorrow’s the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. So we’re going to talk about ‘taters. We’ll ask, “What kind of ‘tater are you?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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