Our Best when it Matters Most!

There are those moments in life, personally and professionally, when something really matters and every fibre of our being tells us that we need to be at our very best – that moment is the STRETCH ZONE!

While anyone can be at their best in their COMFORT ZONE, it seldom matters. When it really matters the pressure can be relentless – and being at our confident best is easier said than done.

Inherent within the STRETCH ZONE are all sorts of unknowns and our confidence is so often hijacked by fear and doubt that we’ll end up in the PANIC ZONE – that place of dread where we feel we have ‘lost it’!

Our best, when it matters, is directly dependent on our inner state at the threshold of our STRETCH ZONE. When hijacked by fear and doubt we hold ourselves back. When we deal with our fears and doubts we step across the threshold and our best follows as a distinct certainty – that is confidence in the STRETCH ZONE!

Question: What does the STRETCH ZONE look like for you and how would you describe your inner state at the threshold of your STRETCH ZONE?

THE STRETCH ZONE – Resolute & Steadfast at the Threshold

In this moment I find myself standing at the threshold of my comfort zone – a moment that I’ve imagined countless times over the past few years. At the threshold, I have a choice: I can either hold myself back from what is the fruit of years of unflinching intention or I can step up into the STRETCH ZONE – into the unknown!

As with any moment at the threshold, as you may recognise from your own experience, when I look within myself I observe a conflux of ideas, thoughts and feelings – a mix of exuberant trepidation. So what is it that has brought me to this exciting moment?

Having worked extensively with seasoned leaders as an executive coach and facilitator over the past 15 years, amongst many things, what has intrigued me most is how often confidence has been raised as an area for development.

What has been particularly interesting is that this is as true of people who seem to exude confidence as it is of people who clearly lack confidence. Without a doubt, we all have a stretch zone and confidence is an issue for everyone who has the courage to step outside their comfort zone.

Glenn WidelkoArising out of 15 years of coaching conversations is my first book, THE STRETCH ZONE, which is about being at our very best when it really matters – and that is about confidence in the stretch zone. While skill, knowledge and experience are critical, confidence is the differentiating factor that enables our best when it matters.

What makes The Stretch Zone unique and different is that it is not about confidence boosting hype, resulting in no more than a façade of pseudo-confidence that seldom lasts. Rather than wasting our effort and energy unnecessarily The Stretch Zone inspires us to channel our efforts to release an authentic confidence from within oneself. Coming from within it is authentic and congruent – real and sustainable.

Celebrating The Stretch Zone and all that I have learnt from so many outstanding people over the years, the first few chapters are freely available at www.widelko.com. Also to follow are a series of blogs on key insights about confidence in the stretch zone over the coming months – to share what has been a transformative experience for so many, not to mention myself.

Best wishes

Glenn Widelko

A Question of Leadership

Over the years I’ve heard a truckload of definitions of leadership – be it an academic view or a view won through real experience there are many good and many not-so-good definitions out there.

Some years ago I heard leadership defined quite uniquely. Rather than another statement, leadership was defined as a question: ‘what kind of a leader do I need to be right now?’.

A statement attempts to predict what will work tomorrow based on what worked yesterday. A question is about what is actually happening right now and being present to respond as it is.

So long as our conditioned attention is confined to what has worked in the past, we are unlikely to notice what is needed in the present – when it actually matters. Great leadership is of-the-moment and has little or nothing to do with the past.

Question: What kind of a leader do I need to be right now, in this situation, with these people, with this problem?

Imposing What we Know on What we Need to Know

In our ordinary, everyday experience learning so often refers to that which we have learnt in the past. What follows is a very stale regurgitation as we superimpose past learning onto the present.

In this limited paradigm learning is an event that begins and ends – and we end up having certain bits of knowledge and skills which we believe we have, own and control – all stored in memory.

Learning is not an event that happens, but an intriguing and continual process of discovery. In truth, real learning goes beyond memory of what worked yesterday to what works now.

While what we’ve learnt is the past is necessary, application of learning is about the integration of what is known in the past and what is known in the present. Until we become intrigued about what is actually happening now the underlying secret of learning remains un-dis-covered.

Question: Today, to what extent is your learning a continual process of what works for you now?

Common Denominator in Every Moment

The saying goes, ‘Master one thing to master all things. And to try to master all things is to master nothing’ (unknown). The question is: ‘what is that one thing?’.

The one ‘thing’ worth mastering is oneself. As we are each the single common denominator in our every waking moment, self-mastery is the master key to mastering everything else.

As we charge about in our hurry-up world, we seldom pause to question the extent of the mastery we have of ourselves, taking it as fact, an entrenched conviction that is beyond question.

Self-mastery is to master all that makes up our humanity, our thoughts, feelings, ideas, intentions, perceptions, conceptions, attention, esteem and consciousness. While true self-mastery is an inspirational ideal, each little step within can make a tremendous difference without.

Question: To what extent are you aware of the extent of your self-mastery throughout today?