Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Stretch Yourself!

What do I mean by “stretch?”

Stretch means doing something different, something hard and going past what you believe to be your limitations.

We nurses tend to get stuck in our comfort zone.  We are at the top of our game as a nurse, yet we tend to stay there without pushing ourselves to be, do or have more.

Your comfort zone is like a thermostat in your home: when the house gets too warm, the air conditioning kicks on and, conversely, when it gets too cold, it engages the heat.

The same is true of our individual weight.  We all have a weight thermostat which is why people striving to lose weight eventually regain what they’ve lost.

To go past these predetermined limits, such as those of our comfort zone, it is important to stretch yourself.  You can stretch yourself in small ways by trying new things that open your mind.

However, if you do NOT stretch yourself, it’s like Ground Hog Day.  You wake up and even though the patients may be different, everything is pretty much the same.

We really are creatures of our habits.  We all get up and many of us start our day at about the same time.  Many have the same or similar breakfast.  We shower, brush our teeth, and typically have the same grooming routine.  Everything is “old hat” and it’s like you are on autopilot.

The only way to break out of this cycle is to stretch yourself.

I stretch myself to prove that I can do more and it allows me to think differently about my capabilities.

When I broke a board with my hand, my fear was instead I would break the bones in my hand and no longer be able to use my computer.  More frightening was when I “ate fire,” I could see myself in a burn unit.

Sometimes our own mind is our own worst enemy.  Our mind thrusts all kinds of fears upon us that are not real.  As a result of the board breaking and eating fire, I did not hurt myself!

All growth occurs outside your comfort zone.  Life it too short.  Going through the motions in my mind is not living. There is so much joy in being the creator of your life. I was so pleased to find out that I could go beyond my limiting beliefs.

Now, here are some things you can do to get out of your comfort zone.

  1. Take a different route to work or ride your bike to work;
  2. Go someplace you have never been;
  3. Read a book on a topic in which you would not normally be interested;
  4. Take a new college class;
  5. Try a new and exotic food;
  6. Go to a social event where you do not know anyone;
  7. Visit a museum with exhibits you know nothing about;
  8. Play a new game;
  9. Go to a concert performing a different style of music;
  10. Watch a sporting event that you do not understand.

You can find many other new experiences that can open your mind and stretch yourself to new possibilities in your life.

A toast!  Here’s to stretching yourself today and creating new possibilities.

Please give me examples below of what you have done or may consider doing that will allow you to “stretch” yourself.


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