I woke up this week feeling a bit uncomfortable and knew I was heading into a stretch phase in my business.
It happens at every new level. For example, maybe you’re launching a new coaching program or maybe you just hit a new income rank in your business.
Around the corner from a big success, is the stretch phase.
I've learned that if we ignore the work within the stretch phase, it’s very easy to simply slide back down. So it’s important that we honour this phase. It actually propels deeper momentum forward, if we’re willing to honour it and do the work.
I’ve learned through the past few years how to navigate this season. And although I’m still learning and a forever student, I wanted to share my thoughts and tips with you today.
Here are 8 strategies to help you navigate the stretch:
1. Don’t run
Acknowledge that you’re in the stretch and don’t run. Most people sacrifice their success because they’re afraid of feeling uncomfortable. I’ll get to this more in a minute, but what if we labelled the stretch a bit differently so we welcomed it in more? For example, if we really look at it, it’s actually just an uncomfortable feeling or sensation in our bodies. It’s not that the work you’re about to take on is actually hard. It just feels hard.
But, if you stay “in” the process and do it, the feeling of hard fades, and your freedom, health and abundance deepens.
2. Get clear on what your heart is asking of you, in terms of growth
Within every stretch phase there are new skills, ways of being or action steps that your heart will tell you to take. This one is pretty straight forward. You’re either courageous enough to sit down and write on paper what that is. Or, fear will take over and you'll resist this part. If you opt for option #2, the stretch phase is over and you’re officially “stuck.” No one wants to be or live within that space but unfortunately many people do because they are afraid of what their heart is asking them to do.
3. Take action, no matter how “hard” it feels
Now that you have a list of what your heart is telling you to do within the stretch phase, start taking action immediately. Expect it to feel hard, but understand that it’s a temporary feeling. This is where you have to build some trust muscles as well, and look at the examples of those who have gone before you. I had to trust my mentors and teachers and favourite personal development authors when they told me to just go for it. They all said my freedom, abundance, vitality and impact would grow, the more I took courageous action but unfortunately in the world of business, there are no tangible guarantee’s, so our fear deepens. For example, when you run a marathon you know it’s a given you’re going to get a cute ribbon at the end for participating. In the world of entrepreneurship, you’re out there on your own and you have to trust what your heart is guiding you to do. Which is the entire point though and a deep life lesson. What would be possible if you trusted her? Do you really think she would lead you astray?
4. Feel, to heal
My first yoga teacher Baron Baptiste had certain principles that guided his teachings. One of them was “In order to heal, you need to feel.” I used to attend his week long yoga intensive trainings and at times I found myself in a pile of tears while lying on my yoga mat. He would push us and challenge us to stay “in” the yoga practice, which was quite challenging and he did this on purpose with long days and hours and hours of yoga. It was so intense and literally forced us to get quiet, move our bodies and just breathe and be present. Some people got so uncomfortable with what "came up for them" within the deep presence that they would quit or go home. Some just cried and released. It sounds deep, but if you think about it, it’s a very simple concept to understand. Many of us humans block our emotions and we’re therefore storing lots of fear in our cells. We don’t want to get quiet, or sit still, for even a short moment, because that would cause us to have to “look” at our unhealed stuff. Over the last 4 years as I’ve built my business, I have enveloped my heart in deep healing. I have cried, I have released, and I have transformed. And, it's been a key cornerstone to my success.
And, it still happens to me at every new stretch phase. I’ve realized this is actually where we gain our deepest power, through healing. But in order to do that, we need to feel.
5. Show up imperfect
This one is quite personal for me. During many “stretch” phases I’ve made mistakes. Nothing too crazy but within the healing, the feeling and the releasing, sometimes my energy has gotten the best of me, sometimes I took action on something without knowing how to do it yet and the email maybe didn’t come across in the best way. Sometimes I would be in the stretch and feeling uncomfortable and my brain was mushy and overwhelmed, so my mentor calls were not the best or the way I showed up for my husband on that day was not the best.
But here’s the thing. (And I learned this from a 7-figure mentor)
You can sit in fear around the “how” and fear around showing up imperfectly and then never take action.
Or, you can show up and do your best, and understand that you will fail forward and you will make mistakes.
Again, it’s temporary. You’ll get better. Your skills will enhance, and in fact, this is the only way they’ll enhance, by trying your best with what you know.
You’ll eventually learn new skills, you’ll make refinements and then you’ll be able to handle your new level with grace.
6. Learn and refine.
I touched on this in point #5, but make sure you’re open to growth and refinements. I believe there is nothing more dangerous than someone who just pushes through the stretch phase, because eventually, we're going to have to face our stuff. And, if you wait until you have a massive business, and massive responsibility, how is that going to feel when it all gets compounded on top of you? The entire point is to feel more free at each level, so it's key to ensure you're allowing your business to do it's "work" within you, at each level.
7. Enjoy the freedom you've cultivated
The good news? On the other side of the stretch is the most beautiful freedom. I usually last a few days to a week in a stretch phase now and then I start to vibrate at a higher frequency and I step into a deep flow. I used to last months in a stretch phase because I was resistant to doing what my heart was telling me to do. I’ve learned from those experiences however and now I just do and then enjoy the sweetness on the other side.
8. Get ready for another stretch
If you’re a woman passionate about stepping into the leader you’re really here to be, if growth, freedom, and impact are important to you then I need to do my job and tell you that another stretch phase will come. They always do. But they get shorter and easier each time, as long as you’re committed to doing the work.
And, your freedom gets deeper and richer and sweeter each time too!
To your leadership,