By Art Alexander, Certified John Maxwell, Speaker, Trainer and Coach

The Law of the Rubber Band states that your personal and professional growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be.

If you were asked, “Do you want to grow in your personal and professional life?” I’m sure you would answer with a resounding “yes!” It’s been said, true life begins at the end of our comfort zone, and we arrive there by stretching.

In the Law of the Rubber Band we are reminded that rubber bands are ONLY useful when they are stretched. You would not be where you are or who you are today without some form of tension or stretching taking place. Let’s use the  analogy of the rubber band for all it was meant to be and consider together these seven statements that will challenge each of us to evaluate how much we are willing to stretch in order to develop in our personal and professional lives.

1) Few people ever want to be stretched Most people use only a fraction of their ability, and rarely, if ever, try to reach their full potential. When was the last time you learned something new for the first time?

2) Stop settling for the status quo Most people are satisfied to settle into their comfort zone of familiar patterns and habits. It takes real courage to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Remember, no one remembers average people.

3) Stretching is an inside job The real process of growth begins with your thoughts. Those thoughts then become words and the words become actions. Philosophical writer James Allen said, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.” This inside job is an internal measurement that allows you to evaluate where you are against what you are capable of.

4) Stretching always requires change You can’t improve and avoid change at the same time! We must stop looking over our shoulders at what was and start focusing on what is. To quote George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” If you are still satisfied with what you did five years ago, then you are not growing.

5) Stretching sets you apart from others Have you noticed that people seem to have become satisfied with mediocrity?  As you stretch and get better you will be able to affect and infect others who will follow your lead, and everyone will become better as a result.

6) Stretching can become a lifestyle When you stop stretching, you stop growing. Make stretching yourself part of your daily routine; you will be glad you did.

7) Stretching gives you a shot at significance. You see, if you are going to grow yourself you must first know yourself. What is the gap between good and great? Could it be that your ability to close that gap is directly related to your willingness to be stretched?

The bottom line on the Law of the Rubber Band is … are you always looking for a better way to do what you already do? If you are, then you need to know ahead of time that it will stretch you out of your comfort zone and propel you into your desired future.

As you deal with your day-to-day situations, whether in business or personal life, you will be dealt several opportunities that you can stretch into. How you choose to deal with those determine how you positively (or negatively) impact your current circumstances, your life and how you influence those around you.