To really improve, we have to stretch beyond our reach. This is true for improving our communication skills as well as just about everything else in life.

Progress and growth require doing things that are outside our comfort zone. It is how we learn and grow

All too often I see people that limit themselves. They are their own biggest obstacle. Repeatedly. They stop trying new things, they stop working at being better, they stop making an effort to learn and improve. And sometimes they blame everyone but themselves for their lack of growth. After all, it is easier to accept if it “isn’t my fault” because then they don’t have to accept the responsibility either.

Maybe they claim to have all the answers now (which would be handy if it were true I suppose). Maybe the energy of youth has left them and now life is about paths of perceived least resistance. Maybe there is a fear of failure or a fear of losing ground in a career, each leading to risk avoidance.

When we were toddlers, we learned to walk by stretching our capabilities. We learned to talk the same way. We learned sports, reading, relationships, history, hobbies and life. At least, we learned them for awhile.

Effective communication is a moving target. The audiences for your messages are, for all practical purposes, infinite in how they receive messages. While you can never be effective in reaching them all, how can you stretch your skills to reach moreof them? Would that lead to more success, be it professional or personal? Or more joy or more money or more time?

Do you stretch? Have you written something recently or blogged or researched or trained or given a speech? Was it something new or bigger or different?


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.