The stretch goal concept was introduced by American Jack Welch during General Electric’s golden years as he asked workers to reach beyond what they had achieved the year before. Historically, the stretch goal concept was not used solely to drive growth, but to incite workers to think outside the box. The concept was to force people to look at issues from different angles and become more creative.
Stepping out of your comfort zone forces you to collaborate with others, be creative, and find new ways of doing things. When you expand out of your comfort zone, you see yourself growing and deepening your skills, talents, and creativity. With expansion comes new discoveries, excitement, and satisfaction.
Many companies have now embraced stretch goals as part of their employee performance measurement process. Setting stretch goals was key for me to move up the corporate ladder. It forced me to focus on what I wanted to accomplish in the year, and to lay out my strategy to reach my mid- and long-term goals. It allowed me to grow as a person, deepen my knowledge and skills, discover my gifts, tackle challenges, reach bigger goals, and learn perseverance, teamwork, quality work, and so much more.
Many very successful people did not have immediate success in their lives. Some started with just very small businesses and worked really hard to grow them. Others were told they would never succeed. Some others went broke a few times. What paid off was their commitment, self-control, and tenacity in pursuing their desires.
Oftentimes the fear of failure or the unknown keeps us from setting stretch goals. The antidote is to dream big. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith; you were born to learn and grow. Reflect on the character traits you would like to develop, what you would like to achieve this year, in five, and ten years.
Learning a new skill, changing a behavior, or starting a new venture is not always easy, but enthusiasm combined with commitment makes perfect. As written by German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Everything is hard before it is easy.” Don’t let a negative experience stop you from trying again and again.
Be daring with your goals. Let the unknown be an exciting challenge. You will discover secrets about yourself. You will experience life to its fullest. By fulfilling your true aspirations, you will create growth not only for yourself, but for those around you. From now on, choose to let your seeds of greatness flourish. In achieving more, you become more.