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22. January 2015

Stretching Yourself at a Crossroads

by Mark Linsz, Co-Founder and Senior Managing Partner, My Next Season

One of the best pieces of advice that I have received was while I was at a crossroads in my career. I had been offered several opportunities at the same time, and I was in the midst of deciding which to pursue. I went to a mentor and close friend of mine for advice. He simply said, “Take the job that will make you the most uncomfortable because it will stretch you and force you to grow.” As I looked at my options, one of the opportunities was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I chose it. I was incredibly stretched, but I also grew in ways that provided future opportunities that I would not have had if I had not taken the risk to be uncomfortable.

The same advice can be valuable throughout our lives even as we enter “into retirement.” I was recently speaking to a retired executive who told me that the key to his successful retirement is having a portfolio of activities that keeps him challenged intellectually. He’s chosen to be on several for-profit boards and is active with a not-for-profit as well. He went on to say that he enjoys having the freedom of retirement and playing more golf but that he also needed to be challenged and needed to continue to grow. I was struck by the fact that the increased freedom of our time can give us opportunities to pursue new areas of development and that we always need to be stretching ourselves in order to grow.

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