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Stretch... The Road To Elubo

When I watch ballet dance movies, I’m reminded of the testing of limits.

When ballet dancers step onto a stage to perform, they make it seem so effortless. The beauty of the dance and the feeling they get when the audience applaud. At that point, I bet they forget the sweat, mistakes and the pain they had to endure in order to put up such awesome performances, and just enjoy the moment.

As one coming from a sales background, my professional life has experienced a good amount of stretches. Far beyond that is the stretch towards reaching my potential and becoming all that I can be.

When I received my appointment letter in 2009 and was informed that I was going to head the branch in Elubo, I had mixed feelings of anticipation - I had a tight knot in my stomach because, it was my first banking job and my first managerial role; on the other hand, I was excited about taking on the challenge, in an unknown town, far away from home, and under uncomfortable conditions. During the process of my on boarding into the company, people kept asking: "are you the one going to Elubo?" I answered and said: "yes". People: "Ei! have you been there? It’s really far. Speak to Human Resources to change it for you. A man should be sent there, not you."

A journey of 5 hours by road (a Ghanaian road) was quite a stretch. It was a journey to self discovery and a road that helped to define my career.

The first few weeks were challenging. I had to learn to be a banker and learn to lead people who were also new to banking. It was an exciting learning and growth experience for the team and I, marked by successes like being the best branch in a "Liabilities Challenge" organised by the bank.

Stretching beyond our comfort zone, gives us the opportunity to conquer a feat and puts us on a path to becoming significant.

In opening the chapter on "The Law Of The Rubber Band", in his "The 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth", John Maxwell wrote: "growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be."

Milestones in my life have been attained by stretching, doing what I hadn’t done earlier and charting new paths to reach my next level. Some of these stretches have been painful, marked by mistakes and failure, but one may never know that one can, except by trying.

In primary school, I did the High Jump. I got excited anytime I conquered one level after the other. Before taking the jump, I fervently prayed to safely sail across the bar, without knocking it down. Most instances, I did, but many times, I knocked the bar over, hurting my leg in the process. There were times that a pole was provided when the bar got to the top to help propel us higher and provide a leverage to jump.

I'm not athletic anymore and I no longer do the High Jump, but my life hasn’t stopped, my journey of growth towards achieving my full potential hasn’t stopped. I am constantly looking for new ways to grow.

Each level on the High Jump stand is like the short term goals that we set in our lives. There are some goals we can easily meet, and there are others that are stretching and would require a lot of practice, a few trials and errors and many victories. Don’t stop trying and always look for new ways to get to where you’re supposed to be.

The pole in our personal growth come in diverse ways. A mentor, books, courses, or a boss. Utilising these whilst we stretch ourselves to our best selves would provide a leverage to attaining our goals.