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Set Stretch Goals and Get out of Your Comfort Zone

By Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg,
Richard Michaels & Sharon Brown

Coaching for Transformation
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Without the challenge to set stretch goals, clients often take smaller steps than they are capable of. By challenging clients to create outrageous goals, we ask them to consider stepping farther than they might on their own. Even if they consider the outrageous goal to be too much of a stretch, they will settle that are bigger than they would have chosen on their own (e.g. a stretch vs. practical goal).

CFT Stretch Goals

Tips for setting stretch goals:

  • Make sure the goal is compelling
  • What makes this goal important to you?
  • Search for the growing edge
  • What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail? How can you play a bigger game?
  • Balance the outrageous, ambitious and practical
  • What's one ambitious element you could add to your goal and still achieve it?
  • How could you make that goal 10 times bigger and still achieve it?
  • What would make your heart sing?

Expanding Your Comfort Zone

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. — Anaïs Nin

Our comfort zone has the familiarity of an old couch. But everything now in our comfort zone was once unfamiliar. Life is full of choices. We can live our lives in fear of making mistakes or we can choose to act in alignment with our deepest values. Acting boldly and truthfully unleashes our full potential. As we act on our courage, we don’t eradicate fear from our lives. As we evolve, our fears change shape, vacillating between sharp barbs that paralyze and gentle prods that keep us moving in the right direction. Courageous people learn to use fear as the signpost telling them where to go next. Fear serves as our personal invitation from life to develop our courage, character and our own personal code of honor. We learn to take action even when it isn’t always popular, safe or certain to do so. For example:

A coach-in-training, came to her coaching session excited about the prospects of living a more holistic life—combining her coaching skills and massage training. She also came weighed down by the obstacles—two small children for whom she wanted to be a fantastic mother and role model, an unsatisfying job and financial challenges that required her to keep a job until her business took off.

She wanted support in designing her ideal life and taking the action steps to get there. Early in the coaching, her words “peace” and “freedom” really brought her alive. She stepped fully into the aliveness of what her life would look like if filled with peace and freedom. She also stepped into the fear and sense of, “How can I possibly do it?” and decided to move toward the aliveness rather than be held back by the fear, uncertainty and inner critics. She changed her housing situation to ease the financial pressure, bringing more peace into her life.She also changed jobs, becoming the director of a nonprofit, which allowed her to use her coaching skills to impact the way her staff delivered services to the community. This brought in the freedom element in a big way. She was excited about the changes in her life and her ability to create them from the place of her personal power and alignment with what was most meaningful to her. In this place, she saw herself as a better role model for her girls—wanting them to also learn to live from the place of power and possibility.

Stepping out of your comfort zone

Using the diagram below, recall each time you stepped out of your comfort zone and write an event in the decade it occurred. The first decade might include going to school, riding a bike or diving off a diving board. In the second decade, riding a horse, going on a date, leaving home or getting a job are examples of stepping out of your comfort zone. Marriage, asking for a raise, having children, going skydiving might show up in the third decade. Changing careers, living in a new country, running for political office… keep going, filling in each decade, including the ones you haven’t lived yet. Remember key times you stepped out of your comfort zone and how you felt afterwards. What happens when you expand or contract your comfort zone? Imagine stepping out of your comfort zone now. To accept life’s invitation to act with courage, what actions will you take?

CFT Comfort Zone

Daily Habits

The habit of setting priorities, overcoming procrastination, and getting on with your most important task is a mental and physical skill. As such, this habit is learnable through practice and repetition, over and over again, until it locks into your subconscious mind and becomes a permanent part of your behavior. — Brian Tracy

Small, constructive actions done on a daily or routine basis can quickly give a sense of accomplishment and momentum. These daily habits form a foundation for major changes to take place. What actions, if taken on a regular basis, would make a difference for you? How do these daily actions tie into your strategic plan?


Process all incoming mail daily.

Exercise four times each week.

Check email only twice a day.

Excerpt from the book Coaching for Transformation: Pathways to Ignite Personal & Social Change by Martha Lasley, Virginia Kellogg, Richard Michaels and Sharon Brown. As faculty at Leadership that Works, they certify coaches who offer personal, organization and community transformation. Check out the free Power of Coaching teleclass.

Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.

Leadership that Works

Transforming the world.
One heart at a time.

More articles from Coaching for Transformation

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