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Posted: Wednesday, Sep 4th, 2013

Chris Waugh

When people ask me about hang gliding, they always say something like, “How did you ever get the nerve to jump off the first time?” They assume I took my new glider to the nearest cliff and trusted fate. They think learning to fly must be like learning to swim. Well, sink or swim is one thing; fly or die is quite another!

The way a student pilot really begins to learn to hang glide is on the flat ground. I practiced holding my training wing level, with the nose slightly pitched up. Because of its weight and wingspan, just holding it in the breeze was a challenge at first. Then I started to walk with it; soon I could run while I kept control of the glider’s attitude.

Only then did I start up a sand dune. In my first “flight,” I cleared the ground by only a few inches. Even at that, my first landing was rough. I stumbled and planted my face in the sand. But soon, I was comfortable at this altitude. I ventured farther up the dune. Now my flights were clearing a few feet. It wasn’t a smooth process, though, and I ate a lot of sand.

When I scared myself too badly, I went back to a lower level on the dune. As my comfort level grew, I kept stretching myself upward. Finally, I was launching of cliffs. Eventually, I launched off the snowy top of 9,000-foot Mt. Bachelor.

Learning happens somewhere between bored-to-death, and scared-to-death. If you stay too comfortable, you quit trying, you get bored and you don’t grow. If you stretch too far, you scare yourself. You make mistakes, and eat proverbial sand.

The trick to learning is to fluctuate between your comfort zone, and your stretch zone. True growth happens as we stretch.

If you like the task, you stretch more easily. But don’t forget the skills you need everyday - the ones you don’t stretch as much. Search the web for short article on these topics:

• Time management – improve that skill and get more out of life.

• Conflict resolution – learn to enjoy the benefits of creative disagreement.

• Creativity – practice thinking outside the box (there is no box.)

• Motivation – refocus on what it is and how you can improve yours and others.

• Interpersonal skills – clear the clouds out of your communications.

• Teamwork – learn to play better with others.

Keep yourself in balance by stretching these important skills.

Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.

For the complete article see the 09-04-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-04-2013 paper.

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