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This past week I was talking with a friend about our individual experiences with our personal coach. We both worked with him at different times and we were sort of comparing notes.

At the same time, I was thinking about my own 8-week coaching framework knowing I was about to begin working through it with a new individual.

It struck me that every time I’ve worked through a course, a program, or any type of learning activity, I really only retained or internalized 80% of it. Sort of the classic Pareto Principle 80/20 rule.

There’s always some of that fringe material that seems a little far-fetched and outlandish. The stuff that you say, “Ok…I’ll try this…but I’m not sure I’m totally on board.”

But without that 20% of material that seems a little bonkers, you wouldn’t retain the real meat and potatoes that becomes an integral part of the way you live and operate.

Think of it like a piece of rubber or soft plastic. When you stretch it out, it contracts back into a more comfortable size and shape, albeit still larger than when it started. And the more you do that, the closer it gets to that ultimate size and shape, while still tending to revert back to the mean.

It’s the same with learning a new point of view or behavior. We stretch ourselves out to ultimately increase our capacity, but it takes a lot of stretching to reach the full capacity that we experience momentarily at the peak.

But it’s the real stretches that make it possible to grow to a sustainable level.