Stretch Assignment: Reading the Right Books to Develop Your Career
Why didn’t I see it before? You know, that moment of clarity, when the scales fall off your eyes. And you didn’t even know that you needed clarity. Over at Birds on the Blog, I have been working on a series of blog posts about taking control of your career, finding a stretch assignment, and working on it. It’s been fun working on these blog posts. The process made me realize that you can create a stretch assignment for yourself, even if you are business owner, entrepreneur, or a solopreneur. You have clients who have problems. You can build your business by solving other people’s problems. A stretch assignment allows you to even serve more people, especially if you take great care in choosing the right project to work on.
Stretch Assignment + Read the World Challenge = Develop Your Career
The light bulb 💡 went on. At that moment, I also realized that the Read the World Challenge is the perfect way to work on your stretch assignment. I know that the Read the World Challenge is important, because I created it, to contribute one solution, to an issue that has been weighing me down for a while now. Although the challenge is very important, I am not naïve enough to think that most people will participate out of the goodness of their hearts. Some people will. But, most people are self-interested. That’s the way the way life works. It’s about what you can do for them. And I think I have found a unique selling point for the Read the World Challenge – that takes into account self-interest.
Stretch Assignment Success: Choosing the Right Books
I have always believed that the Read the World Challenge is a new kind of reading challenge, because of the way it’s structured. For most other reading challenges, you are given the requirements, and it’s up to you to complete them within the year. Goodreads allows you to pledge how many books you plan to read, and you have a community to support you, which is a good thing. For the Read the World Challenge, when you officially sign-up, you receive weekly prompts to inspire you to read a book each week. Additionally, you have access to tools to help you elevate the ideas from the books you read. For each book that you read, I ask participants to extract the five big ideas. It takes only one big idea, if implemented, to transform your life forever. I encourage participants to join the Read the World Facebook Group. On top of all of that, the Read the World Challenge is a way for you to chip away at a problem that matters to you and many others. All of us can easily find one or two important problems that we want to solve.
By selecting a problem to solve that matters, you give purpose and meaning to participating in the reading challenge. You create a stretch assignment based on the problem that you are trying to solve, by making sure that you read the right books. There are so many great books waiting for you to explore them. Although there are specific requirements for the Read the World Challenge, there are many opportunities for you to choose books that would help you on a stretch assignment. Imagine at the end of 52 weeks, the satisfaction you feel, because you harnessed the power of the Read the World Challenge, and joined a community of readers, to consistently work on a stretch assignment of your choosing. After that effort, what would happen, if you decided to share what you learned on the journey? How many people would you be able to serve because of your newfound knowledge?
Avil’s Stretch Assignment
I have mentioned several times, that a big thing for me is understanding virality – how ideas spread. The first month of the reading challenge, I read a few books on how ideas spread. What became clear to me, and based on my over 18 years of research experience, to really understand the topic, I need to read a lot more books. For instance, yes, I want to know how ideas spread. I also want to know how products and services spread. I want my blog posts to go viral, so I have to learn how to present myself as an authority. I also want to hone my writing skills, which further demonstrates my authority and expertise. It’s also important to understand the psychology behind influence and spreading ideas. You see what I mean? If I really want to know how ideas spread, then I have to invest the time to learn as much as I can about the topic. Even tangential topics. With that in mind, it suddenly occurred to me that this should be my stretch assignment.
In another blog post, after I have read How to Become an Expert: Discover, Research, and Build a Project in Your Chosen Field by Maurice Gibbons and Barb Keating (It’s out of print so I ordered a used copy), I will continue with this series. I believe this is a groundbreaking idea.
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