The Prouty Team

Team Perspectives: To Stretch Is To Grow

We devote the first Tuesday of every month to our team. Once a month, we intentionally create a space of community, rest, and alignment. This month, we asked our employees this:
What was your last STRETCHING experience and what did you learn from it?
Our belief in the practice of stretch is captured by Oliver Wendell Holmes: “A mind stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
To grow, we must stretch. Here is where some of the Prouty Team has stretched recently!

Jeff Knack

My most recent stretching experience was buying a used drum kit a couple months ago. I have always been interested in playing the drums, and I decided to take on the challenge of seeing what I can learn despite a physical disability: mild cerebral palsy which affects my left side. From listening to music and watching professional drummers, I know what many of the drumbeats are supposed to be, but it has always just been frustrating not being able to get my left side to do what I can hear in my head, and what my brain is telling it to do, when I sit down to play. I returned a drum kit to my brother a few months ago which I had in my garage but rarely played in recent years. I realized how much I missed it, and I was disappointed that I didn’t take the opportunity to play more often, so I decided to buy my own kit and find room for it in the house. The goal is not to be able to play in a band. The goal is to just have some fun with a hobby and see if I can improve my muscle memory on my left side.
What I have learned so far is that I need to be patient and give myself some grace, accepting my body for what it is, and find the positives throughout the process. This will be an ongoing stretch and challenge for me.

Julie Marks

A little over a year ago, I came to the Prouty Project having worked in an environment that adhered to a very traditional workplace dynamic. People were assigned to various roles and responsibilities, and overlap between departments was minimal. Since arriving at Prouty, I feel as though I have been offered the opportunity to “stretch” in so many ways.
I have been challenged to be a more active and present listener, seeking to understand what others are sharing in the way of perspectives, opinions, and life experiences. I am learning to be a more engaged participant, realizing that my involvement in a project or activity bears heavily on the success or effectiveness of that endeavor. I have come to enjoy the challenges to my comfort level in group activities, my previously held thoughts on different topics, and my willingness to be vulnerable as a participant.
I have found value and a sense of purpose in the initiatives Prouty takes to contribute to community events. I especially enjoyed working with the team at Eden Prairie High School and our distribution of corn. Such a simple gesture, but quite meaningful in the sense of connectedness I felt in a higher purpose. I appreciate being presented with so many different ideas and ways of doing things. Those no longer feel threatening to me but rather a chance to learn and grow.
My colleagues and our clients who share their thoughts and feelings have provided me with a lifetime of learning. Most importantly, this opportunity to listen and hear others has enabled me to feel that I am a more patient and compassionate person, both in my work life and my personal life.
It may sound trite, but I like the evolving Julie. I have a deep appreciation for the people I work with who provide me with a bevy of things to think about daily. I have come to really adhere to the maxim, “if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.” I have the Prouty Project and the very special dynamic that exists there to thank for that.

Tammy Pearson

It is easy to define stretching as huge experiences that push you to your physical, mental, and emotional edges. The kind of experiences where great explorers, ultra marathoners, and world record breakers thrive.  However, sometimes I think stretching comes in smaller moments. One example for me would be driving.  Many consider it an easy everyday task; however, I’ve never found it that simple.  I have pretty much always lived with driving anxiety. I didn’t even get my license until I was in my twenties.  As I have driven more and more, I have developed many tricks that help get me behind the wheel and on the road. I have planned routes that I very seldom stray from. I know many of the back roadways to avoid major highways from when I was afraid to drive 94 and 35W.  And while in a lot of ways I have adapted and my fear of driving has gotten better – occasionally, I still get thrown for a loop. Usually when driving in Minneapolis.  Recently, I was tasked to drop off materials for a client at a location off of Lake Street, an area I’m not entirely familiar with.  It was pretty much guaranteed I’d take at least one wrong turn.  Knowing this, I took a very long deep breath, loaded the directions on my phone, and started the drive over.
This experience pushed me out of my comfort zone.  It forced me to try something new – something I likely would never have done without that little push.  Did I make a wrong turn?  Definitely. Did I still end up in the right parking lot?  Surprisingly, yes.  While it wasn’t climbing Mount Everest or breaking the record for running 50 miles the fastest, this stretched me.  I became more familiar with Lake Street and the area our clients do their important work. I know the next time I need to make a delivery the anxiety will be less.  I’ll probably still need to take a deep breath, and plan my route, but maybe next time there will be a few less wrong turns.



Get in Touch with The Prouty Team