Lately in my Japanese jujitsu class, Shihan Torey has been implementing new and more “challenging” warm ups. While I see myself as something of an avid fitness practitioner, these new warm ups are tough. I don’t want to tell Shihan that as painful as they are and given their difficulty I actually like them. Am I able to perform all of them well? No but that’s the best part for me. Imagine that three or four days of the week you go to a class or an activity where you know that despite the days’ difficulties (whether personal or professional), you knowingly face an obstacle. The question I ask myself is how can we get better if we don’t challenge or “stretch” ourselves as my speaking mentor Les Brown likes to say.

It’s so easy for us to constantly do so the same things over and over and become comfortable. But the more I look at my life, I realize that I have only improved or evolved because of my efforts to venture into new territories and endeavors. As Osborn said “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” For me, I have been at times pushed, prodded and cajoled into doing something different and new. I don’t like these tactics for getting me to do new things but I am grateful that someone cared enough to push me to do something new. As a result, I have grown and attained new skills, knowledge and passions. More importantly, it seems that I have also made new friends and grown my circles of influences.

So I ask you, “What have you done lately to stretch yourself?”