try something new. something that’s a stretch. this week i’m at my parents’ house. my dad got in a bike wreck and is nursing a pelvis injury. so, i’ve traded the office and spreadsheets to be an assistant care taker this week. nothing major, just helping him up and down steps, into the car, up from a chair, etc. it’s a change of pace from my normal workday sitting at a desk looking over reports and developing strategy for new markets. my task this week is to lift. lift my dad to his feet, from the car, up the steps. it’s to help. it’s to aid. it’s a new thing for the day to day, but it’s good. it provides me a lot of free time. occasionally i stall out when i have too much free time. maybe it’s the reality of too many options ahead of me. anyway, i can be incredibly unproductive on occasion. so, today, while at my parents’ place helping my dad i’m making a point to read, write and connect with others. it’s a day that i want to do everything but those three things. so, it’s a stretch. it’s good. it’s uncomfortable. that’s true for me. occasionally, being productive is uncomfortable for me. so, today i stretch. i lean in. i do something with my day, with my life.
trying something new sets you on edge. it’s uncomfortable. not necessarily bad, but uncomfortable. you can’t rely on the same ol’ thing. it requires agility. not unlike trying a new exercise. your mind may bend or even get a bit sore in the process, but you may see something in a new light. regardless, you’ll learn something about yourself. it’s a matter of something new. do you remember what’s it’s like to learn something new? i watch my 5 year old niece write a letter. her letters aren’t straight. it takes her time to craft her words. she holds her pencil a bit strangely. it looks sluggish and uncomfortable. why? it’s new to her. she’s only learning. she’s discovering not only the letters of the alphabet, but how they work together to form words. atop of that she’s discovering her body’s ability to create those letters on a page, her mind’s ability to sound them out silently as she sees them on a page. the kid’s smart. she’s 5 and she reads at a 4th grade level, but she still writes like a 5 year old.
newness. it’s needed. needed in my life, needed in yours. sometimes that is a completely new task, opportunity, risk, role or adventure. sometimes it’s more subtle. for instance, today is a miserable day outside. 40 something degrees, misty/rainy, windy and bland. i don’t want to go outside to run. i have no motivation. but…there’s a possibility i have something new to experience. i can learn something new about myself in overcoming lack of motivation. i can learn something new about my body in how it reacts to adverse weather. i can learn something new about the high that comes after doing something difficult.
there’s the big scary stuff. skydiving. that’s one. hop into a rickety old prop plane with an open door to the atmosphere, climb 10,000ft in the air, strap yourself to a quirky old adrenaline junkie, waddle to the door and tumble to oblivion. it’s a wild ridge, and worth doing to say it’s been done. it was fun. it was new. check! but that stuff isn’t hard for me. new for me is taking a step into the unknown of my career. figuring out if i have what it takes to create and succeed. failing and getting back up. learning, implementing and succeeding. it’s difficult, uncertain, unnerving. sometimes it keeps me up at night out of hope and joy. other times it keeps me up out of fear and doubt. how am i supposed to know if it’s right? it’s definitely uncomfortable. maybe that’s it.
maybe the path of least resistance leads to average. leads to mediocre. restlessness comes out of boredom, but adventure comes out of movement. that movement can be internal or external. but it involves a world of getting uncomfortable by trying new things. by imagining, implementing, delivering and failing. by writing and publishing, by speaking and being heard. by creating and selling. my leaning and and leading well.
it will be uncomfortable. maybe that’s what we need. maybe that’s what i need.