I’m currently doing a three day speaking gig, which means I’m in a hotel. Yesterday, after teaching, I stopped in the lobby of the hotel and asked where the exercise room was. “We don’t have one,” came the reply. “But,” with a hopeful tone, “you can go to the gym across the street and workout there …pause…for eight dollars.”

I was not in the mood to shell out eight bucks for my normal torture, which costs me a monthly fee at LA Fitness. So, I decided to brave the pavement and run. My legs hate it when I make this decision. I can do it from an aerobic standpoint, but my legs protest within fifteen minutes. But, alas, I did it.

As soon as the run was over, as I was slowing down and coming to a stop, I felt a set of muscles in my upper front leg that I didn’t even know I had. Now mind you, I exercise four or five times a week on an eliptical. Even with that though, the elliptical doesn’t hit this particular set of muscles. As I walked back of the stairs to my room, that set of muscles, once again, introduced themselves to me (in a loud way).

I got thinking about development–whether that be development of a better life or leadership skils, or whatever. And here’s the deal, if you want to develop anything, you’re going to need to exercise and practice skills that make you better. It could be meditation for your soul, or communication skills for your workpalce team, or reading and reflection for your mind. Whatever it is you want to develop, you will need to exercise skills that make you better.

Here’s the deal though…

At some point, if you don’t vary your practice, your exercise regimen, you won’t develop entire sets of muscles attached to that area of development. For example, if you’re trying to increase your curiosity and zest for learning, but you only read books that have immediate interest, you will miss out on entire muscles sets that, if you developed, would make you more intelligent and skilled at using knowledge and wisdom in everyday life.

So…if you like to read self help books (kind of like I enjoy the elliptical), then you should vary your reading. Read a book on economics or philosophy. Your “mind muscle” might protest (like my legs did), but in the end you will be more developed.

Or, if you like to practice good communication by using as few words as possible and not over-talking, you may need to practice saying a more.–letting people in to more of your thoughts and sharing more of your brilliance. On the other hand, if you talk a lot…um… shut up. See what that might do for you.


The point: Whatever you developing through exercise won’t be as developed as possible unless you vary your routine and find muscle groups you didn’t even know you had.