Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I went for a hike. The weather was stunning and the scenery equally amazing. There were a few points along the way that the incline of the trail increased. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but made the hike more interesting.

My calves are sore today.

I run about 25 to 30 miles a week and exercise at the gym. I’m in good shape. Still, my claves were stretched in a way they are not normally stretched (on the hike).

This morning as my muscles still protest a bit, I’m reminded how easy it is to get into ruts. We may be really good at what we do. We may be recognized as an expert. Others may seek us out for wisdom. But the question remains: when was the last time we really stretched ourselves? When was the last time I read something challenging (for me) or had a conversation that took me out of my area of expertise?

The best “livers” and “leaders” are those who are willing to take an unfamiliar incline now and then in order to stay sharp, remain a learner, and, o yes, stay humble.

If you haven’t felt that nervous energy that comes from trying something new in a while, maybe it’s time. If you haven’t stretched you mind with something new, do it today. Your “muscles” might protest a bit. But, you’ll be better for it.