You know how some people at the gym do the exact same workout every day? Have you noticed that these people never seem to make any progress with their fitness level? That’s because they are using the same muscle groups in the same way and these muscles become accustomed to the workout and after a while, they are no longer challenged.

Well, the same goes for our brains. If we continue to do the same thing day after day without challenging our brain, we won’t learn anything new or expand our skill set. In short, we will not reach our full potential in our personal or professional lives. What a waste!

 At first it may be painful and perhaps scary to try something new.  We are so comfortable knowing our current limitations that the idea of pushing ourselves forward is daunting. But just like the fitness metaphor, the benefit of cross-training our brains to learn new skills can only help us in the long run.

I wrote last week about Susan Bulkeley Butler, first female partner at Accenture. She chose to cross train her brain every three years by forcing herself to change positions within the company to expand her skill set and build her resume. The result was that she reached her goal of becoming a partner in the firm.

In our current work environment, there may not be a clear path to the top, but one sure way to move your career forward is to challenge yourself and seek opportunities to increase your skills and knowledge base.

What have you done lately to expand your skill set or stretch your comfort zone?