William Liao

January 13, 2022

leaning into a stretch

A trainer I used to work with would often tell me when I was stretching to “take a deep breath and lean into to the stretch.” 

If you’ve ever made a point to stretch before, you might imagine that this command is somewhat counterintuitive — namely, because leaning into a stretch is, at least at first, very uncomfortable. 

The rationale, however, is very straightforward: the longer you’re able to lean into a stretch, the more mobility you have. And more mobility tends to translate into a wide array of benefits for your body and overall wellbeing. 

In many ways, the idea of leaning into a stretch is analogous to leaning into a challenge, which is also uncomfortable at first but, in many cases, ultimately beneficial for you. 

Case and point: when I first started working, I was tasked with delivering a project that I thought was impossible.

In fact, I said as much to the requesting manager: “This is impossible.”

To which, he calmly and confidently responded: “not it isn’t; you can figure it out.”

Lo and behold, after taking his words to heart, leaning into the challenge in front of me, foraging for information, experimenting and failing, and rage quitting a few times, I did end up figuring out how to accomplish what he asked for. And, much to my satisfaction, every subsequent request of a similar nature suddenly became a cakewalk. 

I was a more capable and wiser person because of this experience. 

Moral of the story? 

Though your reflex might be to veer towards easier things, try leaning into whatever interesting challenges are in front of you.

Discomfort, frustration, trial, and failure are all par for the course. From these experiences, though, is the opportunity to emerge a better and more competent version of yourself.