During my break over Christmas and New Year I travelled to Peru and Ecuador in South America. If you haven’t been it’s definitely an experience, such a different way of life over there. The main reason for the trip was to yes, have a break but also to push myself out of my comfort zone and do things that back home I would never dream of doing. I’m happy to say that I’m back after putting on my brave face and did what I intended to do, challenge myself. The meaning of challenge is “a demanding or stimulating situation” I actually think it should a demanding and stimulating situation as you learn and grow from demanding situations and afterwards have a feeling of self achievement. After my trip I realised that I actually rarely “challenge” myself. Although I take risks in my business and personal life I don’t like to feel uncomfortable or have that feeling called fear. While in the Amazon I climbed waterfalls and went whitewater rafting straight through the heart of the jungle, two things that made me feel uncomfortable and filled my body with fear. Today I type having completed both these adventurous activities and have overcome to a certain extent some fears but most of all recognising that you need to challenge yourself to grow. I can easily relate this back to being a dancer who has left their dance studio and/or completed full time. How often do we stay doing the same open classes each week because we know what to expect? We know the teacher, our friends who will be there, what the warm up will entail, how fast the teacher will move with the routine etc. Is taking the same class week in and week out adding to growing you as a dancer or person? Think about how you feel when you walk into a completely new class with a teacher you’ve never had before and the level is advanced…. nervous, unwilling to let go and let down your guard, thoughts about others in the class who might be better than you etc. You start to talk yourself out of doing this class before it’s even happened. My small words of wisdom for you is to CHALLENGE yourself in 2010. Learn and grow everyday by pushing your boundaries, going to new classes with different teachers teaching different styles, go by yourself. While it’s great to have a good time and enjoy yourself with a group of your friends if you want to make it time to feel uncomfortable and nervous. I promise you the feeling after talking on a challenge and completed it is awesome.