When metal corrodes, it’s obvious. The tiny speckles of brownish-orange emerge, growing larger over time, and eventually prohibiting any movement.

When habits or skills erode, the effect is the same, but the warning signs aren’t nearly as visible.

As I’m learning, this invisible rust can be equally as hard to remove.

In mid-July, I committed to publishing one meaningful article every Tuesday. And each week since has been a battle.

The distractions come first.

There’s never any shortage of team members to talk to, networks to check in on, or reports to read.

The discomfort comes next.

My office is either too cold or too warm. I’m hungry or thirsty. Something is sore from my last workout.

Then the fear sets in.

What if I write something pointless or boring? What if people realize that I’m really struggling?

And eventually it subsides.

I browse back through emails from readers, sharing that my stories somehow helped their lives, or helped them find the words for something they were experiencing as well. I even read the negative ones, reminding myself that the worst case scenario isn’t much of anything.

I convince myself to just stay in my chair and start to put words on a page. I tell myself that ugly is acceptable, for now. Slowly, thirty words appear. Then a few more.

I’m still rusty. This process is much harder than it used to be. But I’ve traveled this road before, and I know the journey is worth it.

It’s also a great reminder that struggle is a component of growth. Without any resistance, there can be no strength.

I have lots of mentors, most of whom probably have no idea how much I’m learning from them. Two, in particular, influenced this article and helped me get started again: