My new favorite word is "awkward."

It’s awkward to talk to your boss (who has way more experience than you do) about teaching her agile programming.

It’s awkward to call a religious or political leader on their intolerant comments.

It’s awkward to bring up pre-need burial services with an older person. (What a great oxymoron, by the way).

It’s awkward to challenge a co-worker who has a negative attitude, or is constantly surfing myspace.

It’s awkward to ask a new lifeguard recruit at the beach to prove she can actually swim.

It’s awkward to ask the owner of the restaurant to turn off the TV behind the bar.

It’s awkward to create a product that changes the status quo.

It’s awkward to demonstrate your amazing insights when it might threaten those that are looking for stability instead.

The reason we need to be in search of awkward is that awkward is the barrier between us and excellence, between where we are and the remarkable. If it were easy, everyone would have done it already, and it wouldn’t be worth the effort.