Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
“I feel like I pushed you into it?” She says, not unkindly, from across the table. Her hair swiped perfectly behind one ear, her elbows braced on the table. She means business.
“Too late to change anything now,” Our friend steps in, noting my pause, my lack of response. “Besides, you’ll be great.” She nods as she says this, more sure than I feel.
And it was. Too late, that is.
We were hours away from our debut Listen to Your Mother Show, a national series of live readings where stories of motherhood are shared on local stages.
I applied to co-produce our show with three lovely, inspiring women who quickly became the other side of every coin I flipped. Late night texts and Google hangouts and endless email threads are what we shared, a beautiful show of the heart is what we created.
What I never (not ever) imagined, was actually getting on stage.
Public speaking has never been a true love of mine. I didn’t speak on my wedding day or baby showers, all of which were much smaller crowds than the 500 that graced our show.
But as a team we thought it would be nice to show our faces, shine a light on the work we’d done.
And on one hand, I wanted to do just this – shine with my work and my friends.
And on the other hand, the thought of this terrified me, and days before the show I had decided to not do it.
That evening our family gathered around our kitchen counter for snacks – apple slices and almonds, peanut butter sandwiches and milk, a weekday after sports second dinner that I refuse to feel guilty about.
Closing the dishwasher with one hand and passing extra sandwiches with the other, I told my husband, I don’t want to. And with the snap of the dishwasher door, my point was made.
“I think you should,” he started to say just as my oldest, Kayli, was describing how hard a dance move was. How she would do it for just one second, there wasn’t a need to learn any more than that.
“You can do hard things,” I breathed to my girl. A mantra I recently learned and loved.
“So can you.” Jason said to me, his eyes meeting mine.
And it’s true. We can do hard things. They scare us and push us and make our hearts skip a beat – or two – but that stretch just outside of our comfort zones is exactly where our very best lies.
So bookended by my want to show my girl that she — that we — can do hard things and the willingness to see that my husband and my friends believe in me, I’m proud to say that I went on that stage and spoke — for exactly one minute and twenty-two seconds.
People laughed and clapped and when I walked off of that stage, it was toward my friends’ smiles and words, “You were welcoming and brilliant. No surprises.”
We all need friends – and partners — that push us into the light as needed. And we also need to be willing to step into the fall and bask in our own shine.
Have you stepped out of your comfort zone recently or do you plan to do so in the near future?