When One’s Comfort Zone is Too Comfortable

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I consider myself a fairly courageous person—not much freaks me out. That was, until lately, when I was asked to step in as musical director for a show that I had absolutely little or no connection to—the music of Tina Turner and Janis Joplin. The scheduled m.d. had recently and tragically past away, and seemingly there was no one to replace him, meaning that the show would have to be cancelled should I not say yes to the offer. To make a long story short, I was far too busy to take on one more project—at least, that’s what I told myself. And, I hadn’t musically directed anything in years, let alone kept up my pianistic and chart arranging skills. Clearly, at least in my head, I was the last person who should take over the show. Yet, clearly in my heart, I knew it was the very thing I needed to push myself out of my cushy comfort zone and into the d.m.z.

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With few rehearsals, and none of them with the entire band until days before opening night, the singers and players worked hard to bring about a fine show, despite the immense stress we felt mired in. The first week was nip and tuck, but we held in there, supported one another, and basically just got better with time and getting to really know each other. It was the rehearsal week we needed in spite of the fact that it was in front of a paying audience.

I’ve just completed the second week of a three week run, and I have to admit—things are going swimmingly. Not only is the show a major hit, but I’m actually enjoying going to the theatre every night and playing in the band made up of several seasoned rock and jazz musicians. And, I’m not longer intimidated or feeling shame about my abilities, for as fate would have it, my skills have improved to the point that it’s even difficult for me to tell that I’d taken such a long hiatus between playing gigs.

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We’re not completely out of the woods, however. We have subs next week, as well as full standing room only audiences, but the adventure of putting on a show which, a few days earlier, had seemed like an impossibility propels us forward and with positive expectations. Looking back, I can now see how important it is for me to frequently push myself out of my comfort zone so as not to miss the adventures life offers, scary though they may seem at the time. Plus, I now have a renewed interest in doing something special with my musicianship once again. Who knows where that adventure will take me?

Gwen Overland