In July I decided to tryout for a musical. My oldest son has been in musicals and plays since fourth grade. My two middle girls have done junior shows the last two summers. I just got a crazy idea to audition for our local community theater. To do something outside my comfort zone this year. So I auditioned for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
And I got a part… Vice-Principal Douglas Panch. Opening night is September 13. I am excited. I have learned a few things by stepping out of my comfort zone that I would like to share.
Opportunities are there
Sometimes our lives feel so scripted. The routine sets our pace. The days fade together. But there are so many ways to step out of that. I decided to audition for a musical. You can take a class, volunteer, or join a club. There are so many different opportunities in our life to learn something new, develop our skills, ignite a passion for a new hobby. We just have to step out of our comfort zone to get involved.
Getting Feedback is Uncomfortable
As an educator and a coach I know this. I try to keep this idea in mind when I talk with an athlete or student. Instead of giving the feedback, I am receiving it… and it is tough at times. The director knows that I am a rookie, but he is holding me to the same standard as the other actors. I enjoy being held to a high standard, but it means I get a lot of feedback on how I can improve me lines, my dancing, and other aspects of developing my character. Feedback is an important aspect of growing as an actor, as it is for a student, or an athlete. And growth is uncomfortable. It has to be for us to realize our potential.
It is Fun
Even with the stress and struggle, being involved in this musical is fun. I am excited for opening night. I am excited for my family to see me on stage. Being involved is fun.
Being involved in something, working on a skill or learning something new builds your confidence. As a coach, I try to define confidence for my athletes as “trusting the work they put into their practice and preparation.” That holds true for me as I practice my lines and memorize the blocking for different sections. I feel more confident as I am able to deliver my lines off book, as I complete the correct steps during a song. By learning to do something outside my comfort zone, I am learning that I am capable of more than I knew. That confidence filters into other parts of my life.
Deciding to audition for a musical was outside my comfort zone. It has been a great experience. I suggest you take the opportunity to find an opportunity to do the same… you won’t regret it.
The picture is my youngest daughter with an iPad. She will turn two in late December. I recently made folders on the iPad, and with out any instruction, she figured out where her favorite apps were. She enjoys drawing and animal apps, the ones that make the animal noises. And yes, we have set her down in front of the iPad when we need a minute or two to finish dinner. But as soon as I grab a book, or flop down on the floor, she will ignore the iPad to interact with me. But will that always be the case?
A few weeks ago the boys had their first basketball practice. The whole elementary basketball league met at the high school for this practice. There were some high school boys helping, and a few other boys that may have been there to help but were goofing around at an open basket.
Two of the boys were on the basketball team and were dressed in practice gear. The third boy was dressed in jeans and a too-large polo shirt. They were shooting crazy shots, doing alley-oops, just being teenagers. Burning off energy and having a fun time. Honestly, I was watching them with a touch of jealousy as they jumped to see if they could touch the rim. I remembered those younger days when my friends and I would do the same thing. Some milestones of adolescence do not change; other aspects seem to be changing.
The three of them were lost in the moment, simply being friends, simply having fun. Then a cell phone went off. The boy in the jeans immediately grabbed his phone to send a quick text. That changed everything, the simplest yet powerful connection of that moment was gone. One of the boys went off to help a group, the boy in the jeans and the other boy tried to continue to play, but the cell phone was now the most important thing.
Technology had become the focus. At one point the boy in the jeans was throwing an alley-oop passes to the other one. The boy had the ball in his hands when his phone went off again. Ball in one hand, he pulls out the phone to check the text message. Without even looking at his friend, he simply rolls the basketball toward the basket. His attention now fully on the phone. His friend grabbed the ball and walked off. It saddened me.
I love technology, but this life is about people, about relationships. Technology allows us even greater opportunities to connect with friends and family. It gives us a chance to make connects with people we normally would never had been able to before. But at this time when the definition of Friend is “click accept.” That a text message on the phone has to be answered right now, no matter what is happening. We need to make the focus on the connection to people, not on the means of making the connection.