A phone conversation last fall led to a huge, unexpected breakthrough for me.
It came from the emcee of a large event at which I was speaking.
She called calling to get information about me for her introduction and a little humorous post keynote banter.
Towards the end of our conversation she asked, “Skip, what is your secret talent?”
I let out a nervous laugh and replied, “I have no secret talent, my older brother got all the talent in my family.”
I proceeded to tell about how my infatuation with rock and roll superstar Bruce Springsteen led me to start guitar lessons six years ago.
To which she suggested, “so you can play and sing a song for us.”
“No, I couldn’t do that, it would cause mass evacuation of the venue,” I said.
“You could just strum a few chords, couldn’t you?”
I agreed to that.
Deep down I knew strumming a few chords wasn’t going to be enough.
I hung up the phone thinking, “what did I just get myself into?”
Immediately, I sent a text that read, “HELP!” to my guitar instructor, with whom I had not had a lesson in more than 15 months.
For the next six weeks we rehearsed the song closest to being ready for “prime time.”
Six weeks later, in front of an audience of 800, I delivered a 50-minute keynote address.
Despite the audience size I was completely comfortable doing that.
Not so much with the guitar and singing.
But, there I was, with a guitar wrapped around my neck telling the story about how I had come to put myself in this precarious position and being totally uncomfortable in that moment.
It was the most intense “comfort zone busting” experience I’ve had in a very, very long time.
When it was all over, I was energized and excited having done something in front of 800 people my wife thought I was crazy to do. (to view my performance, go here)
I felt this way despite nerves taking me seriously off key to open the song. Plus, losing my place glancing down at the lyrics in the monitor I didn’t need.
I am now working on refining that song and incorporating four others to prepare for performing at an open mic night somewhere locally.
Our comfort zones hold us back in ways we don’t even realize.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda is the lament of losers. It’s all about our Level 1 Leadership Communication (aka “self-communication).
What comfort zone do you need to bust through in 2015?
What comfort zones are you committed to busting through in 2015?
Leave a comment and commitment below.
’til next time, Communicate with Power!