Like No One’s Watching

May 2, 2015 by

“Great things rarely come from comfort zones.”

– Unknown

 

          “Maria, you’re closing,” one of my new coworkers said to me late Wednesday night.

          “I’m not a closer!” I protested.

          “You’re closing!” he repeated.

          Oh, I closed – with Baby One More Time. He, another coworker, and I filled in for Britney.

 

***

 

          I have this thing about performing: I don’t like it. I can date my distaste for it back to Grade 3, when drama was first introduced as a subject in school. Actually, I can date it back to as long as I can remember. As a kid, I never liked playing house or Barbie or anything that involved pretend. Pretend just made me uncomfortable. To this day, it makes me uncomfortable. It’s funny, because I’m shamelessly outgoing, but put me in a situation labeled “role play” or any scenario that I feel like I have to be “on,” and I’m nervous. The same goes for dancing and singing in front of people. I can, but not the way I can move or jam when I’m on my own.

          But, as you know, I also have this thing about fear, which is perfectly transferrable to nervousness: fuck it. Do what you would do if you weren’t afraid/apprehensive/whatever feeling is stopping you. So, when I got the invite to my first company pub night with my new coworkers, which would involve karaoke, I knew I was going to have to force myself to sing, precisely because I knew it would make me uncomfortable.

          “I wish I could karaoke the way I can rock out when I’m alone in my car,” I said to one of my coworkers on the walk to the pub from the office after work on Wednesday night.

          “Why don’t you?” she asked.

          Yeah, why don’t I? I questioned myself in my head, knowing exactly where this self-interrogation was going: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? I very well knew my answer. Now, not only would I have to force myself to sing, I would have to force myself to sing like no one’s watching.

          That, friends, is exactly what I did. My coworkers had to nudge me at first, but the more I went up (yes, I went up more than once!), the more comfortable I got. By the end of the night, I was belting lyrics into the mic like I would jam into my steering wheel. (See the video clip of Wednesday night’s rendition of Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls below, and note that I was 100 percent sober.) As I expected I would, I had a blast singing for an audience. Despite initial nerves, I’ve had enough experience pushing myself outside of my comfort zone over the past two years to know that doing so yields great things. It also instills great confidence, as what was once uncomfortable becomes comfortably doable. It makes you feel unstoppable, because the more you show yourself what you’re capable of, the more capable of anything you feel.

Happiness Tip: Reside outside of your comfort zone.

 

 
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