Out Of The Comfort Zone

I’ve been out of my comfort zone of late – way out of my comfort zone. You haven’t heard a peep out of me in over a month, maybe more.  I’ve been tempting the fates, getting and flying without a net. Scary but invigorating.

At the end of last year, I realized that no matter how much in love with my speech topics I might be, there was that remote possibility that I was not reaching a large enough audience as evidenced by the fact that no one was calling upon me for speaking engagements and that not many people seemed interested enough to book me.  My speech coach always told me that my speaking journey would take from 3 to 5  years to reveal itself.  Entering my third year in January, his assessment was proving correct.

I tell you this story because it is illustrative of so many other journeys we embark upon in life – the transitional journeys.  The journeys that take get you out of the comfort zone. As recently as yesterday when my co-life coach and I were giving our second in a series of Life Coaching classes at UCLA in the Osher/Adult Extension program when one participant after another revealed their transitional moments, I realized that everyone has the same issue. Life Coaching and my own mini life coaching are reminders that living life is a process of change and adaptation, a process of mustering up courage and faith, hope and tenacity.  Chinsup, old man, stiff upper lip and all that, theBritish say.

What about the lows, the doubts, the moments of despair when nothing seems to go right?

A year ago, my son, the know-it-all son, that is, told me I needed to brand myself and hire a professional for marketing direction.  I wasn’t ready at that time and told him so. He turned up his nose. “Mom, you never listen.”  That child-parenting crap again.

My speech journey had to coalesce in the process in order for me to find the right direction. The good news was that I wasn’t in a hurry.  Thank God, I’m 69,  and I don’t have to climb the highest peak or be the best, the first, the most awesome in life.  But what I have to do is fulfill my destiny in the best way possible, keep giving back and staying the course of gratitude and I’m good to exit life with a fabulous report card.

I found my second most important guru, my guidance counselor and brander/marketeer extraordinaire, Lisa Cafiero, because along the road we move on, move forward in order to help meet our own personal expectations of what must be done.  And for the entire month of January, I found myself in resistance mode with Lisa.  Boy!  Damn! Was I resistant.  During one telephone conversation I realized I didn’t understand anything she was telling me about my new speech topics.  How in the bloody world did they relate to the things I knew and spoke about before?

“Well, don’t you see, Joan, this is what you’re really talking about.  You’re talking about stretching the mind and that’s what you do, that’s what you talk about, that’s why all this material has direction and gravitas.”

Who knew?  Who knew I was working with changing mindsets, transforming thought processes and energizing new strategies.  As a lifelong learner, I’ve always been about exploding with the potential of living in the now and forging new paradigms.  Really?

Along with this new potential to reach larger audiences, I’ve been exploring learning stand up comedy.  Now that’s a switch up, right?  What I discovered in my six week course and my final presentation in a comedy club is that I feel comfortable and bold about my authentic self and it needs no explanation. And I’m thankful that who I am comes out funny.  It was a 6 week mind-bender that made me crazy, put fear in my body and mind, and shook me up and spit me out until that final night with a packed house, I rocked.  69 and rocking and that was good enough for me.  Until the next course.

I suspect that I won’t be back in the old comfort zone any time soon.  I think that life is holding the door open for me for more and even better explorations and adventures.  I always say there is no such thing as retirement.  We’re all just living life on the continuum of bliss.




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