I've been telling people to get out of their comfort zones and try new things for over a year now. I've also been practicing what I've been preaching. Over the course of the last year, I've completed a Super Spartan, zip-lined, swam with sharks and stingrays, completed a 25k, and joined the PTL at my daughter's school. All of which were scary in one way or another, especially the PTL. ;)
None of those things were anywhere near as terrifying as what I did over the weekend: Singing. In public. Like, to a crowd of people.
I actually did sing in public about 4 years ago. It was one song with my husband at a church function. It was a small audience at my church. Though I was nervous then too, I was mostly confident that no one in the church was going to be mean or boo me. Mostly...
So, I've spent the last week doing something that I really love. Singing at home with my husband. Here's the deal. My sister owns a little neighborhood bar, it's actually been in our family for 27 years now since my parents owned it before her. This month marked the 27th anniversary so she wanted to have a customer appreciation celebration. Lots of planning went in to this by both of my sisters and the employees. There was a bags tournament scheduled, a dart tournament, prize giveaways, food, and some live music.
My husband, Fred, was asked to provide the live music a week before the event. Just an acoustic set about an hour long. Fred played guitar in a band when we first met but hasn't done that for years. He plays a song or two on occasion but nothing like what they were asking. So, he said he would do it but what he meant was that WE would do it. I let my sisters know. Their response was, "You can sing? Though my response was, "Yes." it was more of an "I hope so."
Getting up in front of people and singing for the first time was a terribly scary thought for me. I love to sing but that doesn't make me good at it. I've watched American Idol, some of those people love to sing too and, well, yikes. I had to trust that Fred was not lying to me about the way I sounded or blinded (deafened?) by his love for me. He's the only person I've ever felt really comfortable singing around.
So we practiced a handful of songs all week. Fred playing his guitar and both of us singing. With one week to throw this together we decided to stick with some 'safe' songs that we have done before just around the house. We did throw in a couple new ones that we thought would also be fun.
Our kids watched us practice all week. They got into it too and had some jam sessions with us. You can watch a small sample of that here:
We got to my sister's bar and set up. I was so nervous. My hands were shaking a little and my stomach was re-enacting Mary Lou Retton's floor routine. But I did it. No one booed or threw tomatoes. There was no loud gong sound. (Yes, I just referenced The Gong Show there. It's okay if you didn't get it.) Some people even clapped and whistled after the first song. Okay, it was my Mom and sisters. But still.
We played through 10 songs. Then, our wonderful friend, Matt, who is a runner as well as a musician, took my place and he and Fred played. I was relieved and so grateful to be done.
Lots of people came up to me saying that they had no idea I could sing, told me I sounded great. My sisters both told me they were so nervous for me because they had no idea if I could sing or not. My sister, Dannette, said that she was actually in the bathroom when we started and that she knew it was me singing but she couldn't believe that I could actually sing like that having never heard me. So, yes, my sisters who I am very close to and very comfortable with never even knew I could sing. That's how petrified I am of singing in front of people. In fact, only a couple of my friends knew I was doing this and I kind of waited to tell them until last minute so that no one else would show up.
I don't think anyone was blown away but I think I did okay for my first time. When it was all said and done I was really glad that I did it. It may even happen again sometime.
It took 33 years for me to decide to become a runner. It's taken me 37 years to make myself get way out of my comfort zone and sing in public.
Don't let fear keep you from doing something you enjoy or think you might enjoy. Keep getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things.
Peace, Love, Happiness!