Operation: Get out of your comfort zone

Watching the others take to the concert stage to perform, I was so nervous I felt sick to the pit of my stomach. I was coming up with last-minute ideas on how I could get out of it — something, anything, just so I didn’t have to follow through with it. Prior to this the scariest thing I had ever done was jump out of an aircraft. But now, it was this, the scariest thing ever: to sing in front of an audience for the first time.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find a way out of it, other than feigning laryngitis; therefore, I had to go ahead with it. For me, singing in public is terrifying and it is very different than talking to or in front of a large audience because I am pretty sure I am vocally impaired, and every pair of ears in the room is trained on you — listening, judging. So all my life I have point-blank refused to sing in front of anyone it is too far out of my comfort zone. But because I had committed to doing this and I couldn’t let anyone else down, I went through with it and after I finished, the audience started clapping. All I could think was, wow — I should have sung more songs. I was on cloud nine!

It felt amazing to get out of my comfort zone, and now I want to encourage you to find an opportunity to get out of yours. Getting out and about could be really beneficial for you. Considered exploring Europe? Contact FMWR for one of their great trips. Pondered trying something new? Take a photography class at the USO. Want to get healthier? Try a spin class at the fitness center. Getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be an enormous undertaking — it’s just doing something that scares you slightly, or are you anxious about doing. These organizations can help you take those first steps so that it doesn’t seem so daunting,

But let’s say for a minute you have done all these courses and explored all of Europe, what can be next for you? Perhaps you too are shy of singing in the limelight, but have true vocal talent to share with the world. How about Operation Rising Star? It is an Army-run singing competition that has been going for 11 years and has proven to be a great opportunity for active duty service members and Families to compete for stardom, a lot like “American Idol.”

To participate you will need to register in advance at www.wiesbaden.armymwr.com. The Wiesbaden auditions are going to be held Sept. 11, 18 and 25 and I am excited to be serving as one of the judges. From one stage fright-suffering performer to another, you can do it.

Whether or not you are the Army’s next Rising Star, we all have our comfort zones and we have all been outside of them at some point. Get out of it again and take that first step! Outside of your comfort zone is the magic zone.