Getting Out of the "Comfort Zone"

Liz Chirico

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

That such a buzz phrase, “comfort zone”. It’s thrown around all the time and does anyone really know what it means? According to Webster’s Dictionary, comfort zone is defined as, “a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable”. 

It’s really easy to be defined by what others see as the thing you do well and live in your own comfortable comfort zone bubble. Take me. Growing up, I was always told I could sing. Singing became my comfort zone. When I started auditioning for shows I always thought about myself as a singer first, then maybe an actor and lastly a dancer. If I found myself cast in a show I always told myself it’s because I can sing. I hesitated to try anything that wasn’t vocally-heavy for fear that I would not make the cut, that I would not succeed. 

My recent foray into a dance company brought me so far out of my element, my comfort zone was like a dot to me. Now I had nothing to fall back on; if I didn’t do well dancing at one rehearsal I didn’t have a vocal rehearsal the next day to boost my spirits, remind me that I was chosen for a reason. Instead it was a lot of questioning my worth, wondering if I could do this crazy thing and a whole mess of crying. 

That fear of not succeeding, of not being good is in all of us to some degree. It’s in me though to a large degree. And it sucks. Because that fear holds you back, keeps you in your comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with knowing where your talents lie but if you don’t take risks once in a while, life can be kinda boring. Plus how will you ever find out if you have more talents if you don’t try something new? The fear takes some of the fun out of the process. It makes it harder to see the progress you are making (no matter how small) because you can only see yourself to compared with everyone else instead of looking at how far YOU have come.

I survived my first go-around with the dance company. I definitely wasn’t the best up there but that’s OK. I was up there. I didn’t quit, I didn’t retreat back to my comfort zone. Instead I pushed myself to widen my comfort zone. I am not naïve enough to think that 5 months makes me a dancer. But as I head into fall auditions I know I’m no longer just a singer.