Friday, January 27, 2012

The Comfort Zone: Express Train to Nowhere

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anaïs Nin 
Once I was riding on a train with a rather rowdy collection of passengers. It was the weekend, and throughout the car, there were small groups of people involved in bachelor parties, hen weekends, bowling tournaments, and who knows what else. My seat was quite near the door where one such group of young men was cleverly equipped with a beer cooler and a small boombox, listening to German “Schlager” at a fairly reasonable volume. Still, it was mildly annoying. At the next stop, a group of people sitting more toward the center got off and left a whole section of seats empty. I thought now might be a chance for me to have a more comfortable seat, as I’d been sharing leg room with the woman across from me, not to mention that it was a bit chilly sitting near the door.
But then it occurred to me that we weren’t yet past Cologne, Germany’s party central, and the chances of me sharing my section of seats with yet another, possibly even rowdier group of hens, stags, bowlers or what have you, was not exactly slim. So I remained seated in my current state of mild discomfort. I don’t remember what sort of people ended up occupying the seats where I could have sat. Pity, because then this story would either have a happy ending, or a tragic turn for the worse. But then, I wouldn’t be able to illustrate my point to you today. The thing is, you never know.
For the past little while, I’ve been experiencing ‘mild discomfort’ with a particular business associate. Through no fault of my or his own, our ways have parted (to keep the train analogy alive); we are not on the same journey. Just this past week, he offered me a role that could be very useful for my résumé, but I turned him down. He couldn’t quite understand why I would pass up such an opportunity, and it was hard for me to tell him why without hurting his feelings.
  In his environment, I receive the most applause (quite often because I’m the most experienced singer there); I have artistic freedom (due to lack of direction); I know exactly how the rehearsal process will be (because it hasn’t changed in 10 years). This is definitely my ‘Comfort Zone.’ I will ever be indebted to the trust instilled in me since I first started  working with this company.
All the same, while I’ve been riding first class in his regional train, so to speak, I’ve also been making short trips in high-speed locomotives, experiencing first hand how swiftly opportunities pass by. I’ve decided, I’m more likely to catch the Express to stardom and/or success (which by my definition simply means working in a manner suited to my abilities) on a different line. So, instead of remaining in my mildly uncomfortable seat, which has obviously gotten me nowhere lately, I’m going to risk finding a better opportunity at some other destination, even if that means perhaps never getting there.
And I’m pretty comfortable with that.

(special thanks to David Dickerson for trying to remind me how English works. Check out his amusing YouTube channel - greetingcardboy - to make your day slightly more pleasant)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I should follow suit and do the same. Thanks for the timely post! Ursula