Seeking Discomfort

I felt sick to my stomach. I’d been thinking about it throughout the weekend and now I had an hour to go. I was about as ready as I could be, with my head full of questions about what to expect and how it would go. I thought about backing out, they’d understand.

Then I reminded myself, “You want this.” And I remembered a time I did back out a few years ago. Not this time. I chose to accept the discomfort.

An hour later, there I was. I pulled up to the Liberty Lake Theater and went inside. I still had no idea what to expect. A gentleman was singing the end of his piece and my escort guided me to a seat in the audience. He finished and we clapped.

“Who’s next?” I was fairly certain it was me and I made a noise of sorts. They called me up. The woman at the piano asked me if I had the music on my iPhone. I let her know I planned to sing a cappella.

I stood on the stage looking down at the table in front of me. The director sat in the middle, with her associate on one side. A gentleman on the other side stood up and took my picture.

Reality sank in. This was only my second audition (the first being with a friend in their home for an Easter drama) and the talking points I’d prepared giving background and explaining why I was doing this lost their relevance.

“You want me to go?” I asked. The director nodded. “What are you going to sing?”

“Celine Dion’s, My Heart Will Go On.” She nodded again and motioned for me to start.

I stalled for a few more seconds. I had mentally prepared for a cold open, I just thought I’d have a chance to talk first.

A few weeks earlier, I’d noticed the theater while out driving. I stopped in, curious. I looked at their website and noticed they had auditions for Into the Woods coming up soon. I remember looking at the audition form. The description said all were welcome. I’ve had an interest in acting for awhile. I had concluded that theater was probably the place to start and this seemed like a great opportunity. Why not? I filled out the form and added the auditions and the rehearsals and performances to my calendar.

I’ve learned that growth happens through discomfort, through investing time outside of my comfort zones. I’ve seen that proven over and over in my life. I’ve anchored that belief through my daily cold showers practice and I’ve learned to embrace the discomfort through practicing Positive Intelligence.

I still felt the nervousness, though, the butterflies that come from stepping into the discomfort of the unknown.

And I chose to do it again.

My inspiration for singing My Heart Will Go On was a video on TikTok my wife had sent my way. I don’t sound like that. I gave it my best, though. I decided that I would demonstrate my willingness to do hard things, to take a risk, and to be uncomfortable.

I finished, they thanked me, and a few minutes later I was back in my car heading home.

I was at peace. Inspired by my recent readings of Seth Godin’s The Practice, I reminded myself of my commitment to the process and not the outcome. I had done my best and I was OK with whatever happened next.

An hour later, they called me back and asked if I’d come in to sing for a specific part later in the week. I said yes and am heading over in a few hours.

I’m excited about this specific opportunity and will give it my best. More, though, I’m encouraged in my commitment to continue to seek discomfort, to stretch outside of what I know, and to commit to the process of doing so, for the sake of personal growth, regardless of the outcome.