Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Try Something Ambitious by Andy Scheer

Outside our comfort zone, we may find success.

This past weekend, I tried something new.

I felt uncertain. While I knew the theory, I had to put those skills into practice. At first, things didn’t flow smoothly. I had to think about every move. But with time, I grew more confident. I began to enjoy the ride.

And what I ride it was! My father-in-law had invited me to drive his 1930 Ford Model A on his club’s fall color tour ... up twisting mountain roads—some unpaved. Not quite in my comfort zone.

The past few years I’ve driven the car extensively ... including co-driving a cross-country trip from Colorado to Michigan. But driving across Kansas doesn’t call for continual double-clutching and downshifting to negotiate steep hairpin turns. Much of the time my knuckles were white.

By the end of the 60-mile trip, my uphill downshifting still wasn’t perfect, but I was doing better. Given another opportunity, I’ll gladly say yes.

I’ll think about my Model A mountain adventure this week as I begin a 14-hour solo drive to a conference. My goal of speaking to the group about fiction editing means another journey across the fringe of my comfort zone.

But I’ll be building on what I’ve done before. Like when I launched my website. I’d never been my own webmaster. But I combined what I already knew with some easily available instruction and gave it a shot. My site’s still not perfect, but it’s way better than nothing. And there’s a satisfaction in looking back and saying yes, I can do that.


Diana Flegal said...

Trying something new is also supposed to help our minds stay sharp. A few writer friends of mine are trying their hand at writing flash fiction to help hone their skills. They believe it is helping them write tighter.

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Learning, or at least attempting, new tricks may be one way to keep from becoming an old dog.

Joe Allison said...

This must've been the week for living outside the comfort zone, Andy. I went to an alumni reunion at the seminary where I graduated 36 years ago, resolved to renew some old acquaintances and make some new ones. Turned out that I was the oldest alum there and I recognized no one (not even the professors in attendance), so it was an evening full of new introductions.

At dinner, the alum to my left had just retired as rector of a local Episcopal church. This African-American woman had some delightful perspectives on pastoral ministry and retirement. ("Just say no," she advised.) To my right was a woman who pastors a non-denominational church whose primary mission is to feed the hungry of their community. She's a bi-vocational minister who supports herself by playing in an Irish folk band.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!