17 November 2015

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

I don't like having my picture taken. If you went solely by my family members' photo albums, you'd probably not even know I existed. Until recently, I hid from the camera. I often think I look okay in the mirror, but photos tell the truth--a truth I would prefer to ignore.
But since I've become an author who needs to promote, I've had to get my photo out there. So I've had some pictures taken (like the one above). And I've become more comfortable with having my picture out there, even those taken by other people who aren't trying to showcase me in the best possible light. (Perhaps now that I'm in my forties, I've achieved the mindset of just not caring anymore. I see photos of me. Sometimes I cringe. Sometimes I untag myself on Facebook. And then I try to let things go.)

Me at age 23 in a
photo I don't hate.
It was with this "Frozen" mindset that I approached an opportunity last summer. I was invited to interview to be a narrator of a docudrama on the TV One Network. The show is called "For Her Man." It runs every Monday night at ten p.m. (and again two hours later at midnight, and again two hours later at 2 a.m. for people with insomnia). Each episode is about a woman who has ruined her life for her man. The company that produces the show was looking for local authors who would narrate portions of the show, letting viewers understand what happened to the woman in question. I was invited to be one of the narrators because of my background writing crime stories.

Behind the scenes
at the taping

The idea at first sounded fun. Being on TV--it's the kind of thing you dream of as a kid. And then reality set it. I would be on TV. People would see me. It's like having your picture taken times a thousand. I would be so out of my comfort zone, I wouldn't be able to see the zone anymore. So I nearly let the opportunity pass me by. But thanks to the encouragement of my friend Sherry Harris, I decided to leave my comfort zone behind. I interviewed, was accepted, and the rest is history.

The taping was fun,as expected. The producer and her assistant were nice and funny and patient. The cameraman and the sound man were cool. The show even did my makeup as if I were a real star. Next comes the cringing part, watching the show. I hope I don't talk too quickly. I hope I look okay. And I hope I sound intelligent.

Free food for the stars
My episode airs tonight (well, tonight as I type this blog). Monday, November 16th, at 10 p.m Eastern Time. As I mentioned above, it's also running at 12 and 2 a.m. on Tuesday the 17th, so if you're an early reader of today's (Tuesday's) blog, maybe you can catch it. Not sure if you get the TV One Network? Chances are you do. Look for it in your channel options. It's on DirecTV (channel 328) and Fios and Comcast and others.

And in case you  miss the show, here's a link to the promo for it, so you can get a taste of me, way, way out of my comfort zone.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone? What did you do and what finally pushed you to do it? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


  1. Good for you!!!! I stepped so far out of my comfort zone this summer I got bleeding ulcers over it, but you seem to have stepped out with APLOMB! I admire that so much!! It inspires me to see people do something like you've done. And that's great, because it gives me courage. I'm sure it does the same for others. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. How nice you've made your TV debut!

  3. You look like a pro, Barb! Great job, and congrats on trying it in the first place.

  4. You did a great job! Appearing solo in front of groups is hard for me. I always like to have a sidekick and you've been mine several times!

  5. Good job, Barb! You look and sound great.

  6. Well! How cool is that! Congratulations, it looks like you handled that with panache.

  7. Anonymous, thank you! I'm glad to give you courage. And I hope you were kidding about the bleeding ulcers. We hope our readers here at SleuthSayers are happy and healthy.

    And thanks, Janice, David, John, and Leigh. Now that I've seen the show, I'm afraid I didn't enunciate as clearly as I should have. (Is that how I talk? It must be. Uh oh.) But I appreciate the encouragement.

    And my dear friend Sherry, thank you for pushing me to do this. It was good for me. And I will be happy to keep pushing you when need be and helping out when I can. Thought it's hard to believe someone so personable has a hard time speaking to groups.

  8. Big congrats, Barb! Wow - that is truly a fabulous credit.
    ON leaving the comfort zone:
    I did radio recently on Sirius XM for an hour. I'd done television before (not for that long) but radio was a little scary, I found. Nothing to look at. No script - it's abstract. You have to pay such attention to what is said. I came away with huge respect for radio personalities.

  9. Thanks, Melodie.

    Your take on radio is interesting. I've done radio before. Some short things and one hour-long interview. I didn't mind it because I was home in my comfort zone, chatting about things I knew, without worrying that anyone could see me if I twirled in my chair or scanned an incoming email subject line. TV was different: You're on every moment, every part of you. And there was no script. I was given information about the woman being profiled and I had to read and learn it so I could answer questions from the producer. Granted, if I forgot something, they would pause the tape and tell me the answer, but I wanted to make a good impression, so I studied a lot so I'd remember the details. Radio interviewers are probably similar. They have to be on their game to ask questions--and if they're good, on-point follow-up questions--about something they don't know much about personally. It's one thing to talk about yourself. Those are things you know. But to talk about someone else. That's information you have to learn.

  10. Congrats on your tv debut, Barb! You sure don't seem like you're out of your comfort zone and that's the key, isn't it? Being a new author, I've just started the discomfort trek. I hope practice makes perfect...or at least less nervous. Thank you for the informative post!

  11. Congratulations! You were just great!

  12. Good friend to help you over the fear to enjoy the wonderful opportunity. You both rock!

  13. Thanks, Lida, Eve, and Mary for stopping by. And Lida, I think practice does make perfect. The more you know of what to expect, I think, the more assured you'll feel.

  14. Oh, Good for you! I HATE having my picture taken because I am terribly unphotgenic! And EVERYTHING is outside of my comfort zone.People who meet me now laugh when I say I was shy, (AM shy).They have no idea the struggle.
    I am proud of you!

  15. Good for you, Barb! Congratulations!

  16. Thanks, Tonette, Josh, and Jeff. I appreciate the support. :)


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