Excuse Me—Is My Comfort Zone Showing?


Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone.

Try something new.

Dare to embark on a new adventure—a journey to where you’ve never been before.

Like my blogger friend, Kathy (Reinventing the Event Horizon), who sold her home, packed her bags and, together with her partner, Sara, headed to Ecuador for an indefinite stay.

Though getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be such a huge undertaking. Take me. A couple of weeks ago, after returning from my daughter’s graduation, among the voicemails awaiting me at the office was one from Lydia, a woman in charge of education at the California Center for the Performing Arts Museum.

Lydia’s message mentioned a new exhibit they have, now through July 28th, titled, Art Illustrated: Celebrating Comic Art. I had already heard about it and wondered what she could want. So, I returned her call and learned that the museum was hosting a panel discussion on comic art, and how they were in need of a moderator for the panel. As I listened, I assumed she was going to ask me if one of the reporters from my station would be available.

But, that’s not what she asked.

Lydia asked me if I could do it.

Wait. Did she just ask me??

Yes she did, and she didn’t seem to care that I had NEVER moderated a panel before. All Lydia knew was that someone had recommended me.

Wait. Did she just imply that they had a discussion and my name came up as a candidate for moderating a panel on comic art??


The idea of moderating a discussion on a topic I know little about terrified me—and excited me all at once. After all, I grew up reading the Sunday funnies and comic books and still have a weakness for Blondie and Archie and the gang.  Plus, I was a big fan and peruser of Mad Magazine. Though, what Baby Boomer isn’t?

As I tossed the idea  around in my head, I kept thinking how I love my safe and secure comfort zone. It protects me from crazy stuff like going bungee jumping, pole vaulting, scaling tall buildings in a single bound, or engaging an audience for two hours by moderating a conversation on cartoons. Sheesh. What questions would I ask?

But the idea really made me feel exhilarated. So, after a lot of deliberation, and asking our reporter, who actually has a keen knowledge of comics and has covered Comic Con for my station (she declined, as she is very busy preparing for Comic Con, which is next weekend), I said yes!

And, so I opened the door and took a flying leap out of my comfort zone.


I visited the art exhibit at the museum and got a personal tour from Lydia, who assumed I knew what I was doing. We talked and talked and she gave me background info on the exhibit and the expert panelists, who include the following:

Steve Breen, Pulitzer-prize winning Political Cartoonist
Brad Constantine, Video Game Animator for Sony
Greg Evans, Cartoonist and creator of “Luann”
Jeff Keane, Comic Artist of “Family Circus”
Jim Whiting, Magazine and Newspaper Cartoonist

If you ask me, looks like tonight I’m going to be talking with the nobility of the comic industry!

Now, when was the last time you got out of your comfort zone?

39 thoughts on “Excuse Me—Is My Comfort Zone Showing?

  1. I am 100% sure you’ll do a fine job moderating this panel, Monica. I think they chose wisely! And what an interesting turn of events, finding such a charming seat partner on your flight. As I’ve always heard, when God shuts a door, He opens a window, and His timing is never wrong. So I can only assume you both were in the right place at the right time! Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is crucial if we’re to grow — look at my trip to Ireland, ha!

    • Debbie, I’ll be posting the complete results of my attempt at moderating very soon. I’m glad I did it and have no regrets, only the thrill of having achieved something new. Right place, right time–very exciting!

  2. I suspect last night was a whopping success! Did you have a wonderful time? Are you basking in how much fun it was?

    I adore that you are stepping out and pushing yourself. I am trying to do this more and more, though I find it hard sometimes. I use to be far more brave.

    Dates, yeah you. He was supposed to sit next to you both ways!

    • What are the odds that we’d be on the same plane twice? Too funny.
      And yes, I am basking in how well it went. It felt so good, and all the research I did to develop my questions, paid off!

  3. Monica, how fabulous to be moderating such a wonderful panel. Of course you’d be fantastic, you will ask the right questions, your love of comics will see to it. By the way, Archie, Blondie & Calvin and Hobbes are still my favorites. Congratulations my dear.
    I love that you had this random meeting with someone and upon giving him your card he called you. Meant to be. So happy for you. Where ever it leads, I hope you enjoy every date and every moment.

    • Thanks you so much, MM. Last night was the panel and I’m still riding high from how well it went. The audience loved it, the panelists were happy with the results, as was the museum. As for me, I’m still in shock that folks thought I was funny too, and even laughed at my jokes. Wow.

  4. Wow, wow, wow! This is all SO exciting!

    Thanks for the shout-out, my friend. But more than anything, I’m so thrilled for you. So much happening–dating even. The panel discussion sounds fun–and terrifying–would be for me. But I’m sure you’ll be brilliant.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Kathy, you inspire me, and I figure I’df you can do it, well, I can at least try. The comic panel was last night and successful beyond my wildest dreams. I’m so glad I did it!

  5. Wonderful, good for you Monica! I’m very much afraid of height , so one vacation I went zip lining – that was totally out of my comfort zone!

    • Me neither, Jayne. In both cases, I wasn’t looking for a way out of my comfort zone. But then it found me. The trick is to tread lightly and carry a wooden stick. By the way. I love that line of being blasted out of it with dynamite. Here’s hoping it never comes to that.

  6. This is a great lesson for life because we never know where that adventure will take us and who we will encounter along the way. I believe what my friend told me a while ago that there are no coincidences. So this was meant to be….Enjoy….I’m flying standby to NY next week and that is out of my comfort zone as I usually avoid flying at peak season…lol

  7. I like the idea of a fresh approach, and I bet you will do an outstanding job (though yes, that IS an All-Star panel).

    Good luck on the dating thing. Hope it works out, and have fun, whether it turns into long-terms or is just a toe-in-the-water thing.

  8. Congratulations to you! I suspect that the fact you have to do the research will make you a better moderator than someone who “already knows everything”. How exciting to be dating again! Thank you for being an inspiration.

    • Lisa, I did gads of research. After all, I wanted to make sure I had intelligent, thought-provoking questions. I might have to write another post to let everyone know the results. Hopefully, it’ll go well–with a song and a prayer!

  9. New things are exciting, even if they are a little scary. Congrats for pushing yourself to be adventurous. You’ll be a fabulous moderator. Hope to hear more about your new friend soon.

    • Lisa, The panel I’m moderating is tonight! I’m going to see if someone will take photos of it so I can share here.

      The dates are going well. Better than I could have hoped, despite my fears and stresses about re-entering the world of dating. We’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed!

  10. Congratulations! Obviously you are a wonderful speaker as well which shines through in your writing. What an opportunity to meet such talented folks! You are brave as in moderating the panel you had to harness a lot of creative energy…ooo…you’ll have to follow up on that even if it’s a link to another post, review, etc.
    OMG…I would say Mr. Good Date was supposed to sit next to you, and thank goodness you had your cards since you were going to daughter’s graduation, not on business. Thank you for sharing. Fun post as all your posts are. You are a gifted and very special lady.
    Out of my comfort zone? Well, most recently it was conducting an online class including webinars while on the road. Whew…everything went off well with no tech glitches.

    • Thank you, Georgette! Your kind words made my day. My panel is less than two hours away and I can use all the support I can get. I’ve always felt I’m a better writer than I am a speaker, so thanks for the vote of confidence!

      And good for you. How wonderful that your online course went off without a glitch!

  11. Excellent Monica, always good to get out of the comfort zone from time to time.

    I am sure you will love moderating the panel. A great experience, I have ritual every morning of reading five comic strips, I never miss a day, I just wish I was skilled at drawing such things

    As for the dating, just go with the flow Monica and enjoy each others company. You never know where you will meet people, I met my wife in a bakers shop almost 30 years ago, I mean I only went in for a ham sandwich!!!

  12. It has been a long time and is something I plan to do more of in the coming year. My birthday is this month. Good for you Monica. Sometimes pushing yourself a little bit is fun and has great rewards.

    • Savvy, you always have such great, sage advice on your blog, so I know you have the wherewithal and will find your own success outside your comfort zone. Maybe the birthday is just the thing to give you the boost you need to venture outside your zone! Happy Birthday!

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