The beautiful painting hung on the wall. It was titled “Paradise Palms”. We had to produce one exactly like that. Our coach, Katie explained how we were going to do that. I listened attentively but it just seemed an impossible task. I had never painted in my life, but I was determined to try. It was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Every now and then there is a need to push boundaries and stretch the self beyond what we know. It was quite a moment to share with our mentees from our “Empower Me” program at University of Hartford. “Empower Me” is a leadership program where young women are matched one-on-one with a female mentor whose role is to guide the mentee into enhancing their effectiveness in their chosen goals. We had planned this as an experience we all needed. As Margie Warrel holds:
“In an increasingly competitive, cautious and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards.”
With this in mind we all faced the blank white canvas with courage. Following the guidance of our painting coach we mixed the paints as needed and gradually worked our magic on the canvas. We started with one line across the canvas demarcating the horizon. Before long our boards were covered in beautiful colors of orange, yellow, pink and purple depicting the horizon, sun and the sun’s reflection. It was incredible! Getting to this point was no easy task for me. I had never handled a paint brush. I had to exercise patience. Sometimes it got a little frustrating as I fumbled with my paint brush trying to get the perfect grip. It was a constant challenge as I kept comparing what I was doing with the sample in front of us, and most often I was not satisfied.
However, I kept going and was not afraid to ask for help when I got stuck.
At the end, the result was amazing. My very first painting! Now I truly believe David duChemin when he states, “The magic rarely happens within our comfort zone, but outside it, on the ragged, scary edge, where we have to fight like hell to keep from drowning in the unknown.”