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Why your child (and you!) should get out of your comfort zone

When Flying Start Tuition founder, Sian Goodspeed, sang a solo in her local choir last year, few people realised the immense personal triumph this represented.

She shares her story and why she believes it’s crucial for everyone to get out of their comfort zone.

Awful audition

When she was eleven, Sian auditioned for a singing role in the school musical Oliver. “I had my heart set on this as I loved singing and acting, but when I opened my mouth I was so nervous that only an awful squeaking sound came out.  I was mortified and it put me off singing for a long time.”

Stepping out of the comfort zone

A few years ago, Sian plucked up the courage to join her local Rock Choir – Amersham Rock Choir – and rediscovered her love for singing.  She went on to set herself the goal of performing a solo, even though the idea was nerve-racking. Determined to overcome her nerves, Sian enrolled for singing lessons and used her knowledge of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques to help calm her down.

After 18 months in Rock choir, Sian had built up the courage to sing a duet (‘More than Words’ by Extreme) in front of several hundred people at the Rock Choir Christmas concert.  “Although this was a duet, I had the daunting task of opening the song by singing the first verse as a solo.  It was the first time I had sung a solo in public since that disastrous audition over 30 years ago!  Just before I went on stage, the nerves came crashing in and I feared I was going to muck it up, forget the words or lose my voice.  I took some deep breaths, grounded myself and used my anchor (NLP technique).  As soon as I opened my mouth to sing, I was absolutely fine and in fact, I actually enjoyed it!” 

Sian has now well and truly got the singing bug and has since performed several more duets as well as joining a small ensemble group, ‘The Oddities’, made up of four other Rock Choir buddies.  The Oddities’ debut performance was at a street party in honour of the Queen’s 90thBirthday in Chalfont St. Giles, where they performed three songs. “Despite a few initial technical hitches, we managed to get through the set and people were dancing in the streets to our music which was certainly an experience!” 

The Oddities have since gone on to perform an A Cappella version of ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie at the Rock Choir summer concert at the Watersmeet Theatre, Rickmansworth.  During the same show, Sian finally got to fulfil her goal of singing a solo part with her choir in the song ‘We built this city’.  “This was a brilliant experience as it was another venture out of my comfort zone.  I usually prefer to sing slow ballads so to have to ‘rock it up’, 1980s style, was something of a challenge but I think I pulled it off…and it was such great fun!”

Immense pride and satisfaction

“Nothing can describe the immense pride and satisfaction I felt at having overcome my fear. Getting out of your comfort zone is a powerful way of boosting your confidence and empowering you to achieve your goals.”

Music video watched around the world

The Oddities have since made a music video of ‘Space Oddity’ and this has been watched by people from 26 different countries, and is now featured on IMDb. (the online movie database)

Although it is rare for a music video to be made for less than £1 million, The Oddities spent just £8 making this film – on a bottle of Prosecco which wasn’t actually featured in the film, but provided the group with much needed refreshment!  Filming was in a highly compressed timescale: the soundtrack was recorded, the film was directed and shot, and the editing of the first cut was all completed in eight hours on a single day.

Create your own success

 “The singing has been such tremendous fun and I’ve finally overcome my fear of singing in public!  Most importantly, by pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve proved to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. “

Sian believes that this is an important message to convey to children and is at the heart of the Flying Start ethos.  “At Flying Start, we aim to inspire our students to believe in themselves and to set personal goals. It’s important to not only have academic goals, but to develop holistically as a person, so that they have the confidence to create their own success, no matter what life throws at them.”