Thursday, August 13, 2009

Comfort Zones

"Do not resist events that move you out of your comfort zone, especially when your comfort zone was not all that comfortable." -- Alan Cohen

It’s been almost a year to the day of when I announced my first hand-coloring workshop. It was an idea I thought about, but not too seriously, until the bottom started to fall out of the art festival circuit I had been on for over 10 years.

I was tired, frustrated, disappointed and scared. I knew I needed to make some changes in the way I did business, but at first did not know what direction to go in.

The decision to hold a workshop was not an easy one to make. I was terrified, but I created an email with information about the class, hit “send” and then held my breath. Within a couple of hours I already had two people signed up. My first reaction was “sh#%, now I really have to do it!" That class filled up pretty quickly and I soon had a waiting list and another class scheduled.

I wrote about that first workshop in an earlier post so I won’t go into to detail, but let’s just say I was soooo happy when it was over with.

Fast forward a year and I have now taught this class about six times, as well as a more advanced version of it twice. I have made changes based on things I learned from previous classes and as a result, get a little more comfortable each time I do it.

I have also discovered that I really enjoy teaching! I have formed a lot of great relationships with people that have taken my class and I love seeing students discover their own creativity, sometimes for the first time.

In the last couple of months I have been trying to come up with ideas for other workshops. One idea that I tossed around was a two day class on floral photography. This would be in a studio setting where on the first day we would work on setting up and then photographing flowers, and then on the second day, each student would hand-color their favorite image from the day before. I was a little nervous about such an undertaking and was debating whether or not to set a date and make an announcement, when I came across the above quote. So again, I hit the “send” button and held my breath. Well, as of the other day it has sold out and I am excited about the ideas I have for teaching this new class.

I am a big believer of stepping out of your comfort zone once in awhile. It’s how we grow. At first, I thought I was offering workshops as a way to supplement my income, but teaching has opened up a whole range of different opportunities for me, some of which I hope to share in future posts.


  1. Way to go, Dianne! Teaching can be a lot of prep work with a whole lot of anxiety mixed in. But so rewarding.
    Sounds like you have found some interesting class offerings and the response attests to it.

  2. Congratulations Dianne. Teaching can be terrifying, but it seems you have it figured out. Your work is so beautiful I would think there are many people who would like to learn with your guidance.
    Great job!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement!

    It does seem overwhelming at times and takes away from time I spend working on my own photographs, but in the process I believe I am learning just as much, if not more, than my students.

  4. Congratulations Dianne! Your stepping up to challeneges and changes is inspiring.