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Keep on reaching.

I read somewhere that the comfort zone is the state in which a person operates without anxiety, at a steady level of performance, typically without a feeling of risk.

I know that place.  I’ve been there a number of times with fitness, with writing, with relationships.  It’s not a bad place to be.  Coasting along on the expectation highway at a speed that barely ruffles our feathers now and then.

Except when it starts to feel too comfortable.  Like most of the time, we’re not even pedaling.

It’s not that hard to know when it’s time to up our game a little.  It’s just not always easy to look for another hill.

Looking for the Next Hill

A couple of years ago, I decided to tackle a new climb with my writing.  I’ve always loved music, and had tinkered with lyrics off and on, but never really thought it was something I could do.  I quickly discovered a lyric is a different animal altogether from a novel.  But the desire to give it a try kept pecking at me until I decided one day to see what I could learn about getting good at it.

When you’re standing off in the distance, a hill can look a whole lot less steep than it actually is once you get to the bottom and start your way up.  This was definitely true of my first few songwriting journeys to Nashville.  After immersing myself in songwriter 101 research, I signed up for workshops, found teachers to work with and realized exactly how much I didn’t know.  I would make the eight-hour drive to Nashville, nervous and excited to learn everything I could and then head home four or five days later feeling as if I had spent my time there on one of those stretching racks used during the Roman Empire to torture prisoners.

But I was a willing captive of the songwriting experience, and once the pain of each learning curve settled into memory, I couldn’t wait to go back and learn some more.  I loved it.

It opened up to me a whole new world of artists, musicians, writers and producers whose talent continues to inspire me.  It is a world I am so happy to now know about.  It would have been easy to say after that first trip to such a songwriting mecca that the hill was going to be way too steep to tackle, but then I would have missed some incredible views of a community I have so loved getting to know.

Changing it up is what keeps life interesting.  And when it starts to hurt a little, that’s how we know we’re growing.

Keep on Reaching – Written by Inglath Cooper and Gabe Stalnaker.  Vocal by Tania Hancheroff.  Production by Jason Garner.

Like the stars so out of reach

On the clearest of nights

Your hopes feel like they’ve been beat

You’re just out of fight

But you can’t settle

Give in to that devil

No you can’t waiver

Do yourself a favor

Stay hungry

Keep believin’

Stay foolish

Keep on dreamin’

The sky’s wide open

fly high knowin’

It’s all a blink away

Yours right there to take

If you keep on reachin’

You just keep on reachin’

Think you won’t ever get there

It’s all over for you

Way past takin’ one more dare

Like you used to

But you can’t settle

Give in to that devil

No you can’t waiver

Do yourself a favor

Repeat Chorus

know what you have to offer

this world sure needs

don’t be content to follow

go on ahead and lead

Repeat Chorus