Sweet Spot

When I recently decided to return to my handbell group for a "limited engagement," I was a little bit anxious about what my bell assignment would be. If you're not familiar with handbells, they're actually set up like a piano keyboard in which each player is assigned a certain number of bells which correspond to notes on the page. I've played in enough positions to feel comfortable with almost any of them (except the big bass bells, which are physically more than I can handle). But there are a few places on the bell table where I'm much more sure of myself than others. So when the director contacted me and said she'd like to assign me to the E and F (6) position, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. That position was where I first learned to play four-in-hand (the technique of holding two handbells in each hand and playing them simultaneously) and where I played for the majority of my years in bell choirs.

That's my sweet spot.

You all have those spots, don't you? Places in your work that you feel so comfortable because you know what you're doing, know how to work around the kinks, know what the pitfalls are, and have so much experience in this one area that you could write a book about it.

When you're in the sweet spot, you have confidence in your ability, you can rise to greater levels of achievement because you've mastered the basics.

You can have a lot more fun.

So for the past couple of weeks, I've been reveling in the sweet spot in more ways than one. Music lifts my spirits like nothing else can. This morning, even though we'd had a long weekend of extra rehearsals, it felt so good to be playing again, to be thinking about music and all the little nuances that elevate a performance from good to great. It took my mind off all the other not-so-sweet things that have been dragging me down lately. And it provided me with a surge of inspiration to tackle a writing project I've been procrastinating, an added and much appreciated side benefit.

I also realized that playing music makes me feel more like ME than anything else I do. I think music itself is my own personal sweet spot in life - the area where I'm most comfortable, where I feel the most confidence in my abilities, where I have the most fun. As much as I love to write, I don't always feel that way when confronted with the blank page.

I suspect we'd all be a lot happier, more productive individuals if we could spend more time in our sweet spots.

I know I would.

How about you? What's your sweet spot in life? Do you get to spend enough time there?