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Removing the Safety Net

Barron Ryan

I didn't know I was going to remove my safety net last week—it kind of just happened. After I introduced myself as a pianist at a luncheon, several people approached to ask about background piano-playing for their event. I wasn't planning to say it yet, but it slipped out. "That's not something I do anymore."

You see, I've relied upon playing background playing as a important source of income since college. It's been a convenient and relatively painless way to use a skill I already had to receive a decent hourly rate. Still, my heart has always been in performing, and when I launched Keyboard Confidential, I knew this day would come.

I just didn't know it would come this soon. But when the first person approached me to ask about background playing, I knew I couldn't let all those new connections think of me as anything else but the pianist you call when you want a community-enriching concert experience. And once I'd done that, there was no going back.

Now the safety net is gone, and it's scary. I don't have a schedule full of Keyboard Confidentials (yet), and there's no telling how quickly they'll come. But it's also exhilarating because I'm confident that I'll do the work and the right pieces will fall in place to make my old safety net unnecessary.

Do you need to remove your safety net too?