Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Dancing

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At the age of three I announced to my parents that I wanted to be the next Olga Korbut. I watched her mesmerize and delight gymnastics fans the world over during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games and I wanted to do the same. Thus began my twelve year career as a gymnast/acro-gymnast. As one might imagine, there were many hours of dance classes that were required as part of my training. While I never imagined ever being a professional dancer, I loved my dance classes. I learned poise and posture. And I learned that repetition, while boring, it an important part of perfecting your craft.

I still love dancing, although it mostly takes place in the privacy of my house instead of out in public. So when I started to look for some new ways to keep moving and exercising on a regular basis, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the Cize® Dance Workout  with Shaun T, by Beachbody®.

In addition to learning that a person’s rhythm, timing, and ability to move quickly diminish with age if you don’t take dance lessons on a regular basis, I also learned some very important lessons from my new Cize® dance routines that translate nicely to business and to life.

1.Break It Down Into Manageable Steps

You’ve heard the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Every time a new dance routine is introduced on the Cize® videos they don’t show you the entire routine right off the bat. They show you the first step. Then once you have that down, they add the second step. This continues until you have learned the whole sequence that makes up the routine.

Even though I really want to know what it all looks like before I get started, I honestly am glad they don’t reveal the full routine until the end. I would be so intimidated by the entire thing that I would probably never even try the first step.

Breaking things down into manageable steps is the key to success whenever attempting something new, outside of your comfort zone, large, overwhelming, or intimidating. And this tip works for everything from cleaning your house, to losing weight, to writing a book, to starting a business. Break it (whatever “it” is) into manageable bites and eat it one bite at a time.

2.Go At A Manageable Speed

In addition to breaking steps down into manageable pieces so that you can learn them, dance instructors also slow the steps down so that you can really see what is going on. Once you’ve had a chance to commit the steps to muscle memory, then they will increase the speed to tempo (or the speed that the steps were designed to be danced).

Everyone – whether we are using dance, life, or business as the context – learns and progresses at different speeds. Even we as individuals will learn different things at different speeds. I may have no trouble with one step and only need to see it once before I have it down while others may take me two days to commit to muscle memory. Don’t get discouraged if you see others progressing faster than you or if you feel it’s taking you longer to do something than it normally does. Just take it at your own pace.

3.Even If You Mess Up, Keep Moving

This life lesson is critically important. Even if you mess up, even if you end up on the wrong foot, even if you move left when you should have moved right, even if you miss a step, keep going. You will eventually end up in the right spot if you just keep moving.

I can’t even begin to tell you how true this is in life and in business. Regardless of how many time you feel you have messed up, if you are focused and committed to what you are doing, you will always, eventually, end up in the right place. Perseverance and action will get you where you want to go. You will get better every day if you keep at it. You will feel like you stumble less often and you will build more confidence in what you are doing. At the beginning you may feel like you are nothing more than a backup dancer. But by the end, you will feel like you are ready to star in your own music video!

4.Everyone Has Their Own Style and Flair

When you take a dance class, generally everyone is doing the same steps at the same time. However, everyone brings their own style and flair to the moves. Some may dance the steps with sharpness and precision while others are more fluid. Some dance with a seriousness about them and some dance with some sassy and sexy mixed in. The lesson is that we all bring different styles to the table and that’s what makes life so interesting.

In business, we are often tempted to compare ourselves to others in our field. In life, we may compare ourselves to other mothers or families. I want to encourage you to embrace your uniqueness. The style and flair that you bring to what you do is what sets you apart from the crowd and draws people to you. Not everyone will prefer your style over someone else’s, but the right people will.

I want to encourage all of you this week to just keep moving, no matter what happens. Just keep moving and I’ll see you on the dance floor!

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