Before I forget, I’m going to be speaking on a live local talk show based in Hawaii tomorrow, June 5, at 4pm PST / 7pm EST. The show will be recorded and posted on YouTube, etc. and you can bet your dance shoes, I’ll share it. But it would be sooo cool if as many of my followers as possible tuned in live! You can watch online at thinktechhawaii.com. I hope you can make it!
Ok, on to the blog post…
It’s just about two and a half weeks until my next competition.
2018 will definitely go down as a crazy year, simply for how many competitions I’ve been able to enter (not to mention the publication of the Solo Practice Guide!). Then there was the addition of a new style…wow!
Yet another new opportunity presented itself to me recently. When the potential benefit/reward is obvious, I’ve learned to just say “yes” and then figure out how I’ll make it work later. So that’s what I did with this latest opp.
Then as I learned more about what was involved, my demons started to get noisy. Was I in over my head? Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. I don’t know if I’m good enough. I could very easily screw this up big time. Why did they invite me to join this project to begin with? I clearly was underqualified. I had a very strong urge to run and hide.
When doubts and anxiety like this have come up in ballroom, I turn to Teacher. I’ve gone down this path often enough to know that I probably am perfectly capable of completing whatever task I’ve accepted, but I’m just not able to see it. Teacher will clue me into whatever he sees in my abilities that my demons have made me blind to. And then we continue on dancing!
So with this new project, I proceeded in the same way. I went to the woman who had invited me in and basically asked her “why me?” Her response made me smile, because it was funny in its truth. She said I was invited in because I’ll do things even when I’m scared, which is why I agreed in the first place!
I think a lot of people believe that they need to get past a fear before they can do the thing that they’re afraid of. That’s not how it works for me. If I took the time to get past my fears before I acted, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Not even close. I wouldn’t have a completed Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing ready to send to my launch team. I wouldn’t be entering competitions, and I never would have gotten on that stage for my very first ballroom showcase performance back in 2013. Heck, I wouldn’t be the Girl with the Tree Tattoo if I waited to act until I didn’t feel afraid!
As excited as I am to be able to enter so many competitions in such a short period of time (for me at least), I still have those moments of doubt. I’m used to having months of time to prepare between comps. So far this year, it’s been only weeks. And on top of that, I’m working on two styles instead of just one. Am I crazy? Am I in over my head? Maybe I’m pushing too far. Maybe I can’t do this much.
Among all of those doubts though, other thoughts appear. If I don’t push, how will I know when I’ve reached my limit? If I don’t push beyond that limit, how will I grow and discover new limits? Maybe I can’t do this, but maybe I can. The only way to find out is to give it a shot.
So while even Teacher wasn’t sure we would be ready to tackle Smooth and Standard at Millennium, I went ahead and registered for both styles anyway. I arranged for a dress to rent for Standard. I arranged my travel and hotel around both days at the competition. If I didn’t plan on competing in both styles, I definitely wouldn’t be ready. But if I just say “yes!” and then figure out the details later, the chance of success increases dramatically!
Millennium will be the last comp I can “just say yes” to, as my tax refund is dwindling fast. I’m taking advantage while I can to push myself past limits and just #doitscared.
Mind you, taking action despite my fear doesn’t mean the fear goes away. Hell no! Sometimes it comes back worse because it’s miffed at being ineffective in halting my moves. Some days, I may look calm, but inside I’m using all of my energy to control the ball of terror that’s threatening to explode. Those days, I tend to work even harder (or I will take an intentional break from everything, it’s one extreme or the other). I double down on focusing on whatever needs to get done to give me the greatest chance at success at the end.
I had one of those days just this past week. Learning details about the new project had shaken my confidence hard, like an arm sweep to a Jenga tower. So when I got to my lesson on Friday, I was carrying a LOT of broken confidence pieces. This project isn’t even dance-related, but the fear was strong enough to seep into my dancing time.
Teacher didn’t say anything, but I’m sure he noticed I was quieter than usual. I was still focused though. I did everything Teacher asked me to do. Fear makes me judge myself harshly. If I let someone else be the judge, like Teacher, then I can still proceed. I follow his instructions and let him tell me where I went right and where I went wrong. I don’t take on the responsibility of judging myself because it would only be the fear talking. Like I said, I’ve been down this path before.
Ironically, as the lesson went on, I did start making some judgment calls, about how things felt better. I was so acutely focused on doing whatever Teacher told me to do (pull the core in, take the head left, drop the shoulder, etc.), that the fear faded back into its source (that new project) and I could recognize when a move felt better because of whatever correction Teacher offered and I applied. See that? Success!
So next time you’re presented with the chance to do something you’d love to do, but your first reaction is “eeeek!”, I dare you to say “yes.” The fear may not go away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it anyway.