Collaboration Stew – Your Recipe for Success

collaborationYour Recipe for Success.

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler

Absolutely amazing things can happen when two creative minds get together. A great current example comes from Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon. Together they play, sing, act and create MAGIC. #ViralMagic.

So I wonder what we can learn from their success.  #GreatExample! Sometimes collaboration begins with a simple conversation, an idea communicated among friends, even a story shared by an author to a crowd. For instance, I had a “date” with sportswriter/author Mitch Album (who penned many books including “Tuesdays with Morrie” and the latest novel “A Phone Call from Heaven”). You can read about that “date” here -> #MyTuesdaywithMitch. Although I listened more than I talked, it was a collaboration of sorts. I learned from a mentor, which in turn reignited my passion for writing and creativity.

We can all inspire each other through collaboration. For instance the Collaboration Definition from Merriam Webster: 1:  to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor — speaks volumes to the entertainment industry. So why not use it more in the business world or personal endeavors. Sometimes it can turn out widely successful, sometimes widely not, but hey, why not give a try? The best “epic fails” can be the most learned from experiences. The ones that DO work… are Amazing!

So I suggest you “Stir Up” some thought-provoking “Collaboration Stew” Recipes for Success:

  1. Who inspires you? What company? Is there a specific book or author that speaks to you? Read. Listen. Learn.
  2. Research the things that motivate you, the background behind their philosophies and the many paths they had to travel to reach the current destination.
  3. Find YOUR successful sidekick. Someone that shares your values. Or maybe not. Because if you are “challenged” in a good way then perhaps you can stretch your mind even further.
  4. Or find someone you believe in. Reach out. It only takes one question, one email, one tweet, one phone call and one hi, to start up a conversation. You’ll never know unless you ASK.
  5. Mentor someone. Share your success with others. Learn from successful people. Get creative and “collaborate” your way to new ideas.
  6. Add to this list. I’d like to collaborate with you on building this list. #CollaborationStew

Be a Spark Plug!

©2014 Dancinmoma

©2014 Dancinmoma

Crunch! Crunch! Click! Zoom!

That will generally be the sequence of sounds you’ll hear as you rush toward your dream vehicle. As you run, imagine the wind on your face, the color. Open the door. Start it up and power down the windows. Turn up the music and rev your engines! Hear the roar in your head…. Be a Spark Plug!

Everyone needs that “Spark Plug” to ignite your own internal intellectual fuel and passion to fuel IDEAS! Plug it in and rev your engines! Spark plug you ask? Hey, your creative engine won’t work without all its parts. Don’t laugh. Being a spark plug is hard work, but it helps put you in control of idea development.

I suggest that you start a meeting, a public speaking event, party or creative session with a “Spark Plug” race, an imaginary competition to REV everyone’s engines and DRIVE up sales. It can also be a game to play while promoting family or team unity. Here is how it works:

  1. Place a checkered flag on the table (Hand drawn is the best.)
  2. Designate the race official/leader. This is the person that leads you through the track, timing, announcing the turns, etc and when to stop. (Only enthusiastic people need apply.)
  3. Everyone chooses his or her own “ride.” Grab imaginary keys. (Or these days just push an imaginary button.)
  4. Toss your “ego” out the window and make some noise. Engine noise! Rev your engine. Throw away the rear view mirror. Don’t even virtually buckle up.
  5. (In your best announcer voice). “On your mark. Get set. GO!”
  6. “Drive” your car, purse your lips together make your own unique engine noises. (Are you making noise right now?!) Lift your arms, grasp your “steering wheel” and just GO. Tap into your enthusiasm FUEL and let it go! (Insert more engine sounds here.)
  7. Make a turn. Then another. Pass on the right. I CAN’T hear you!!  Faster. Faster. If you must, hop into the virtual pit stop and replace your spark plug. Then get back in the race.
  8. Faster. Pass the “vehicles” that run out of enthusiasm gas.
  9. Grab the checkered flag on table and wave it.
  10. Now brake. STOP. (Screeching sounds are encouraged here.)
  11. Grab your phone, iPad or laptop. Grab a pen.
  12. Start writing, whatever comes to mind. (For a designated amount of time.) Write Anything. I Mean Anything!

Step into the winner’s circle with your ideas. DRIVE up sales. Rev up some family fun. Soar with success. Generate new ideas. Use your own internal “spark plug” and see what happens in your business or family life.

Ladies and gentlemen, ignite your creative engine!

You will be amazed, and amazing.

5 Gifts of Life I have learned from my 4 year old Pre-ballerinas

Find your signature hue. The world is a blank canvas, and YOU can add all the color your precious heart desires. Hold the paintbrush in your hands and find the color that defines you right now because 5-10 minutes from now, it may morph into another, equally beautiful hue. I can hear the young dancers state their fairy wing color preferences of the day…

“Pink with Sparkles!” “Every color in the world!” “Blue with yellow polka dots!” “Purple with black swirls!” “Rainbow!” “Green, orange, and blue with pink flowers!” “No! Wait! How about…!”

Now Paint! Without overthinking, without second-guesses. Just paint, add pigment, throw in water, and mix it up. This is YOUR painting. The finished product will always hold a special place in your life’s gallery.

Touch the stars. They are tiny windows to the universe. They bring us out of darkness, and seemingly shine when we need them the most. They glimmer with hope, love and promise. Even when we think we can’t reach one anymore….we can. Go ahead. Touch them. And remember they are not always in the sky. They also shine through those around us.

Dancers up on their toes, arms lifting as high as they can reach. Reaching to the ends of their fingertips. They close their eyes and feel the heat of the light. A spin may follow as their arms extend even higher. Smiles seems to grow with their stretching. They are shining in the moment, just as the stars encompass the world in its moment.

Sing your admirations. Loud. From your heart. Like you are singing for thousands.

Uninhibited Joy unfolds as we play a favorite song in the class. Grabbing our scarves, we sing as if each was the only person in the room. Turn on your internal microphone. Crank up the volume, because this is YOUR song. It that touches your soul and moves your spirit. Sing!

Imagine. Envision. Get lost in the story. Pretend.

That’s all the pre-ballerinas require to get-away…a mind with imagination not quieted by negative internal ego. With their wheels turning, they visit oh so many places, they create, and innovate. Inspiring.

Pretend you are whoever you want to be… right now. There’s no one saying “you can’t do this” because it’s YOUR place to visit…in your head.

DANCE without inhibition, with abandoned enthusiasm. Shake it out! Feel the music, dance from your inner core, and within your soul. Feel the energy you are creating.

My hearts overflows while we dance together. I am entertained to the core. The young ones move without apprehension, they jump and turn with JOY, they don’t carry any burdens in that moment. The music is on and they must DANCE. They MUST dance. The music is ON!! :)

These are Five unassuming, important skills I learn every class…

in a dance studio bursting with the future of this world

and giftwrapped in a tutu.

 

Mama’s Boom in Da Room – My Messy Beautiful

©2014 Dancinmoma.com

©2014 Dancinmoma.com

“Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad” – Proverb

Yes, as in crazy or “Cray. Cray,” as the kids call it.

We are all dancers on this earth. We reach ups and downs, we bend over backwards, we turn from one place to the next, lift our arms up, put our heads down, then twist and we turn. We jump. We run, run, run and stop with our arms flailing about… If that’s not a “dance” I don’t know what is.

Of all the “dance shoes” I’ve worn in this life, the mom pair has to be the most exhilarating, most challenging, most “drive you to a place you never knew existed, drive you mad, tug your heart, 24-hour lifetime channel movie, soap opera, overwhelming, and simply JOYful experience” I have ever had.

Whew. Let me breathe for a sec.

Children (and husbands) do have a way of putting the “OY!” in JOY (sigh). You know what. I wouldn’t change ANYTHING. Motherhood may drive you to your wits-end or bring you to your most vulnerable place but it’s an ADVENTURE and I personally happen to love adventures. Motherhood is where you can tap into your inner strength, your inner beauty and things you never knew you existed within you.

I have danced on many stages in my life with audiences of all sizes, but the audience members that mean the most to me, are those tiny little toddler hands that clap and say “yaaaay” or the double-digit, emotion-filled boy (wanting to be on stage next to you), or the handsome teen-sized eyes that look at you, smile and say “sup mom.” That’s MY audience. They may not always applaud feverously, toss roses my way, give 5 star reviews and yell BRAVO… but they are there with hearts full of love and possibility. They need me. They love me, all of me, flaws and all. There’s a popular proverb quote out there that says this…

“If you stumble, make it part of the dance.”

That is my “mantra.” I’m certainly not a psychologist, but I guarantee that even with the most well thought out plan… you will stumble at times. (For me, I stumble more often than not, but again… if you make it part of the dance… DANCE it out sister!) So let’s crank up the music…

Boom. Ba da doom. Ba da doom boom the room. Do you hear it? :-)

ME: “Baby’s sleeping, try to keep the noise down.” Boys get louder. I calmly repeat “Baby’s sleeping, keep it down please.” Boys get louder. Me (at the top of my lungs) “I SAID. BE QUIET. BABY’S SLEEPING!!!!” (Look who’s shouting now!) Followed by baby cries (because I, yes me, I woke up the little one).

Ahhh, Chicka, Doom, Boom… Music’s still playing.

Toddler in the bath, older child in the shower. All is good. Husband runs to store for milk. Toddler says, “Wook, mama, wook!” (as he holds up an object). Hmmmm how did a “tootsie roll” get in there? WAIT! That’s not a tootsie roll! “Yucky!” I say, as I grab “object” and immediately remove toddler from “toxic area.” Older child is now done with shower and curious. Looks into tub, sees foreign object and proceeds to “toss his cookies.” Really? Really?!! Mom proceeds to put both kids in shower for a soap rinse, dry PJs on, and then cleans mess. Husband comes home, looks at me with my disheveled frizzy, hair and wet clothes and says…

“What the heck happened to YOU?!!!” :-)

Whata, whata…whaaaaaa…Can you still hear it?

Fast forward to a morning commute to school. Baby is still sleeping. So is Daddy (It’s my turn to drive). Boys are knee deep in the morning routine. “Grab your backpacks! Turn off the lights. Pick up your clothes.” Normal stuff. We head out on our driveway (which snakes down a large hill through some woods by the way). Moments after accelerating, remembering there may have been “freezing rain” in the forecast. Duh. Is school even open? Car catches the frozen rain, veers right, then left, sideways, and completes a 360 at the bottom of driveway, barely missing a tree. My heart is beating. Fast. There’s a short moment of silence followed by loud, cheers from the passengers. “YEAAAAH. Wooohooo! Mom’s got SKILLZ.” Why yes. Yes I do.

And the beat goes on…

So get out there…MOM’s and dddddDANCE! Work the floor, show YOUR audience what you’ve got, hear your own music… and take a BOW baby… YOU deserve it.

 

messy-beautiful-450b

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

 

Bounce Back!! 6 Ways to Thrive not merely survive.

©2013 Dancinmoma

©2013 Dancinmoma

 

I’m not a psychotherapist — I don’t even play one on TV — but I can comfortably predict that, in your life, whether business, family or personal, there will be not so good days and moments. You can’t avoid them, no matter how hard you try. The successful person, however, trains him or herself to take those dark times learn from them and “Bounce Back!”

We watch children fall down and encourage them to get up, brush themselves off and try again. Why is it so hard for adults to do the same? Have we been knocked down too many times? Are we so weighed down with worries that we can’t get off the ground? How do we change this negative “mindset” and soar to new heights?

This thought occurred to me while watching my kids on the neighborhood trampoline. “Watch, Mom! Watch this!” Their faces beamed as they jumped a little higher each time — the little one kept looking up, probably afraid she was going to hit the sun — and then they flipped over and landed on their feet. Then they directed their attention toward ME: You want a turn, Mom?” After several “not right now” responses, one day…I surprised myself by saying,

Sure. I’ll “Bounce” with you for a little bit.

I tentatively started to bounce in the air with small little jumps, and then soon, I was bending my knees a little more to get just a little higher, when all of a sudden I LAUGHED…OUT… LOUD…This is FUN!! My children were startled but my inner child had taken over. She grabbed onto my consciousness. Briefly I let go of worry and bounced. JUST Bounced!!! Hey! Maybe I can reach the sun. I was no longer hiding behind the curtain of life.

YOU are capable of rising above, you can DO THIS. Keep BOUNCING!!!

We will all hit hard places or surfaces in life and business, but how we “BOUNCE” back from them will make all the difference. So use the word “BOUNCE” as your reference to remember these key tenants of your thriving life:

Believe in yourself.

Own it. (Own your ideas, good and bad).

Understand (your background, your audience, why things went wrong or right).

Never give up. (Keep Trying).

Courage (Stand up with all the courage you can muster).

Enthusiasm (Use your heart and your childlike wonder to get enthused).

So BOUNCE a ball around, step in the bounce house, bounce on a trampoline and BOUNCE on!! Now, if you are feeling inspired at all, if you are ready to jump back in the game with me…

Be a “BOUNCER” and…

R Retweet this. ;)

Oh Mercer! Victory Dance

victory dance

You must watch this soon-to-be-famous (click here >) –> Victory Dance! from the Duke vs. Mercer game!!!!

 

Oh what an upset against Duke! Well Mercer may have messed up a bracket or two, but this guy, Senior Kevin Canevari, from Charlotte, NC is now the face of that upset. I personally rewound my DVR about five times to watch his celebratory dance and found myself laughing and dancing along!

He may not have scored any points in the game, but he has stolen the hearts of America with his spirit, oh and dance moves. (I have watched his twitter followers grow from about 330 to over 1,000 from his big debut). It’s only a matter of time before we see that “Victory Dance” on news, sports and entertainment programs all over the world!!

So here’s to you, Mr. #3 of Mercer Basketball! Thank you for making us smile with your celebratory team spirit, for teaching the world the “Nae, Nae” and for being the new face of the NCAA Tournament. It’s #TimeToDance !!

Just keep on DANCING!

Mercer Upsets Duke, Kevin Canevari’s NaeNae Victory Dance Makes Us All NCAA March Madness Winners—Watch Now! http://eonli.ne/1hPmsD0 via @eonline

Lessons from an Oscar Winner

Lessons from an Oscar Winner

It is amazing how you can be inspired in small window of time from an Oscar Acceptance Speech. Matthew McConaughey’s was one of my favorites, along with the beautiful Lupita. This link captures the essence of what we all learned from Matthew that night, along with a clip of the actual speech. I also enjoy writing an “imaginary acceptance speech” every year, and thankfully Mr. McConaughey played a big role in it this year.

“And to that I say… Alright, Alright, Alright.” :)

What We Can All Learn from Matthew McConaughey | LinkedIn

Click here for some great life advice –> http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140306185955-46951391-what-we-can-all-learn-from-matthew-mcconaughey

My Annual “Imaginary Acceptance Speech” :)

Oscar Pam ;)And the Oscar goes to…

Thunderous applause erupts as I join in, clapping enthusiastically.

Suddenly Justin Timberlake taps me on the shoulder and whispers, just to me.

JT: It’s you. You just won the Oscar!

Me: What?

JT: You just won the Oscar! Get up there, girl!!, he says as he twirls me around, and points me toward the stage.

Realizing the magnitude of the moment that I clearly didn’t hear, I turn to give JT a hug while simultaneously high fiving Sandra Bullock, George Clooney & Matt Damon. I then gallop down the aisle…screaming like a mad woman.

I trip up the stairs into the arms of Ben Affleck who graciously hands me Oscar with a kiss on the cheek. I hug him, too. ;)

My “imaginary acceptance speech” begins…

(Big Sigh) WOW! This is amazing (as I look at the Oscar in my hand). Helloooo there, golden guy. I have missed you. Helloooo Hollywood!! I swear I haven’t been drinking… yet (chuckles from the audience).

Clearly I’m in shock (waving myself with the envelope). Good Lord, I’m hot… as in overheated (audience laughs with a close-up on Tina Fey). This is too much. Thank you, God! Thank you. I’d like to thank my fellow nominees, directors, producers and anyone who had anything to do with this film. WE share this together.

To my hubby, the impersonator, by being married to you, I am “dating” Chewbacca, Rocky Balboa, Tom Jones, Elvis all wrapped into one. To my oldest, Brady… since when did you grow up? Now that you’re taller than me, I look up to you, literally. I am amazed daily by your curiosity, artistic nature in many areas and impressed by the fine young man you are becoming. Oh Casey….(large sigh) you put the “OY” in JOY. You can easily fill a room with laughter, just by being YOU. Seriously, once a person meets you, they will NEVER forget you. :) It also appears your sweet Baby Sister is following in your footsteps. McKenzie…you are the miracle we never knew we needed. We learn daily about the true meaning of life through your eyes.

To my dear girlfriends…who accept me…all of me, flaws, falls, Murphy’s laws and all. Hey! I made a rhyme this time ;) I may be a Dance Teacher but I’m also clumsy and scatter-brained at times, which always provides a little humor for our girls’ nights out. (I point to Justin Timberlake with a little wink). My last spill — beer spill that is — was at your concert, JT. They always say “If you stumble, make it part of the DANCE” … Oh and Dance I will! (start an impromptu dance with Ben Affleck on stage).

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :) To my family; mom, dad, brother, in-laws, aunts, uncles, Grandpa T (Big Al!), cousins and all. I feel so blessed to have all of you in my life. What a wonderful mix of personalities and life stories to be surrounded by. I am inspired by each and every one of you.

I’d also like to thank my iPhone. (chuckles from the audience). Yes, my phone. You are my “window to the world.” You have brought more people into my life from all areas of the world that I could ever imagine. For a social person like myself, I find joy in social media, Facebook friends, Twitter, and now a whole new world of blogging moms. As long as I use my “window to the world” responsibly (don’t text and drive) and don’t miss the authentic moments in front of me, I’m good. I choose to focus on the positive of it all, like this moment. (Grab phone from inside my dress and turn around to take a picture with myself, the Oscar, Ben and audience in the background.) Some people like “Selfies” but I like “Usies” so everyone…smile… 1, 2, 3. (I click camera, then look at phone). It’s a keeper! Thanks, folks.

Music starts playing….

Wait!… I’m not done. Matthew… McConaughey? Where are you? (I scan audience, spot him, and blow a kiss his way) Great movies this year my dear… I know that this is YOUR year to win. By the way…did you know that you are my island person? As in if I had to choose anyone to be on a desert island for one year, you’re my choice. Why? You seem very outdoorsy and fun…plus you’d probably be pretty cute in a loin cloth…. (giggle) (Close-up of Mathew tipping his imaginary hat towards me).

Music getting louder…

Ooohhh running out of time… Thank you to everyone who has ever touched my life in anyway… because of YOU, I am the person I am today… Embrace the Good and Release the Bad from your life…

In the words of the Oscar-nominated song from Disney… “Let it Go!! Let it Go!!”

Thank you! Gracious! Merci! I love you all!! (Blow kisses to everyone).

Wait! Justin. Will I see you back in the “D” this summer?! Ellen DeGeneres? Are you backstage? I need a dance partner! Ellen?!! (Ellen peeks from behind the curtain and joins me on stage)

Crank the music up…. Let’s DANCE!!!!

(Ellen & I dance off stage as audience applauds)

Super “Hero” Strength… LET IT GO! (Five-Minute Friday Free Write)

©2014 Dancinmoma

©2014 Dancinmoma

Every one has an inner super “Hero” within , but I never realized that going to a sweet Disney movie with my kids would teach me to tap into my own inner “power.”

It was a lesson of forgiveness and self-worth to me.

A lesson in strength.

Inner strength.

Super “Hero” strength.

“Let it go” is a beautiful song (from the Movie “Frozen”) about being “true to you.” Disclaimer: Once you hear it, you won’t be able to stop singing it, especially your kids. :) For me, it is a reminder to LOVE myself again and exemplify that LOVE to my children. A reminder to keep the volume of those negative voices turned down (because they always seem to find a way through the cracks of my soul); a reminder to stop holding things inside.

I equate much of that “stuff” to the reference of a “closet.” We can keep shoving stuff inside, until you can hardly shut the door. Pushing it down; pushing it in to keep it shut. Then finally it won’t shut, the door comes FLYING open! And BAM! There’s an explosion of emotion! A Beam of LIGHT!

LET IT GO!!!

As my 3 year old daughter dances around singing the song with her precious little voice, she engages her imagination and smiles as she waves her hand like “Elsa” in the movie. I join in… turning to the right and reaching my hand into the sky, turning to the left as I toss my “magic ice crystals” higher.

LET IT GO!!!

As we grasp our hands together, turning to the sounds of the beautiful music. I can FEEL it. Stirring up from within… what is it? JOY! Pure unadulterated JOY!

LET IT GO!!!

Warm yourself in the light…

Soothe your spirit…

DANCE… in the beaming light of hope and…

Release your inner power. Be a hero and LET IT GO!