The Dance…

The music starts.

Your heart starts beating nearly uncontrollably as the countdown signals your entrance.

You take a deep breath, toss shoulders back and swing aside the curtain.

You’re on stage.

Focused… you sense applause as you head toward the spotlight greet to your dance partner. You catch each other’s eyes, smile and off you go… to entertain the audience and raise money for charity. It’s “Swingshift and the Stars.”

DANCING from your hearts.

One year ago today I experienced that joy and fear. I stepped out of my comfort zone into a world of “ballroom” dancing for a charity dance-off.

Photo by Record Eagle

Photo by Record Eagle 2014

What an adventure! Through hours of rehearsal and perspiration, my partner and I developed a mutual trust. We agreed to attempt  “lifts” I swore I could never accomplish. See that girl on the man’s shoulder? It’s me! I call that the “Peter Pam,” as it was the closest I ever felt to flying. 😉

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Yes, I have taught dancers how to safely perform lifts, and I have done too many to count as a young dancer. But 20 years and three children later… this was a big, nerve-wracking decision!

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

“The Dance.”

For me, it’s what life is all about. Dance is a gift of art and self-expression that must be shared. Because I live that philosophy, I know that dance on the highest levels requires balance, grace, coordination, and athleticism. To me the most important elements are your emotional commitment and the passion behind the movements. I believe this applies not only to DANCING but everyday life. We need more passion in our actions!

Through these performances I learned that facing fears directly can be exhilarating and intensely satisfying when you achieve what you never thought possible, or had been afraid to try. And that is what my run on the charity dance-off “Swingshift and the Stars” accomplished for me. I competed as a dance professional in the four-month-long  charity dance-off. I was paired with a local celebrity. We invested over 5 months of rehearsals. It allowed me time to learn new steps and then teach them to my celebrity partner, a self-proclaimed non-dancer. We mastered intricate routines for the four separate competitive events in which we were to compete.

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo by Windborne Photographic

Photo By Windborne Photographic

Photo By Windborne Photographic

I personally learned four different dances; each with its own rhythms, footwork, arm holds, turns, emotion, character and styles. First was a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers-inspired Foxtrot, followed by a John Travolta-inspired hustle. For the country-themed event we performed a West Coast Swing. The finale was a spicy, very spicy Latin Bolero (waaaaay out of my territory) but I DID it!!

With the support of fans and sponsors, and the votes of judges, our hard work brought in over $130,000 for Leelanau Christian Neighbors!! I believe when you put your heart into something (whether its dance or something else) you will be rewarded for your effort. For this event, our community joined together, for an all-time record. Over $300,000 was raised for the 2014 season.

Swingshift award

We did it! I did! The community did it! And what we achieved for the charities fills my soul to the core.

Overflowing with gratitude a year later, my heart continues to fuel my daily life with family, friends and teaching. Returning to the event for this season as a judge has already touched my heart in ways I didn’t expect. I know how hard these couples are working (along with everyone else behind the scenes). I get a little choked up thinking about the impact they will make for their charities and the precious folks they will help.

YOU can make a difference too…in those tiny moments, in those big moments and just by offering a smile to someone.

The music is starting…

Join me as we all grab each other’s hands, listen to our hearts, find that passion to drive our action… and DANCE!!!

Why PASSION is a must for Success in Life and Business…

20130402-174046.jpgEach person has their OWN definition of what THEY love, or whom they love, but the basis of all these lies within. This definition comes from the heart, that core of your existence that can spark emotions from others.

In a similar vein, there is or should be a unique essence that defines YOU or YOUR Business.

What is your Passion? What is your business Passion?

One of my passions is teaching students of all ages the art of dance. I show them how to embrace the JOY of dance and movement.  Teaching technique is obviously very important, as is a business development plan to keep a steady flow of new students. But, in my opinion, even the finest technician or well-designed plan will not succeed without passion. Without passion in dance, there wouldn’t be a connection with your audience.  Without passion in your business, the connection with your customers will fall flat…

Fortunately, writing is also a passion for me. I enjoy making correlations between teaching dance and real world experiences. I demonstrate how we can all learn about ourselves through expression in the arts, business, sports, or whatever legally fuels our desires. I of course am passionate about making dance an experience and inspiring others. However, I also enjoy helping others express their own true words by editing while retaining the “inner fire” of their own words. I find JOY in all of these things. One could say I’m a naturally “passionate” person.

Are you passionate?

Why is Passion so important in your life, family and business?

1. Passion stirs the emotion and creates opportunity.

2. Passion is ambitious.

3. Passion communicates.

4. Passion promotes enthusiasm.

5. Passion sells.

I believe that everyone, including you, possesses POWER for PASSION, as long as they tap into their inner heart strings and listen.

Ba boom, Ba boom…. Your heart is beating… faster, faster…

Listen to the rhythm of your heart. Seize the OPPORTUNITY. Get on the dance floor.

Find YOUR Passion. Use it as “fuel” for your business, your family, your life and YOU will find SUCCESS.

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.

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.

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!!

Are you ready to jump back in the game of life with me?

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

 

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!

The Simple Power of Play

Play Today!

©2013 Dancinmoma

A new employee walking toward the glass-walled boardroom sees people in ‘business casual’ attire knocking around brightly colored balloons. She hears them yelling joyfully and wonders, “What is going on? Are they actually …working?” The smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates the air as the art director reaches across to smack the red balloon in the air. Two giggling copywriters dive for the same green balloon to keep it off the floor. Pop! Smack! Then an orange balloon is catapulted in the air accompanied by a triumphant, “Yes!”

The “scene” just described was common in my work experience virtually every morning, particularly as we began our annual Design Book photo shoot planning sessions. After friendly exchanges among floral designers, writers, models, photographers and support staff, the creative meeting would commence. My job as Project Manager was to keep all elements on schedule, maintain quality, promote teamwork, and ensure that ideas flowed freely. The team was expected to create unique concepts and floral arrangements that had not been seen before. With a team of talented professionals eager for action, I found that starting out our day with a little play ignited creative fires within everyone. Each day had a surprise of fun that tapped into everyone’s inner child. This simple concept delivered AMAZING results for each of us professionally and for the company’s product offerings.

So I invite you to pick up a balloon.

Start batting it around.

Tap into your creativity and just PLAY.

This action works wonders within your business and family. Whether you’re trying to solve a vexing problem, come up with an idea, or create something new; enjoy the moment in front of you and eliminate the potential for negative inner thoughts. PLAY with your co-workers or family members. There may be a frown or two from employees who do not fully understand the creative process. Don’t let that stop you. If the idea produces sales, helps you write a chapter or creates a unified team, people will eventually start bouncing around their own balloons.

Many successful companies are now embracing this play in many forms, supported by open area workspaces, sports-related activities, brightly colored walls, mood lighting, and more. What creative activity can you do to improve productivity and generate new sales for your company and yourself? Start with a little balloon play and work up from there.

The power of play can enhance relationships. When it comes down to it, relationships in business and families are what LIFE is all about. Even the relationship within YOU may need some fun.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF…

  • Create together.
  • Laugh together.
  • Jump up and down together.
  • Dance.
  • Act like a child for a moment.
  • Think.
  • Problem Solve.
  • Change the scenery and embrace… the POWER of PLAY…

Then let me know how many balloons your team manages to keep from hitting the floor.

Note: This is a post I originally wrote as a Featured Contributor for SheOwnsIt.com – it was previously published in July of 2013.

I Choose to GROW. “This is How We Grow” Blog Hop 2013

Time is fleeting. I can look back and get stuck in the past… or I can look back, reflect and learn.

I choose to GROW.

The negative voices of my ego can talk me out of virtually anything positive, if I listen. So I turn down the volume of those pessimistic voices and turn up the volume of inspiration, of optimism.

I choose to GROW.

There are people in this world that can be supportive, others not so much. I surround myself with enthusiastic, motivational people who share my values and beliefs.

I choose to GROW.

No matter how much we KNOW about anything, we can always learn more. The possibilities are endless.

I choose to GROW.

As a mom, I am blessed and honored to raise three beautiful souls. Many days are chaotic, some I lose my patience, Occasionally some are just hard. I am human.

I choose to GROW.

There are opportunities all around. I find myself second-guessing and over-analyzing at times. Why? I know I will never know unless I try.

I choose to GROW.

In times of trouble, despair or heartache…I can huddle in the darkness or I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I choose to GROW.

I can hide “Behind the Curtain” of my life or I can stand in the “spotlight” and DANCE through this life.

I choose to GROW.

I choose to DANCE.

I choose ME.

(Please join us on the “This is How We Grow Blog Hop -2013” by scrolling down to the badge at the bottom of site). Thank you!

“THREEPEAT” after me…

In this fast paced, complex world of technology and social media, let’s remind ourselves, our children and those around us to USE these three simple manners we learned as toddlers.

Magic word

Simple Manners that SHOULD last thru time (no matter HOW old you are):

“ThreePeat” after me:

1. If you need help, if you need something, if you need anything, please just Say PLEASE.

2. Be grateful for the actions of others, be humble, if you receive a compliment, if you appreciate something, Say THANK YOU.

3. If you mess up, and we all will once in a while….Say I’M SORRY.

A simple concept, that surprisingly needs to be used a lot more! Especially with adults. 🙂