Behind the Curtain….

We all have things we are afraid of, so we hide behind our own curtains. Every so often we may peek out for a view…but how many times do we just sit and wait. Sometimes we let others perform, even open the curtain for others. But, what’s behind your “curtain” in life?

Behind the Curtain....

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Why are you hiding?

Every stage has a curtain, either actual or imaginary. Some use curtains that raise or open. Others simply need a spotlight turned on. Either way it is the beginning, the show is about to start! So you step out onto that stage with nervous, yet joyful anticipation. An audience is there waiting….will you entertain from your heart, or your head? Will you listen to your critics and hide again? Or will you rise up above to earn and then hear the cheers from the audience?

Find YOUR meaning in your LIFE performance.

Standing in the SPOTLIGHT with a down pool of light washing over you, you are exposed in a sense, yet the audience is hidden from your sight. Everyone sees YOU, yet you can’t see THEM.  Will you freeze in that moment or will you embrace the light and express that person that has been hiding behind the curtain. You can feel the heat of the lights on your face and then the music starts. It’s time to “DANCE.” Yes, that curtain may eventually close at times. The curtain in your life will rise up and down; it will open and close; but if you hold on tight to your courage, your confidence, YOU can take charge.

What a glorious moment that will be!!!

Step out from behind that curtain and take YOUR spot on the STAGE of LIFE.

Your audience awaits….

Don’t Doubt…DANCE it OUT!!!

DanceItOutWhen in Doubt… DANCE it out!

Can you hear it? No, not the “voice in your head”silly. The Music!!
It’s always there within your reach. Everyone has a song or tune that speaks to them, touches their souls and inspires their inner well-being.

So… what’s your “signature tune?”

You know the one, the song that — no matter what — you will sing out loud in your car or shower; the one to which you will always get up and DANCE!

A playback button pushed or keyboard clicked will start the music that may be the one thing needed to create new ideas and chase those troubles away. So turn it up! Crank the volume and DANCE.
Okay, full disclosure. I am Dance Teacher, so music is an important part of the job, but I’m also a Wife, Mom, Writer and Editor so I’m tossing an eclectic mix of “personalities” into the world. It can get a little stressful at times, but I have always been one for multitasking. Music & Dance have been and always will be my default solutions to my challenges.

Thus my motto: “When in Doubt…Dance it out!”

To me, MUSIC and DANCE combined is actually the solution to nearly anything.
– Let’s say you have a PowerPoint of important graphics/sales forecasting, or photos from your recent vacation. Watch it for one minute. Now add MUSIC and watch it again; any difference?
– You are on a road trip to your next sales meeting, in a convertible (because it sounds fun), top down. Yes, the sound of the wind whipping through your hair is nice, but turn up a favorite tune? It is SO much better.
– You have been wracking your brain with an overwhelming problem to solve. Play a little music, and you may just find the answer. It’s the standard ‘walk away from a challenge; take a breath to get a fresh view’ technique with a little zing to make you sing.

Consider a myriad of everyday events made better by music and dance:
-The movie trailer with the voice overs, but without dramatic music? No Way!
-The sports event without the musical interludes, or cheers…Not even…
– The climactic scene in a thriller video without drums beating or ominous music… I don’t think so.
-A bride walking down the aisle in total silence… weird.
-The world famous university marching band entering the field quietly… can’t even imagine!
Dance is all about steps. Heck so is life, family and business. So listen to a favorite singer or band and begin moving forward, one step at a time. If you are the more adventurous type, you could even add a leap or spin… oooooh!
Make some noise! Get some ideas! Build your business! Have fun with your family!

Don’t Doubt.

Dance. It. Out.
Ps: Animals love music too! –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bwpBuHgTU&sns=em

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!!!

G.I.F.T.S. 5 simple tips for powerful PRESENTations

©2013 In the Company of Ideas

©2013 In the Company of Ideas

As a former product development specialist, I had to be creative in designing, researching and developing new products for our industry. (When the words ‘product’, ‘specialist’ and ‘development’ are in your job title, creativity is a must.) I was also in charge of presenting these products to our National Sales Force.  It was my job to present them with the tools and “gifts” needed to help them sell more. I often thought of myself as a product cheerleader. I needed to focus their attention on the new product, make it personal, and exciting to them. Once they were charged up then I had to give the information they needed to do their job, which is to get their customers equally excited, and ready to issue purchase orders.

I used an acronym, as I often do, to present/sell the product at our National Sales Meeting in Naples, Fl. (Okay, so the use of letters is not unique. But for remembering, sometimes simpler is better.) The acronym “G.I.F.T.S.” offers tips not only for a memorable sales presentation in front of a large audience, it works well in smaller settings too. The tips can also be used when writing a piece for your target audience or giving a personal gift to a family member or friend. The goal…to have a satisfied customer backed up with some product passion.

Here is what works for me:

Get Personal. I tapped into their emotions, and set goals.

Interact. I listened to the needs of each region and their representatives, while investing the time needed to get the job done. (Or listen to thoughts of your audience, readers or family members).

Face time. Be expressive. That is my normal mode so this one is easy for me. Get up on the stage. Act out a scenario. Sing. Dance. Present the facts in a way they did not expect. Focus on the most important fact first with an appropriate lead in to get their attention. (This can easily be expressed in the written word as well).

Tell a Story. Make them laugh. A mind at play is always creative and receptive to new ideas. (“Play” is Profitable).

Surprise! I always kept them guessing as to what I’ll do next. The element of surprise in a presentation always grabs attention. (Even the nay-sayers perk up).

So whether you are planning a large presentation, writing a new piece or even presenting a unique home-made movie to your families…use your own “gifts” to make it a truly memorable one.

Celebrate your gifts

Share your gifts

Can you hear the applause? Can you feel the gratitude expressed?

That’s for YOU and a job well done.

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.

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.

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!!!