“It is easy to be brave at a safe distance.”― Aesop 5-29-15

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No 22. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 29, 2015

“It is easy to be brave at a safe distance.”― Aesop

At almost 59, I’m fearless…almost. I love to speak publicly and dance in front of huge crowds. I love fund raising and helping to support great causes. I’m never afraid of giving a handshake to anyone and meeting and greeting anyone anywhere at any time.

I’m not even afraid of making a fool out of myself or saying someone’s name wrong (oh how I hate when I do that though!).

You have to remember that the hard days are what make you strong. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment! –Unknown.

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What makes us brave? What makes us fearless? That’s hard to say, but I bet that living through the hard days is part of life’s training. I only have a few good days in my life. Don’t get me wrong, every day is a blessing, well, not always. Sometimes days are hard. Things go wrong. Someone irritates you silly. You fail. Everything goes wrong. Those whom you trust let you down.

But, on my good days that are rare, I awaken and I know that it’s going to be a perfect day. I feel good from the start. Everything goes smoothly and I find that all day I’m saying “I’m having a good day”. I say it over and over and I love those special days. Don’t know when they are going to be, but because I’m aware of them, I love and appreciate them. I love these days and I think about them for weeks and weeks with a heart of gratitude and I’m always on the lookout for another one.

Power is the ability to do good things for others.
— Brooke Astor

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Sometimes I just have to come second. Doing good things for others takes forethought, planning, effort, and usually hard work. I want it to be said about me when I’m gone, “I am happy to serve”. That’s what I want to remembered for. Living a life of service means that you are often the person who has to take care of the bad things. You have to guide, sooth, and motivate others, even when you don’t feel like doing that. You have to lead on the good days and the bad days.

Wisdom comes alone through suffering.– Aeschylus 525-456 BC

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What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a
patient, but restless mind, of sacrificing one’s ease or vanity, of
uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard
times bravely and cheerfully.– Charles Victor Cherbuliez (1829-1899) French Novelist
When you are usually the bravest is when you are in the heat of battle. The fight is so hard that you don’t even know that you’re acting with bravery. These battles refine us and make us strong.
The four cornerstones of character on which this nation was built
are:   Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence.

— Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) American Aviator and Business Executive

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I’m always doing something wrong because I’m always doing so much. But you know what? I’m hardly ever depressed. If I want to be depressed, I have to open my Google calendar, find a couple of hours on a Saturday, and really wallow in self pity. That’s hard to do for if I’m sitting down, I usually have a very sweet furry friend jump in my lap and I have some type of life-changing book in my hands with a cup of tea on the side. It’s hard to wallow in self pity when the book you’re reading is going to be your next Webinar and you are going to use the information to change the lives of those around you.

If you’re never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never
take any chances.– Julia Sorel 1926-

Let go of watching from a distance and be brave in the battle. You can’t talk someone into dancing, you have to get on the floor with your partner and move to the music to be a great dancer.

Happy Dancing,

David Woodbury






Freedom Through Imagination 5-22-15

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No 21. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 22, 2015

Freedom Through Imagination

Imagination ranks with reason and conscience as one of the supreme
characteristics by which man is distinguished from all other animals.
— Clara Spence, Educator, 1925

Have you ever seen the photo of Walt Disney standing in the empty field, standing where the Disneyland Cinderella’s Castle was to be built? Walt Disney had a dream. He could see his dream Disneyland and where there was nothing, Walt saw his dream.

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When we visited our space for the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica, we walked in and I sat on an old rickety bench that was left over in the lobby and I said “This is where our front desk will be”, and that is exactly where the front desk is today.

I saw all the offices, the lobby, the ballroom, the second ballroom and kitchen. I could hear the music playing, see the dancers dancing, and hear the laughter in the ballroom.

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As I type, I can hear Gabriela’s voice in the ballroom teaching a magical Salsa lesson. I hear laughter, music, and see happy faces coming and going from our ballroom. We dreamed big and had a great imagination that turned into a reality.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
— Norman MacFinan

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Let’s talk about being busy. I’m going to quit saying I’m busy. It has been killing me. “Oh, I’m so busy”. Who cares? What does it matter? I just needed to grow up and quit whining like a little kid. Now I am thinking, I have so many opportunities to serve and to grow. Wow, every morning, every day, every evening, I have so many opportunities to serve and grow as a person and go give back to others.

A great friend of mine, Gary Loeb, says “People like to do business with people they like”. That is so very true. I’m not perfect at my studio, yet I know a genuine smile and a true laugh, and a heart full of appreciation goes a very long way. People do not like a grumpy dumpy. Yes, I may feel that I have many “opportunities” in a certain day or week, yet I can see the end results and see the growth experienced from the service given.

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I’m seeing how far I can go, and I want to go the full distance and fulfill my potential and give all that I have to give.

If you are a dancer, take the floor with gusto and always give your best on the dance floor. Always give a big smile and make ‘em smile and laugh. Be unforgettable when you dance and leave the audience wanting more, every time. Make sure your dance partner feels the magic coming from you, and that you both radiate passion, energy, and conviction and connection when you dance.

Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside.– Brian Tracy

The best imagining comes from a great heart. Imagine the Moon and the Stars and Go for the Gold in your life. Give the best service every day, dance the best with every step, listen with two ears, and return a request with a smile. Let your heart dream and see what great things happen in your life!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

When We Fail Blog 5-15-15

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No 20. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 15, 2015

When We Fail

When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not
sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your coveted
— Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American Motivational Speaker

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Have you ever failed? Have you ever fallen? Have you ever not made your goals? I have. I have missed the mark, given up, and thrown away my goals. I have felt defeated in my life. Not fun.

What did I do? “When God closes a door, he opens a window”. When I was in the dark night of the soul, with no hope and full of despair, I remembered the words of a great friend of mine “It will get better”. Those words would come back to me time and time again. During the times in my life that I was in darkness, I kept looking for that little light that would signal that all would be OK soon. I found that light.

What is now proved was once only imagined.
— William Blake (1757-1827) English Poet

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Now, I can say with full confidence that the light will return in your life. It will get better. There will be a more glorious day in your near future. You will make it.

As I grow, I realize that time will pass. On the mornings of the roughest days that I am facing, I think “tonight I will return home and the day will be done. I’ll make it!” That’s true. Time will pass and you will awaken the next day to see that you made it and you are OK and happy and healthy and you’re excited about what is ahead for you.

The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a
new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be
released and channeled toward some great good.
— Brian Tracy

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Gold comes in several karats, such as 10 karat, 14 karat, 18 karat and 24 karat. What is the difference? The Karat is a gold unit for purity. The purity of gold is done by acid testing. Impure gold is lowered into hydrochloric acid. Under the influence of a positive electric current, and the impurities fall away and the pure gold is produced.

Have you had the acid test in your life? What “karat” are you in life? Did you know that the electricity that passes through you while you are in the “acid test” is a “positive energy”, designed to make you pure?

The tests of life are not fun, but they make us stronger and make our hearts and minds more pure. As is said, the hotter the fire, the purer the gold. Remember that you are going to make it and that tomorrow is a fresh day!

Thank you,

David Woodbury

Dance in the Right Direction 5-8-15

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No 19. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dance in the Right Direction

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on
walking.– Buddhist Proverb

How many times have I turned a brand new couple around on the dance floor dancing the wrong direction? Foxtrot and Tango and Waltz going against the Line of Direction. They just did not know. They were gazing in each others eyes, oblivious to everyone around them and the havoc they were creating on the dance floor.

How many times have I been kicked by an advanced couple? The man is leading his partner every Gold school figure he knows while ramming his lady into many other dancers, stepping on many others and whacking fellow dancers in the head. He is in his “Dance Zone”. Nothing matters to him but to leading this poor woman into every step he has ever learned in 120 seconds. The tragedy is that this woman is usually a new lady who has had five or less dance lessons. The guy leaves the dance floor with his head held proud, thinking what a great job he did while the lady goes searching for an ice pack for her scraped ankle.

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Dancing has a skill named “Floor craft”. It is the ability to glide your partner around the dance floor never hitting another couple and never stepping on your own partner. The dancers know how to pause to let another couple pass, or completely stop to avoid a collision. They know the rules of dance and are wonderful to have on the ballroom floor. They are always facing the right direction!

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first
or last time.– Betty Smith (1897-1972) German/American Author and Writer

Always take the dance floor as if you were driving to the on ramp of the freeway, and then entering the fast moving traffic to your destination. Get a feel for others on the floor. Look out for the dancers who are “Texting” and not paying attention. Make sure your weight is over your feet and your partner is not underneath your feet. Know how to take care of your partner and be a good dancer with others on the floor.

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The force is within you.  Force yourself.– Harrison Ford (1942-) American Actor

It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.– Chinese proverb

How does this translate into life? Force yourself to be accountable to others, and rather than cursing the “bad dancers” of life, be a light and dispel the darkness around you.

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If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.
— David Viscott

Have courage. If you are not facing the right direction in your life, get a mentor who will turn you the right way. Remember, everyone loves dancing with a great dancer who creates magic on the dance floor. Also, remember, people love doing business with people they like. Find your true North in life and move forward and help other along the way.

Thank You,

David Earl Woodbury

Believe in Someone! 5-1-15

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No 18. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 1, 2015

Believe in Someone!

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.
— David Viscott

Most Loved 2015 Arthur Murray Santa Monica

Sometimes, we have to be the courage that helps someone else begin. This is how it is in dancing. First, we ask our partner to dance with us. We extend a hand and a smile. We allow our partner to take her dance position and then we begin to move with the music. We guide the steps we have learned in perfect order, giving the best lead and using our floorcraft to safely guide us around the dance floor. At the end, we thank our partner and wish for the next moment where we may dance again together.

In life, not everyone is a leader. A leader’s responsibility in life is to lend a hand to others who might need a little extra care to help them along their way in life.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly
smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration
that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him
and is willing to trust him with his friendship.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American Poet and Essayist

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Once, I was at mile 13 of the San Francisco Marathon 1986. For some reason, I was not having a good run. I was sick and felt tired and just wanted to start walking, perhaps even not finish the race. Behind me I began to hear laughter and a couple of male voices gleefully chatting together. As they passed me, I noticed their T-shirts, “Achilles’ Track Club” and I saw one man had his right hand on his partner’s shoulder. He was blind running a marathon with his pacer.

I was humiliated. Here I was, sighted, and I was complaining that I was not feeling well. As the blind runner and his pacer passed me and ran on, I gave myself a little talking to. I straightened up, started running faster, and I put my bad attitude to rest. I ran a great next 13 miles, and I did see the blind Achille’s runner at the finish line, he had run much faster and beat me.

Mary Hudgen's Scarf 4-30-15
What does it mean to become a better man? A great man?    A great man
is largely forgotten by the public. He doesn’t stand on top of a
mountain waving a flag saying, “Look at me悠’m a great man.” A great
man often disappears into the ether. Hardly anyone notices that he
was even there, apart from his family and close friends. He was
reliable. He showed up. He was there. He was useful where he could
be. He made mistakes. Tried to make better of those mistakes. Doesn’t
mean you have to cure cancer or understand the theory of relativity.
It’s not necessarily as rock-and-roll or as cool as you might think.
Part of being a great man is accepting that. To dare to be average
and normal is actually a pathway to becoming a great man. To have
more humility. To accept responsibility more. To just get on with
what’s in front of your face.
— Tom Hardy, Actor, interview with Details magazine

I want to be a great man. Now I know that means I must help others realize their own greatness and help others achieve their goals. Guess what? That’s so fulfilling and so much fun and so easy. Imagine living a life just to see others grow and realize their full potentials in their lives.

Monsignor Torgerson 4-29-15

Get out on the dance floor and reach out a hand and say “May I have this dance?” Try it in life as well. Reach out a hand to someone and believe in them!

Thank you,

David Woodbury