Where are we going? 6-26-15

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No 26. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, June 26, 2015

Half Way Through 2015! Where are we going?

So many opportunities are coming our way here at Arthur Murray Santa Monica. Every day another door opens for us to share the love of dance here in beautiful Santa Monica.

Where are we at the half-way mark for this year? We are on a roll. We have finished our planning for 2015 and we have solidified our calendar through June 2016. Every month we have something spectacular to look forward to and something great to keep us excited.

Take time to laugh – it is the music of the soul. — Japanese proverb

What’s our secret? I think it’s the face that we laugh a lot in Santa Monica Arthur Murray. I hear the joyful sounds of personal sessions, groups, and dance parties and the laughter of staff and students filling the whole space. Everyone who visits us says that they love our atmosphere and how welcome they feel here. I’m so grateful to our staff for always making our school a happy place. Our students love coming here.

He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger. — From an old English prayer.

I have found that when I walk through our fun-filled ballroom with a smile, that everyone smiles back. Guess what? Everything does not have to be perfect to smile. Just do it and you’ll get through any rough times, and you’ll have a happier day.


Has your first half of 2015 gone as planned? I know someone who is still lost in the middle of this year. My heart aches for them. I know some who are having a hard time trying to find their way. On the other hand, I know many, many friends who are on fire in their lives. They are mighty agents of service. They know what they are able to give to others and they serve without fear.

When I’m around those who are lost, in a fog, in their heads and having a struggle, I want to surround them with the circle of friends that are in my life. Leaders, mentors, innovators, planners, organizers, thinkers, and generally those who live to make a difference in life. These people will change your life if you hang around them, and if you work with them, your ability to serve and lead mushrooms and grows daily. The only fog I want in my life is the wonderful afternoon fog that rolls into Santa Monica each late evening, cooling off our city with the clean and cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean.

Beth and David 6-10-15

I can’t wait for the second half of this year. It’s hard to sleep sometimes with the many dance events that we have coming up in the near and upcoming months. I’m happy with my life at Arthur Murray Santa Monica. Thanks to our students who make this wonderful life possible. I promise to be my best for you and to make sure that your life is transformed through dancing at Arthur Murray.

Enjoy the second half of this amazing year!
Happy Dancing,
David Woodbury

Make Up Your Mind 6-19-15

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No 25. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, June 19, 2015

Make Up Your Mind

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work
hard at work worth doing.
— Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th President of the United States

Imagine walking up to Joshua Bell, famous violinist, and say “You are working too hard. Slow down and enjoy life a bit. Don’t practice so much”. Or saying to an Olympic marathoner, swimmer, sprinter, weight lifter “Slow down, you’re going to burn out!”. Would you tell a great brain surgeon “I bet you regret all those 24 hour shifts as an intern”. Would you have gone up to the Golden State Warriors and said “Hey guys, slow down and relax. Don’t take this so seriously”.

I don’t think that any of us would ever say these things to any of the great conductors, composers, athletes, physicians, leaders, mentors, or any champion of today. We know that no greatness is ever achieved without sacrifice and passion and commitment and a 100% focus on the plan and goal we have ahead of us.

You sort of come face to face with your own values at some point,
where you can walk away or do something about it.
— Scott Neeson, who left the presidency of Sony Pictures to found a nonprofit helping very poor children in Cambodia

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Someone recently told me that their goal was too hard, took too much time, and was not what they wanted. My heart sank. I can only thank God for what I am learning every day in my life and for the great opportunities that are coming my way, moment by moment. Yes the road is long, and sometimes hard, but the good times are precious and the rewards are priceless. I welcome the many, many lessons that I am learning today and the opportunities I am given to grow daily.

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Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to.  But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.– Sir Douglas Bader was a British fighter pilot who lost both legs in a flying accident, but still fought in World War Two. He was knighted for his work with the disabled, and the quote above is from his talk to a 14-year-old boy who had lost a leg in a car accident.

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The great ballroom dancers of today will tell you the secrets of their success. First, they love to dance. Second, they love to PRACTICE. As Christy Melgoza says, “Practice makes permanent”, and that’s the truth. Champions have an incredible work ethic and great discipline. They do not give up. They take defeats in stride and are stronger as they continue to improve.
Determine that a thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find
the way.– Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 16th President of the United States

When we go to a concert and hear the great singers of the world, we never think of the road that got them to that stage. The countless hours of practice, the rejection they have experienced in competitions. The many auditions. The successes, the failures. The rough times. We just purchase our tickets and enjoy the magic that they deliver to their audiences.

It is right to be content with what we have, never with what we are.
— James Mackintosh (1765-1832) Scottish Statesman, Historian

I don’t think I’m ‘there’ in my life yet. So much character building left, so much to learn, so much to experience, so many more leaders and mentors to learn from. Then, I have my dreams as a leader, franchisee, writer, speaker, motivator, friend, husband, team member, and passions to be all that I can be in my life.

Make up your mind, live in greatness and don’t be afraid of a little hard work. See you in the winner’s circle!

Happy Dancing,

David Woodbury


It’s Better to Dream and Work

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No 24. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, June 12, 2015

It’s better to Dream and Work.

It is good to dream, but it is better to dream and work.  Faith is
mighty, but action with faith is mightier.– Thomas Robert Gaines

I have big dreams. I want Arthur Murray Santa Monica to be a place where all are welcome. I want our

studio to have a very high standard of dance and to be a place where our student can come in and

feel welcome all day. The most important ingredient is our Arthur Murray service that we offer to all who walk in our doors.

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Our dreams are big, yet we are making them come alive by lots and lots of hard work and service. Yes, we believe we can achieve our goals with faith, yet our faith is laced with action in every form.

I have resolved from this day on, I will do all the business I can
honestly, have all the fun I can reasonably, do all the good I can
willingly, and save my digestion by thinking pleasantly.
— Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish Novelist

Honestly, reasonably and willingly. These are important ingredients to make it all come together. Being Visible, being Easy, being Useful, being Ready. I live by these four points.

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
— English proverb

We are not seeking an easy road or a smooth path. We are seeking to be our best under all circumstances and also training others to know how to be their best. In ballroom dancing, the key is floor time. Dancing as much as you can to get to know the “rules of the road” and how to dance on a crowded floor maintaining floorcraft and poise.

Now that our studio is growing, we are seeing our staff advancing and maturing and seeing achievable goals for themselves in the future. Being able to discover ability in others is the true test in owning a business. How to train the next person to replace you so you may move on to a higher calling and a stronger path is the greatest achievement in any ballroom dance center.

As I write this, I am once again going into new arenas of growth in my own life. I can see the future, and it is a bright one. It is full of great achievements achievable by lots and lots of hard work and perseverance. I am not afraid. I am happy to not be in a rut in my life and lost in a comfort zone that is pulling me down into mediocrity.

Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles but in
avoiding them.  A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.
— Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) American Methodist Minister

Bring on the opportunities. Please give me the wisdom to not make too many mistakes and know how to move both forward and backwards with grace and poise. Help me to use the knowledge and common sense that I have, and also to ask help from others.

Remember, you can have it all with hard work, consistent service, and a willingness to help others realized their dreams as they travel with you.

Happy Dancing,

David Woodbury

Choose the Bolder Path! Blog 6-5-15

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No 23. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, June 5, 2015

Choose the Bolder Path!

When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced
courses of action you should take – choose the bolder.– W.J. Slim

My life has never been the easy life. I’ve always lived with some type of turmoil around me and have always had challenges. When I grew up, my mom was sick with cancer for years and I still remember my fantastic “J.Clair” mom before medication and surgery robbed her of her strength.

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It seemed that life was tough in my early and late teens. The day magic entered my life was the day I walked into an Arthur Murray Dance Center and my new life began. I found a new family and new calling in my life. Later in years, both of my parents danced and my wonderful mother, who had overcome cancer, finally fulfilled her dream and took lessons with me in Phoenix. She was amazing and a natural dancer. She said her dancing was one of the best experiences of her life.

In Phoenix, I experienced a decade of working in the “Camelot” school for Arthur Murray. We were the #1 Arthur Murray in the country. It was magic. I had my big career as a champion teacher and I also became a marathoner and cyclist. Being a runner opened up the door for me to find my first great love and then move to Santa Monica, CA.

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Here in Los Angeles, I learned many lessons. Managing and owning my own school. My life was perfect in every respect. My parents were my heroes and I was happy in my home life. Then, within two years my parents died and my partner of 16 years died in my arms from cancer. I sold my school and was lost for a while.

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As the dark night of the soul began to fill with light, I found myself coaching and teaching and coming alive again. After many years of transition, my life had come around. Today, I am married to my best friend, I am a Franchisee again with Arthur Murray, and my life is full of hopes and dreams every day.

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American Poet and Essayist

I want it to be said about me “I was happy to serve”. Today, I hope that my life is an example to others that you can come back and live your dreams and dream big in life. I want to encourage others to fulfill all their goals in their lives. Arthur Murray has been a wonderful life for me for 39 years and I look forward to many, many more years of dancing with a company that I love and respect.

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Live your life so others hear you by your actions. Let your actions be your words. Don’t be afraid. It will get better.

Happy Dancing,

David Woodbury