No 38 9-21-18 “We will never give up”

Joel and Family 9-17-18
Joel Rieck and Family 9-17-18

“There is a sense of exhilaration that comes from facing head-on the hard truths and saying, “We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.” – Jim Collins, from his book, Good to Great (1958) American business consultant

Ever want to give up or give in? Have you ever been so tired you just quit trying? Has the road been rough and too hard to move forward? It is hard to face the hard truths head-on, but we must, and we will. I know that some truths take a lifetime to realize, but we must not let go and quit. There is always a way to prevail.

“Unswerving loyalty to duty, constant devotion to truth, and a clear conscience will overcome every discouragement and surely lead the way to usefulness and high achievement.” – Grover Cleveland (1837 – 1908) 24th President of the United States

Doing our daily duties with devotion leads to a conscience that says I have done my best today and I am not discouraged. I am of some use today to someone. Every time Joel and I walk home from church, I always say “I felt of use today”. After an especially busy mass and being a part of the entire service, I find that I am greatly fulfilled and full of peace. I had the satisfaction knowing that I was useful and needed and I feel the achievement that comes from doing my best.

“The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) Scottish Writer

Through many years of dance competitions, showcases, events, benefits and all types of ballroom shows, I truly know that nothing would have happened without the help of many, many workers and those who put in far more hours than they were getting paid for. They are truly like streams of life making the event come to pass. I know many other“veins of water” who I see every week making the ground green beneath my feet, and the feet of many others.

“No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle and good, without the world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.” – Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American Bishop

Lucky me that I have chosen a partner who is kind, fair, helpful, gentle and good to the core and someone who truly blesses and helps everyone he encounters. When I am feeling (and acting) grumpy, Joel is still there with a sweet tone in his voice and an enthusiastic greeting for everyone around him. I feel that existence of his goodness and realize that there is hope for us all and that I still have a warm smile in my heart always ready to give to others.

Never give up. I won’t, and I will never give up my hopes and dreams. I’ll never go to the dark side and I’ll always move toward the light and fill myself with light and give light to others. Do you know someone like this in your life? Tell them you love them and give them a smile and a hug. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 38 9-14-18 “Obscure Heroes”

Buy Local 9-8-18 Group Photo


“Man’s greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes – obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes.”

– Victor Hugo

(1802-1885) French Writer

Have you had a hero in your life? My dad was my hero in every way. When he passes away, next to his bed stand was a marble stand I gave him with a brass plate that read “You are my life’s hero”. He loved that gift and it was always next to his bed.

What made him great? Daddy was a leader, and a man of service. Everyone knew him through his great dedication and participation in many, many organizations. Daddy was also a hero to me in the consistent daily things that he did to build character and faith.

There are truly many battlefields in life and many trials and going through these trials and coming out the other side a greater person is what I saw my dad do throughout his entire life. I’d give a nickel for 5 minutes to chat with him today. I am becoming more and more like him every year, and I’m proud to do so.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

– George Eliot

(1819-1880) English Novelist

When can you become a hero? Is it ever too late? As I have just passed 62, I have learned that getting up in the morning, getting ready for work, and planning a day of service to others is an act of courage. Doing the small things well daily, overcoming in the minor struggles of the day, being consistent, never giving up, always trying to overcome is truly an act of heroism. If you don’t believe this, just remember your grandmother and your mother and how they were there for you every day. Perhaps this is someone else in your life that never let you down and they always had a good word for you with a smile and lots of love. They are all your heroes.

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

– W.J. Slim (1891 – 1970 )

British military commander

To be a hero, we must choose the bolder way…always. The easy way does not last and does not help us grow. The harder, more challenging road always makes us stronger and wiser and more successful in life. Once we take the high road daily, we find that the easy challenges are a cinch to overcome. Then the truly rough obstacles are manageable, and we will not give up too easily.

“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

Being my father’s son, I do try to take the initiative in all areas of my life. I try to have the best imagination and offer the best ideas whenever needed. I don’t have to try to have individuality, my mom J. Clair, took care of that for me. She was a true individual and I follow in her footsteps in that area. As for independence, I try to life that part of my life by giving service to others. I believe that we are only free when we are always trying to help and guide others. Truly for me, that is when I am independent and free in my life.

Don’t fret the minor struggles, you are becoming an illustrious hero!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 36 9-7-18 “To Discover Ability in Others”

Tish, Laurel, Joel and David 9-6-18

“It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.”

– Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)

American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher

Today as an older dancer, I love to discover the great new dancers of today and help them grow and mature to their full potential. What a joy to see a new first-time dancer and see that they have great possibilities and a knack for learning and a great ability to dance. To see a young professional dancer and visualize that they will be great is the future is very exciting.

Many times, a new dance student comes in with no experience and they think that they have no ability or talent. The first thing is to show them that they were able to walk or drive in which is much harder than dancing. For having rhythm, they naturally have a heartbeat that keeps a steady beat for a lifetime. They breathe in and out naturally with a graceful rhythm that is second nature.

The goal at Arthur Murray is to show the four basic elements and building blocks of dancing and how easy it will be for them to learn. When I see someone dancing, I only see the greatness inside of them. It’s my job to show THEM the natural greatness they already possess and how to use their current skills and build on them. This transference of confidence to new dancers is one the great joys in my life.

“No obstacles fell in his way that seemed to him insurmountable. He might be defeated, as he sometimes was, but he shrank from no hardship through impatience, he fled from no danger through cowardice.”

– J. P. Morgan writing about Napoleon Bonaparte

Perhaps a dancer will think they just don’t have the ability to dance. It is our mission to show the doubting novice that through patience they will learn, and with courage they will succeed. Perhaps this is the goal as a mentor, to uplift and guide others to greatness and build rock-solid confidence.

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

American Poet and Essayist

Many times, in my life I have heard that our actions are sometimes the only books that others will ever read. We may speak any truth we wish, but our actions speak who we are in our hearts. Others read us and our actions daily and they know us from our actions and trust us on what we do. Since Joel and I life a mile from our school, we truly must live the Arthur Murray lifestyle wherever we go. We see our students at the market, at mass, on walks, at the beach or the Promenade. We drive as if the other drivers were our newest students. We treat everyone we meet as if they were “reading” our lives through our actions. This is a great privilege and a great challenge to maintain daily.

Challenge for the day, let others read the book of life through your actions and always try to see the ability and greatness in others.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 35 8-31-18 “Go out and do something kind for somebody”

“When you find yourself overpowered, as it were, by melancholy, the best way is to go out and do something kind for somebody.”

– John Keble (1792 – 1866)

English Clergyman and Poet

Have you ever had melancholy? I have. I have had times I could not get up and get out. I’ve had times I could not move and communicate. Sorry, but I think I’m not alone. I have been crippled by this cloud of darkness. And now, at 62 I have found the answer to this, giving service to others. It is my drug, my new lease on life, my freedom, my balm in Gilead. Now, the reward from doing something kind to someone else is better than silver or gold.

“I want to remind you that success in life is based on hard slogging. There will be periods when discouragement is great and upsetting, and the antidote for this is calmness and fortitude and a modest yet firm belief in your competence. Be sure that your priorities are in order so that you can proceed in a logical manner, and be ever mindful that nothing will take the place of persistence.”

– Walter Annenberg, Publisher and philanthropist (1908 – 2002 )

Persistence, my key word in life. I also love the phrase “hard slogging”. Oh, I wish the days were easier sometimes, but they are what they are, and life gives us what we need when we need it. During discouragement, I try to be calm, refrain from speaking quickly, and I try to remember the good home training I have, and I try to use it! Persistence, live by it!

“Never speak of yourself to others; make them talk about themselves instead: therein lies the whole art of pleasing.”

What’s the kindness thing you can do for someone? Listen to their story. Don’t interrupt, just hear them out. Let them talk. This is so hard for me because I sometimes actually believe they want to hear about me, but they don’t. It’s all about others and listening to them. To truly please someone else, just close the mouth and listen to them. Who knows, you might learn something, have a good laugh, and have your friendship deepen!

“I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail.”

– Charles A. Beard (1874 – 1948)

American historians

To tell you the truth, I have been in a bog for a few months. I’ve felt tired, fat, and I’m having my 62-year-old physical, not fun! Just recently, I have been feeling better, more productive and fuller of hope. I do know that during these rough times in my life, that I am developing that noble strength and growing as a man of service.

“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

Let’s practice this. This is our motto: “It will get better” …and it will! Don’t give up. Keep on going. You will find a way. Hey, go be kind to someone, you’ll love it!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 34 8-24-18 “Doing the Right Thing” Changing Lives Through Dancing!

“I have the right to do anything I want, but is that always the right thing to do?”

David Woodbury – Arthur Murray Professional

In ballroom dancing, we have a concept on the dance floor called Floorcraft. This is how couples dance Quickstep, Tango, Paso Doble, and Cha Cha on a crowded floor. The rule of dance is that we do not crash into or step on or bump into our fellow dancers on the floor and that we maintain decorum on the floor.

When there is a bump, the correct behavior is to pause, apologize and see if the other couple is OK. When all is determined to be well, the dance continues. We do not elbow anther couple, kick them, step on them, or push them. In fact, when watching a Quickstep competition, is sometimes seems like a runway with the planes positioning before they take off at full speed. It is a fascinating thing to watch!

Are these dance rules always followed? I once saw a Standard couple knock a judge over into the lights. The music stopped, and silence fell over the whole ballroom. The judge was slowly helped up and to my great surprise, she continued to judge the event and finished the evening of judging ahead of her. I will always remember that she had the right to react to what happened, but she responded with grace and poise.

What if the rules of the ballroom dance floor applied to our daily lives? What if we always looked out for the other person, carried ourselves with grace and poise, stopped to see if the other person is OK if we knock into them? Perhaps in some ways we already do this, just like walk through Grand Central Terminal in NYC. We all manage hopefully to make it peacefully to our destinations.

In relationships, I do have the right to say or do anything I want at any time. Does that mean that is the right thing to do? The answer is often no and if I exhibit destructive behavior, this is a withdrawal from the relationship, friendship, from those around me and even though I have done what I had the right to do, I have done the wrong thing. Once the withdrawals are made from the other person, sometimes it’s too late to make a deposit and there remains emptiness.

Every day, I am free to do what I want, say what I want and be what I want to be. It is my right as a person. I have now learned at 62 that does not mean that I am doing the right thing, and my incorrect behavior can be very destructive to others.

What is the solution? The answer in my life always comes back to service. Am I doing, saying, and acting the right way to make others uplifted around me? Am I giving the best daily that I can to others. During the periods of my life when it was just about me all the time, I was very empty and unfulfilled. I “got my way” and “did what I wanted” but I was not happy, I was not free, I was miserable.

Now, perhaps I sacrifice tiny moments of my life and let others be right instead of just me. Rather than defensively standing up just for myself, I allow others to feel right and listen to their viewpoint and I try to listen more than I speak. Instead of thinking of my own reply while someone else is speaking, I will listen and wait and respond rather than react.

Giving service and striving to be a good mentor in life requires practice, patience, perseverance, but not perfection. Do I always now say and do the right thing? I can only say that now I do take a moment, pause before speaking, and listen from the heart to what others are saying.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 33 8-17-18 “Good friendships are fragile things”

2018-06-07 08.23.22“Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any other fragile and precious thing.”

– Randolph S. Bourne (1886 – 1918) American Writer

After 42 years with Arthur Murray Dance Centers, I now have a lifetime of my dancing friends, and they are truly my family. These are precious and fragile relationships. All of us have gone through thick and thin, success and failure, sadness and happiness, health and illness, and we have stuck together for decades.

On the other hand, there are some friendships that have shattered like a precious vase, like a broken like a picture frame. These are the tragedies and losses of life and are very sad. Sometimes a cross word has caused a riff, a callous gesture, a blunt conversation, and repair is possible but not probable with some of these lost relationships. I always hope that at any time, especially at Lent that healing will happen and I always pray for that healing.

“Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.”

– Frederick William Faber (1814 – 1863) English Priest and Hymn Writer

Many, many of my life-long friendships truly began with a hello. Or a compliment, or a dance, or an introduction. That thread was stronger than steel and a golden thread of love has been woven throughout our years of knowing each other. The sadness I feel for the relationships where the thread has broken, is that the reconciliation may never happen, but I never lose hope!

“I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.”

– Pete Egoscue (1945) Founder of Physical Therapy Method ‘The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion’

We just celebrated our 5th year of ownership of the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica. I never thought it would be easy. In fact, I cannot believe how hard it was at time and still is to this day. But, it is worth it. The personal change I have experienced over the years has been fantastic and I have grown and matured 100 times over from when we started. Easy no, worth it, YES!

“The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.”

– Margaret Fontey (1919 – 1991) English ballerina

At one time, I thought I was very serious about my career. I began to believe what others graciously said about me and I began to believe that I had arrived and that I “had it all”. Then I quit growing. Today, I am surrounded by many mentors and guides, and leaders who constantly correct and guide me. Today, I truly take my career seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. My mom, J. Clair, always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart”. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you have a joyous laughter in your voice and you’re focused on service to others.

“We cheerfully assume that in some mystic way love conquers all, that good outweighs evil in the just balances of the universe and that at the eleventh hour something gloriously triumphant will prevent the worst before it happens.”

– Brooks Atkinson (1894 – 1984) American theatre critic

This magic does happen in my life. Somehow, at the eleventh hour, things do seem to work out. I once worried so much, almost to the point of illness. Then I realized that the sun would rise in the morning and no matter what happened, there would be a new dawn in the morning. So now, I cherish my friends and family, pray for the broken threads that need to be mended, and I try to laugh every day.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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No 32 8-10-18 “To Give Real Service”

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Donald A. Adams (1925) former president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

When was the last time you had great service? At Arthur Murray, we practice the Cadillac Treatment with our students. We concentrate on the 90/10 theory. 90 percent of the lessons are geared for the student and 10 percent is the instructor’s opportunity to be a great Arthur Murray professional.

At Arthur Murray Santa Monica, we place our staff above all in our training and service. Why do we do that? A happy, well trained, and professional staff give the best service daily to all their student for they feel that they are important, fulfilled, and happy to be the best in all areas. I love to enter an establishment where the staff is happy and likes their workplace and their fellow staff and even their owners. A great student of mine once said that management is not a skill, it is an art form. Our entire business theme is set up in one word, Hospitality, and we strive to practice that every day!

“Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.” – Stanley Baldwin (1867 – 1947) Former British Prime Minister

Arthur Murray Dance Centers are a hub of enthusiastic, happy, fun-loving people. You’ll be at an Arthur Murray event and hear lots of laughter and see lots of smiles. The big common denominator is the great enthusiasm shared by all. Loving your hobby or work is such a key to joy in life. What a joy to receive great service from someone who says that they love their occupation and they receive their own satisfaction from a job well done. If dancing is your hobby or profession, you always want to do your best.

“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.” – Erastus Wiman (1834 – 1904) Canadian journalist and businessman

I recently read about the three keys to success in business: Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind! I once thought that someone who was kind in business was a sap or unsuccessful. As years have passed, I’ve met many, many successful women and men who were truly nice and kind people. They were loved by many and they respected by all. They were smart, savvy, and leaders in their fields, and they remained as courteous people.

As a young boy, I remember walking down Church Street with my dad in Nashville, Tennessee, and everyone said, “Hi Troy” “Hello Colonel Woodbury” “Hello Mr. Woodbury”. Everyone new and loved and respected my dad. He was a man first of faith, great in business, and involved in service. At my dad’s funeral, so many groups came to honor him. He seemed to be a part of every organization in Nashville. This had a profound impact on me and now, I am turning into my dad and learning how to give service to others as he did. In dad’s last years, he had a marble base on this bedside table with a brass plaque that read “You are my life’s hero”. He truly and was and still is my hero until today.

Service, I strive to learn what it truly means and to be the best at giving it. I come from the place of service with a giving heart and a willingness to learn and to be better in all areas of my life.

Try this, go to a friend, a client, your partner in life, a stranger, and ask them, “What may I do to may this a great day for you?” You’ll be surprised at the smiles that will come over their faces and the opportunities you will have to inspire others.

 Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

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