Believing in Others 8-18-15

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No 33. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 18, 2015

Believing in Others!

While watching dancers compete, I am always blown away by the commitment, energy, drive, and preparation from the dancers. They have first come together to be a team. They have mastered the art of organization. They plan their practices, their lessons, their competitions and travel and all the many, many aspects that go into competition.

They budget for their costumes and their entry fees. Many of the top competitors are also top instructors, studio executives, guest directors, franchisees, and some are also dance judges themselves. They are masters with their own calendars, their shared daily planners, their diets, their exercise, their daily practicing, and their discipline.

Men can be stimulated to show off their good qualities to the leader
who seems to think they have good qualities.
— John Richelsen

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How can you not believe in the couples as they dance round after round, and heat after heat of dances? They are fully in the moment and they are one with each other, the music, the judges, and their audience. There is magic being created on the floor. They are creating energy right in front of you and a floor full of these magnificent couples is a sight to behold.

It teaches the strong to know when they are weak and the brave to
face themselves when they are afraid. To be proud and unbowed in
defeat yet humble and gentle in victory. And to master ourselves
before we attempt to master others. And to learn to laugh, yet never
forget how to weep. And to give the predominance of courage over
— General Douglas MacArthur, on the virtues of competitive athletics.

Most dancers who make it to the top are awesome people. They have paid their dues, they have earned the right to be champions. In a final round of the top partnerships, you will find that they are all perfectly groomed, perfectly polished and rehearsed, and they are on top when it comes to decorum and manners. They have mastered the art of Floorcraft on and off the dance floor.

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
— J. Andrews

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The life of man is like a game with dice; if you don’t get the throw
you want, you must show your skill in making the best of the throw
you get.

— Terence

If you do the best you can, you will find, nine times out of ten,
that you have done as well as or better than anyone else.
— William Feather (1889-1981) American Author and Publisher

Some couples compete for many years before they make it to the top. They dance many, many years of competition and they the floodgates of success open up to them and they have their great season of victories. They might come in second many, many times before reaching the first place. They may have a tough competition, rough floor, bad health, hard times, yet they persevere. They continue to do their best and they find that the only real magic is reaping the rewards of hours and hours, months and years of preparation and practice.

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Perhaps the name of this blog should be “Believing in Yourself”. If you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love someone else? That’s a great motto. Champion ballroom dance teams often go on to great careers in coaching, judging, designing, performing, and mentoring other dancers. They have a career for life and some are living legends.

Right actions for the future are the best apologies for wrong ones in
the past.
— Tyron Edwards

Plan for the future, believe in others, but most of all, believe in yourself!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

TIME IS SHORT! 3-27-15 David Earl Woodbury

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No 13. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 27, 2015

Time is Short!
You, enlightened, self-sufficient, self-governed, endowed with gifts
above your fellows, the world expects you to produce as well as to
consume, to add to and not to subtract from its store of good, to
build up and not to tear down, to ennoble and not degrade. The time
is short, the opportunity is great; therefore, crowd the hours with
the best that is in you.
— John Hibben, president of Princeton University, 1913 graduation address

The championships, the money, the color; all of these things linger
only in the memory.  It is the spirit, the will to excel, the will to win; these are the things that endure.
— Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) American Football Coach

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Don’t you hate it when you go to the fridge and reach in the back for a bag of lettuce. You’re so excited to find it and your hungry. You pull it out and feel “squish” and hold up a bag of sour, brown, lettuce goo. It’s 3 weeks past the expiration date. You don’t dare open it for the smell would permeate the whole house. You waited too late.

Opportunities are like produce. Use it or lose it. What about the old lemons and apples and bananas we find. How many sour gallons of milk have we thrown out? Yuck.

I love to come back from the market with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, apples, bananas, and then make a wonderful salad and have a perfect banana for my morning cereal with fresh milk. There’s nothing like fresh food. Buy it, use it quickly, enjoy it!

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Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.
— Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)  7th President of the United States

That’s how it is with life. We must take action. I have post notes everywhere (and a pair of glasses on every table) and everywhere a pen. I wake up from a deep sleep to write out my idea from my dream on a piece of paper. I have post notes all over my bathroom mirror, my office monitor, my fridge, my desk. Ideas are all over the place.

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What I hate is the idea that I did not write down. The note that I cannot read and cannot remember. The lost opportunity, the lost inspiration, the lost moment. Grab hold of your ideas and make them come alive. If I live 50 more years, I will not have enough time to listen to all the music I love, to read all the books I crave, cook all the dishes I want to prepare, and meet all the people I want to meet all over the world. Life has to be lived NOW!

You want to dance? Learn ALL the dances. Come in for lessons as much as many times as you are able. Do it all. Live it all. Experience it all. Life is short.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.-Nelson Mandela

If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!– Jonathan Winters

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Take a chance. Be a “fresh produce” kind of person. Live your life to the max. Take action today. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Today is the day to make life happen for you!


David Woodbury

Never Give Up 2-27-15

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No 9. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 27, 2015

David Woodbury

Never Give Up!

Being defeated is often only a temporary condition. Giving up is what
makes it permanent.– Marilyn vos Savant  1946-NA

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

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.– Babe Ruth

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.– Florence Nightingale

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The day after we signed our lease for the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Santa Monica,

I had 10 workmen in the studio at 8 AM the next morning.

The electricians were working in the back of the new studio. At 8:15 I was startled as Carlos came running up to the front yelling in Spanish and dripping wet from head to toe. I ran to the back and Carlos had cut through the building’s water main and the space was flooding!

We were all yelling and the men began pulling out ceiling tiles and looking for the cut off valves. We turned every valve we could find off and finally the water stopped.  The back of our now ballroom was flooded, the walls were ruined, and carpet was damaged, and water was flowing into the building’s basement.

Being my mother’s son, I stopped everyone and paused. “Is everyone OK?” I asked.

They all said yes. The plumber began his assessment to fix the pipe. I said “Let’s thank God we are all OK and continue our work.”

That was in the first 15 minutes of the build out.  In 33 days, we were done with paint, plumbing, electrical, flooring, music and furniture and we opened Arthur Murray in Santa Monica.

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Did I give up?  NO! Was I shaken, YES.  Have I felt defeated at times? I think that with so much responsibility, we all feel defeated every once in a while. But I did find a way to prevail and make it happen.

Has the studio grown? Why YES! We are 100% better this year over our startup year. Has it been fast enough for me? I plead the 5th on that question.

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This is my reality. I am accountable and not a victim.  Everything in my life has led to this moment in time for me.  The good, the bad. The challenges and the victories, all have made me the successful man that I am today. I do not have excuses, I have opportunities and open doors wherever I look. It seems that every day I enter the studio, something wonderful happens each day to make our studio even more fantastic than it already was.  My great partners, our incredible staff, and our beautiful students.

Life is short. We are breathing; we have food, a place to sleep, faith, family, friends. We are all so blessed. No, I will not give up, today, tomorrow, or in the future.

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Never give up, never give in. Be a lighthouse for those around you. Be the leader and mentor that others are looking for. Become a hero for someone who needs a boost and a friend to someone who needs guidance.

Never give up.

David Woodbury

The Truth About Dancing 11-21-14

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No 46 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 21, 2014

The truth about dancing…It’s good for you!

When I am dancing, I am happy and healthy. When I am dancing nothing hurts and there is no pressure in my life. Time stops when I dance, and when I continue to dance, time reverses and I get younger, healthier, and happier. Dancing is magic for me.

We all get report cards in many different ways, but the real
excitement of what you’re doing is in the doing of it. It’s not what
you’re gonna get in the end – it’s not the final curtain – it’s
really in the doing it, and loving what I’m doing.– Designer Ralph Lauren

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Now I dance for the fun of it. Even in competition, I just want to please my partner and the audience. I want them to love the dance as much as we do. The joy of dancing is what fuels me these days. Yes, there have been many, many lessons and shows and competitions to get me to this point, but here I am. Doing it because I love it.

Are you angry? Have you had a bad day, having troubles, fed up? Well, save it all up and come in and dance a Tango. Let it all out on the dance floor. Are you full of passion, come in and dance a Rumba or a Bolero. Dance the dance of love and put your feelings into the rumba motion. Need a lift, dance the Swing, need to relax, do the Waltz. No matter what you need, there is a dance to satisfy you in every way.

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by
deserting our ideals.– Samuel Ullman

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Dancing will keep you young all your life! How many times have we seen young men panting after just a few dances, and on the dance floor is a couple in their 80’s dancing every dance of every set. They can Cha Cha, Waltz, Swing, and Salsa. They never get tired and they are the sweethearts of the dance floor. Young people have to stop from fatigue as they watch the older couple with amazement and envy.

I have danced with many, many older dancers who have the heart and soul of young lions. They have passion, drive, vision, and energy. They can dance many hours in the day and at night they want to dance some more. I have had children of my older students try to get them to quit their lessons. They were afraid their mom’s would go though their inheritance and live forever! Also, I’ve seen children who supported their elderly parents in their dancing, and the parents danced for many, many happy and healthy years. Their inheritance was the joy of seeing their parents so joyous and vigorous in their later years.

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it’s not
going to go away.– Elvis Presley

You want the truth? Dancing is fun, good for you, and will keep you mobile and in good health for a long time. Know someone who dances, then encourage them to dance for the rest of their lives.

David Woodbury

Next Week: More Passion than Problems

Give Somebody a Boost! 11-14-14

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No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 14, 2014

Give Somebody a Boost!

Many people believe that support is something that you give to
someone you feel sorry for or that it means propping up someone who
would fail unless you were there to give him a boost. But that’s not
the way I see it. Support is the boost you can give someone who can
help himself but who needs a partner to open a window or push aside a
roadblock.– Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s

I had a student in Scottsdale, AZ many years ago. She was amazing. She spoke 6 languages and had traveled all over the world. She had lived through two world wars. Once, during the blitz, she left her husband and 3 children at home and went to the market. After the air raid, upon her return, she found that where her home had been was a huge crater. All had been lost. Later in the war, she parachuted out of planes and in the fields, built earthen ovens and baked bread for the soldiers.

With all her resources, education and life experience, she told me this, “You can only wear one coat at a time”. I never forgot her words. This was an amazing woman. She taught me what truly mattered in life.

Money is a “way of keeping score in life,” says T. Boone Pickens. But
that is just for those who like playing the game. The real goal is to
live with grace and dignity. You can do that with a small amount of
money…or not do it with a fortune.– Bill Bonner, financial journalist

There is much satisfaction in work well done, but there can be no
happiness equal to the joy of finding a heart that understands.– Victor Robinsoll

Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time
and you’ve lost part of your life.– Michael Leboeuf

After 38 years with Arthur Murray, I am finding out that my call in life is now service. Giving back from the abundance that has been given to me over the years. An amazing thing is happening to me right now. I am finding that I am surrounded by others who thing, feel, and live the same way.

You are not happy because you are well.  You are well because you are
happy.  You are not depressed because trouble has come to you, but
trouble has come to you because you are depressed. You can change
your thoughts and feelings, and then the outer things will come to
correspond, and indeed there is no other way of working.– Emmet Fox

As I live this way, I am much, much happier in my life. My dark secret is that I have trouble with depression. Having lived through losing both parents and a partner in a very short time, I had trouble bouncing back. The truth is that I never really recovered. Yet, my balm is the happiness I experience through helping others.

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.– Henry James

So, this is your exercise. Go help someone. Buy someone dinner. Call a sick friend. Volunteer for Thanksgiving. Visit the sick, call someone who has experienced a loss in their life. You’ll find that you won’t be able to think of your troubles while you are helping someone else. Then, the true joy of life will fill your hear and soul.

You can find on the outside only what you possess on the inside.– Adolfo Montiel Ballesteros

Love you all,

David Woodbury

“I Am Marketing” 3-21-14

DEW Good Photo 11-7-David Earl Woodbury

No 13 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, March 21, 2014
“I AM Marketing”

At a recent meeting for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the president Laurel Rosen said to us “I am marketing”. We were all talking about what we were doing to promote our businesses and she said we should live as ambassadors for our businesses and let others know what we do for our careers.

IMGP4831For me, I am a walking, talking, breathing Arthur Murray man. I love our business, believe in our work, and know that our mission statement is: “Changing Lives Through Dancing, One Step at a Time”. Every day I walk out my door after an Arthur Murray morning of preparation, arrive at the studio to serve all day as an Arthur Murray professional, and I leave, I go into the world as an Arthur Murray man. What is an Arthur Murray man? A man of dancing skills, character, faith, dedication, professionalism, leadership and commitment.

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes
Opportunity looks a lot like work.

IMGP4988In my one of my pockets I always have two one decade rosaries, one to give away and another to keep. The other pocket has my Arthur Murray cards to give as I share about the benefits of dancing and how it is good for your health and life. Go out in the world and have faith and work through the day! Remember, life is your friend, go enjoy it!

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly live that way, always thinking about work and ‘marketing’ people”. Well, I’m not different when I’m at mass, the grocery, on a run, or at the studio. I live my life each moment as the same man, always striving to be the best in every way, being a man of character.

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional
glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful
scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. — Harold B. Melchart

IMGP4989I Am Marketing. That just means that I live each moment. Sometimes there are many challenges with lots of ups and downs. The mentors in my life are the same great people all the time. They are always leaders and living to serve others, whether it’s through their faith, career, or the ways they give back in their lives.

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one
heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but
because he is a man of high and heroic temper. — Aristotle

Sophia Putnam and David Woodbury Tango 3-7-14

Take a stand and decide who you are and be that man or woman, all the time. Promise yourself that you will value long term character over short term gain that may vanish in a moment. After our last 4.4 earthquake in Santa Monica this past week, I was jolted into remembering what really mattered in my life. Knowing in those few horrible and frightening moments of shaking, the sounds of the house shaking as things fell, and my own shouts of fear, I was reminded of what truly matters in life, and how we can face loss in a fraction of a second. When the quake was over, my only concern was that we and the kitties were OK. Then I ran to the window to see EVERYONE’s lights on and people out on the streets. Imagine that one moment in time awoke millions of people and was felt for hundreds of miles!

You don’t have to think of your life as marketing, but I do urge you to live your beliefs and values. Whatever you do in your life, do it with all your might and all the gusto you can muster! Talk to others, never know a stranger, always share a smile and give a compliment. Laugh out loud and make some noise in your life.

For me, I’ll live the rest of my years sharing my faith, my love of dancing, and my passion for life with everyone I meet. Arthur Murray…changing lives, one step at a time!

Thank You and Sophia Putnam in all these great photos!

David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: The Time Machine!

1-24-14 “Starting without a Paper Clip”.

DEW Good Photo 11-7-David Earl Woodbury

No 5: Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, January 24, 2014

“Starting without a Paper Clip”.

2013-09-20 09.47.52When we signed our lease for the Arthur Murray Santa Monica Dance Center on September 16, 2013, I returned to the studio and sat on a rickety bench and a card table with a netbook and a cell phone, and that was it. We had the power turned on and we had water, but no phone, internet, or dance floor!

As I began to build our dream, I would reach for a note pad to write on, a stapler, a Sharpie, and then a paper clip, and I realized that we were starting from scratch, from our hopes, our vision, our dreams.

As the days followed I became a mobile office, bringing in several bags that had extension cords and chargers. Another bag had office supplies, and yes, paper clips, pens, papers and notebooks. Without having a sign, a dance floor, not a stroke of new paint or any new electrical of plumbing, we were experiencing a lot of new students walking in. Since we are a Guest School at heart, I created a Guest Book and we began collecting names to call when the floor was finished.

2013-10-16 11.22.01As the floor boards were being set, I began to dance on the newly laid wood. I could not wait to experience the thrill and joy of dancing in our new studio. Then, as the last piece of wood was laid, we all took a moment for the photo shoot and celebrated. Then, the magic of dancing began and we taught our first training session that very day, on our new floor!
Our first student lesson was November 7th and it was a joyous day for us all!



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Now, I’m2014-01-19 16.44.16 in a beautiful front room that we call the Dream Maker Room. This is where we turn dancing plans into reality and our students begin the great journey of Dance through the Arthur Murray Medalist System. Also, we create magic in the front office by planning our events and competitions for our students and staff. It is an exciting room with a wall of glass that brings in light, life, and hope and energy.

As I am composing this reflection in a nice chair, working on a glass table, typing on a state of the art PC and yes, I have paper clips right next to me. Everything in our studio came from our vision, hard work, and persistence. We have in essence built a new home for ourselves, our Arthur Murray Home, and it is beautiful. Everyone who walks in our doors says how welcome they feel and that the feel the good vibes in the studio! Our studio them is Hospitality, all are welcome in this place!

What is the magic for me? First, it is my amazing partners, Gabriela Young, the Queen of Salsa and she is a master coach. Joel Rieck, my partner and a brilliant Arthur Murray Man! He can do anything and accomplish every dream he has. Then our great staff who I focus on the most. They are so full of enthusiasm, hope and the love of dance and teaching dance! Then, our fantastic students who make this all possible through their participation and presence in the school. The Arthur Murray Students make my day a joy and they truly bless me and I love and appreciate them.

The rest of the magic for me is the fact that I am living in my dream come true! Starting just from a chat, a thought, a concept, we are now changing thousands of lives through dance. We offer courage, confidence, growth, self-esteem, and transformation to all our staff and students and we are giving them a place to live the life they have dreamed of.

The rest of the magic is now I am truly a consummate Arthur Murray Man! I live, worship, and work all in a mile radius, and I am walking the walk, and talking the talk. I want to me know at the Arthur Murray Man of Santa Monica. When people talk about dance, I want them to say, “Oh yes, you have to go to Arthur Murray, they are the best!” We are the dance beacons dancing in Santa Monica and we enthusiastically want to give back to our great city.

Live your dream…make it happen…dance today!

Thank You!
David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: Polish Your Dancing Skills – The Medalist System