No 30 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 28, 2017

Burn the Ships!

In 1519, Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz. When they landed the Captain ordered his men to burn the ships. That order did not make sense to his men. Cortes knew that the only way to keep himself or his men from quitting was to take the option of failure off the table. He forced them all to either succeed or die. Retreat was not an option.

In our own lives, to achieve the great levels of success, there are times we must “burn the ships.” Here, we must look at the ships in our own lives that we must eliminate. What are we afraid of letting go of?

Could it be a relationship, job, career choice, bad business opportunity, or a dream that is not working for you. In ballroom dancing, we know that we must work hard at our dancing and polish our routines. Sometimes we take a dance lesson only to have our coach change everything we have worked on. We “burn our ships” and grow and learn.

Some coaches will change the way we look, walk, relate, connect, and practice. It is said that we should not get into a relationship if we are expecting the other person to change. In dancing, that change is exactly what we are hoping for, not just in the other person, but in ourselves as well. I hope I am not dancing the same a month, 3 months, for 6 months from now. I hope to grow, improve, and become a whole new me in my dancing.

“Each of us, if we would grow, must be committed to excellence and to victory, even though we know complete victory cannot be obtained, it must be pursued with all one’s might. 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

Well, this message from Coach Lombardi floors me. In the job world today, finding an employee “committed to excellence” is very rare. Do you want to grow in your life? I do. And I surround myself with people who want me to be successful, who want themselves to be successful, and those who are willing to pay the price to be the best.

“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 timidity.”

– General Douglas MacArthur, On the virtues of competitive athletics (1880 – 1964) American five-star general and field marshal 

Ok, another great quote. To know our weaknesses, to be brave. To know humility and self-mastery. The healing power of laughter and the power of courage.

“Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know.”

– Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875) English Novelist and Clergyman

Sometimes my greatest virtue is that I am up in the morning with a positive attitude and a willingness to make the day a great day. We have two cats. I am forced to get up, wash bowls, clean poops, give rubs, distribute treats, and fill water and food bowls. I do not have a choice. I am the life blood of these two furry creatures and they depend on me. The first thing I do each morning is get me a little bit of lovin’ from two sweet cats, and the first words out of my mouth are “I love you”. Actually, I say that to three creatures, one who is human.

“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

From this powerful quote, let’s fill ourselves with courage. Many days I think that this day, this week is just going to kill me, and guess what, it doesn’t. I somehow make it through the week with a wink and a smile. I don’t shrink, I don’t flee, but it does not mean that I am not often scared and frightened. I just don’t tell anyone. Especially myself!

Now, to my most favorite quote of all. I repeat this, say this and share this quote every day of my life and I hope it encourage others. Guess what, yes, I daily try to do the things I think I cannot do. And I DO it. To my amazement, it all works out. Please, don’t give up. No matter what you excuse, your obstacles, the people trying to sabotage you, your status, your beliefs, your health, even all the good in your life. Don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams, especially yourself. Read Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote over and over and say it to yourself. You can do it!

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)American First Lady and Political Activist

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

Go Straight to Your Goal! 9-23-16

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No 39 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 23, 2016

Go Straight to your Goal!

“It is the man who goes straight to his goal, obstacle or no obstacle, that commands our respect, gets our confidence, and gets to the front. He is the man who is sought in an emergency, not the man who is afraid of obstacles, who magnifies difficulties.”

– Orison Sweet Marden (1850 – 1924) American Editor and Speaker

Before turning 60, I lived a life of “setting goals”. In fact, that was my whole life. I was dreaming the big dreams of success, and contemplating all the things I would do if I just applied myself. I have also lectured and helped many people set and realize their dreams.

So what am I doing now? Now I’m living my goals. No one talks about what do you do when you have achieved your goals. I believe that you reassess and go to the next level! It is challenging to have struggles and to have fought for a goal, and then achieved it. Many have lost faith at this point in their lives, for they did not know what to do next.

After reaching a goal, life’s obstacles are still there and we must learn how to deal with daily life and how to rekindle our passions and dreams.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt(1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

Do you have a reoccurring dream while you are asleep? I do. I’ve had some of the same dreams all of my life and I can remember them. How about a conscious dream? My true lifelong dreams have not changed in 60 years. To live a life of beauty, movement, music, service, and faith. To share all this with others, that has been and will continue to be my life’s dream.

“The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be common, nor the common heroic.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) American Poet and Essayist

As the above quote says, I have resolved to be great. This life is not easy, but is very exciting and rewarding. I want to make a difference, to leave a mark, to leave a legacy!

Let’s end with this amazing quote from Shaw.

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

– George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish Playwright

Thank you for reading!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

Keep on Dancing!

To Witness Someone’s Life 3-11-16

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No 11 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 11, 2016

To Witness Someone’s Life

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London

Tonight I said to Joel Rieck, my husband, that I did not mind the fact that I make a fool of myself in front of him all the time. Trying to Twitter, upload videos to YouTube, edit photos, work our computer program, handle daily problems. Making choreography work, decorating, planning, all while I put my creativity on the line and all the while, working hard to get it right.

During the journey to achieve making it all happen, I make a million boo boos. I told Joel, how do you watch me over and over as I try to succeed and I keep getting up over and over, although with each setback, there is a silver lining of success. Joel said this to me, “Well, I’m here to witness your life. To go through your life with you.” In the middle of Starbucks, I wept. What a nice thing to say to me. Warts and all, Joel is the witness of my life, and I of his.

“I don’t think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it. I think if you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done.”- Mike Ditka (1939) American, Football Coach, Chicago Bears

I know that Joel and I are both willing to pay the price and we believe we can get it done. Joel is the hardest worker I have ever known. Although he is an accomplished dancer, and franchisee, he still commits more, harder and longer than anyone I have ever known. And he continues to amaze me with his work ethic.

For me, I have to go home and rest sometimes. I need naps, I get tired, beyond my ability to push and yet Joel still works another 6 hours beyond me. What he knows is that I am witnessing his life as well. His ability to work with and motivate others. How he makes the studio active and productive and happy. Joel is a 100% fully committed person and exemplifies honor and dedication.

I’ll never be on that rocking chair sipping mint julips in the late afternoon. I’ll be organizing the Ming Julip Festival that will be a benefit for something and I’ll be on two more committees for more fund raisers! Are there moments of repose, yes, but I love the action and being in the heart of the game.

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Let’s not worry about fear. Just look at it in the face and say “Get behind me” and them move forward and move on. I think I might be depressed sometimes, but I just don’t have the time. I’m too busy with light and life and living to the fullest.

Move forward, move ahead, live life!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)

A Short Memory… 3-4-16

No 10 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 4, 2016

Paola Exit to Solo Foxtrot 3-6-16 with Text and Logo

“I’m at a time in my life where I realize that those who can’t forget are worse off than those who can’t remember! Secret to happiness is Good Health and a Short Memory!” -Rita Davenport

David and Paola DSB 3-6-16 with Logo and Text

A while ago, I realized that someone with whom I had held a grudge for a long time, did not even know that they were making my life miserable and unhappy. They did not know that they had wronged me so many years ago, and that they had, in my mind, “done me wrong”. All that pain and misery was wasted because I had not told that person what they had “done to my life” and I was angry about it.

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I typed a letter and poured out all the pain and said exactly what they had done to me. I got it all out, every little bit of anger and resentment, and then I burned the letter. As the paper burned, I realized that I had only hurt myself all those years and that I was drinking poison and was waiting for the other person to die.

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The proof of the pudding was that I saw that person recently, and they were lovely to me and supportive and loving. I drank it all in and enjoyed the reunion because I had let go of the hurt. I guess I have now forgotten and began to enjoy my new Short Memory! What a shame that I had let that anger get the best of me for so very long.

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“Never neglect an extraordinary appearance or happening. It may be — usually is, in fact — a false alarm that leads to nothing, but it may on the other hand be the clue provided by fate to lead you to some important advance.”- Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), British microbioligist who discovered penicillin.

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Perhaps this truly was fate and was opening my mind and heart to a new possibility of happiness in my life.

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“A life without purpose is a languid, drifting thing; Every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves: This day let me make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is naught!”- Thomas a Kempis

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What is now my daily purpose? Realizing that my life is truly now about service and what I can give back to others. There’s just not enough “stuff” to make me happy any more. Perhaps giving back “stuff” to others is the only formula for constant happiness for me now. I never feel bad after donating time, effort, or funds to helping others or helping a great cause.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

Some advice, choosing the path of giving back is not easy. You have trouble finding the right people to understand your calling, and when you meet them, they encourage you to always grow to your potential, and that’s a good thing. You must seek out the givers and then convince them that you are real deal and then get on the giving path in life.

Look fear in the face and move forward. At some point in life, we are all going to have to stare fear in the face. Perhaps for those of us who have practiced this monthly, weekly, or daily, this task may be easier than for others who avoid doing things that scare them.

“If there is one thing upon this earth that mankind love and admire better than another, it is a brave man, — it is the man who dares to look the devil in the face and tell him he is a devil.” – James A. Garfield

Look at what frightens you, dare to look at that fear, then call it what it truly is, a devil and be brave. You’ll have a short memory, forgetting the bad and only remembering the good.

Be Strong!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com (email me if you like this blog)

Get the Most out of your Dancing in 2015

No 3. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 16, 2015

Get The Most Out Of Your Dancing In 2015!

 

 

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they

merely determine where you start.–Nido Qubein

 

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my

decisions.– Stephen Covey

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Want the most out of your dancing in 2015? Then plan the moon and the stars. Plan your Bronze, Silver or Gold level of dancing. Dream your favorite routine for a solo dance and perform that dance at a competition. Compete in a championship division and go for the gold. Reach for the sun.

 

The unreasonable man attempts to adapt the world to himself. The
reasonable man attempts to adapt himself to the world. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man.– George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish Playwright

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I’m always trying to change things around me to match my own dreams. I am a salmon; I am always swimming upstream. Just think, all those little boy salmons swimming against the current just to find love. I swim against the current to make my dreams come true.

 

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”― Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

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I had the above phrase on my fridge from the moment we started planning to open our own Arthur Murray Studio. I looked at it every day. Yes, I was going beyond my comfort zone and doing many things that I did not know how to do, and I handled many things that I did not think I could handle. It all worked out and I met each challenge head on. I did the things I could not do and more.

 

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has
reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.– Booker T. Washington

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What comes from taking risks….courage, strength of character, and an iron will against all adversities. You will never know if you can if you don’t try, and you’ll never success without some failures in life. What matters are not the mistakes, but what we learn from our experiences.

 

Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.– John McCain

 

People are always asking me what I am afraid of. My answer is the fear of not living up to my potential and not using the gifts given me. I fight this fear by seizing every opportunity to grow and to help others grow and achieve greatness in their lives.

 

Be a product of your decisions and decide to have an outstanding year of living, loving, dancing, and being a guiding light to all those around you

 

Thanks,

David Woodbury

 

Next Week: Sustained Motivation!

Believe and Achieve 8-22-14

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No 34 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Believe and Achieve!

When you set your goals, and then plan to realize and live your dreams, you may find that life will test you….a lot! Speaking of testing, my daily readings have taken me to the story of Job.
He was a good and righteous man, who had his wealth, family, and health all stripped away from him. The reading that burns in my heart is this “The thing I greatly feared has come upon me.” I always think, if Job was not afraid of losing his great wealth and fortune, would he have been tested so?

Roosevelt Eleanor

Fear:
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

A comfort zone can be a dangerous thing. It will kill personal growth and stunt courage and innovation. Comfort will keep us on our couches, in front of a TV while we have a tablet in our laps and an iPhone in one hand and a remote in the other. The books we want to read are collecting dust and the book we are trying to write sits idle, the pages of our journal growing yellow with age.

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
— W. Clement Stone

Coming out of our comfort zone will take some work. First, we must BELIEVE in something and then have the plan to ACHIEVE that dream. This requires “coming out” and telling others that we have a goal and we are starting our journey to making the dream come true. Then, there is the plan of attack. How are we going to take the first step, achieve the first success, recover from failures, and keep on going even during the rough times.

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Are you a dream maker, or a dream killer? When someone pours out their heart to you, do you squash their dream, or do you say “That is fantastic…you’re going to MAKE IT!” I want to be a dream maker and help others to fulfill their dreams and show them how to take the steps toward success in life.
I like a man who attempts the impossible.
— J.P. Morgan
Have you been in the dark tunnel in your life? Have you personally seen the darkest before the dawn? Has your life taken you through the dark night of the soul? I can say yes to all the above. I think that I thought I would never go through this tunnel and hello, here I am again. The difference is that I know that I’m going to make it in life and that I will live to see the light as I emerge from the tunnel.

People tend to think of happiness as a stroke of luck, something that
will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is
the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it,
insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking
for it. You have to participate relentlessly.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

Why do we put ourselves through these trials? This is why; we know that we will be stronger for our efforts, and that our realized dreams will have value and worth to us because we sacrificed for what we have achieved. So, take a deep breath, Believe and then get to work and Achieve. Guess what, I know you can do it and I know that you will make it? See you in the light!

Thank You,

David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: Being the Best!

Why Everyone Loves to Dance 6-6-14

 

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David Earl Woodbury

No 23 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, June 6, 2014

Why everyone loves to dance!

Because I

The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They
believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to
correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.

— Wang Yang-Ming (1472-1529) Chinese Philosopher

Do you ever make a mistake? I do, a lot of them. It seems that for everything I do well, I have failed many times getting to that great victory. For all the great accomplishments, I have met with defeat, loss, and bad decisions. Then, a wondrous success comes my way. Yes, there are mistakes, but the times of doing the right thing well are very rewarding.

Roosevelt Eleanor

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in
which you really stop to look fear in the face.

— Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American First Lady and Political Activist

On my fridge is another saying by Eleanor Roosevelt “Do the thing you cannot do”. I leave that phrase up month after month on my fridge, and look at it. We cannot go back, we cannot stay still, we cannot stop change. It’s going to be hard whether we stay the same, make or not make the decision, or if we boldly move forward and take a chance. As is said in Star Trek: “To go boldly where no man has gone before”. I love that part of each Star Trek movie.

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When life opens up the door of opportunity, we must go forward for the exit behind us closes and there is only a path ahead. We take a leap of faith, we have courage, we take a chance and truly look fear in the face, then move forward.

Many times just before dancing in a show, my heart begins to race. I cannot breathe. Sometimes my legs grow weak, my knees shake, my hands perspire, my mind goes blank, and a fear worse than death takes me over. Then, I take the floor and place myself with my partner. Then, the magic begins. I see the smiling faces, I hear the music, I hear the applause, I feel the audience, and I relish in the glory of the dance. Suddenly, I have forgotten all my fear and a rush of joy and accomplishment overtakes me. Yes, it was worth it.

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Why everyone loves to dance, because it changes you. It reminds you every day of what magic truly is and what miracles are. Dancing gives your spirit a lift, puts a song in your heart, and puts a skip in your step.

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Dancing will help you overcome fear. Dancing will give you confidence. Dancing will let the “happy” person inside of you come out. Dancing will truly change your life. Just give it a chance.

Thank You,

David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: Friday the 13th!