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!

FB: David Earl 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

3-7-14 The Arthur Murray Lifestyle

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David Earl Woodbury

No 11 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, March 7, 2014

The Arthur Murray Lifestyle!

This week we observed Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. How does my Arthur Murray Lifestyle apply to Lent? Well, today I was Team Leader for the 8 AM Mass for ashes, and who do I see, my students, my staff, and the Arthur Murray Dancers of St. Monica’s. We are the dancers for Dancing With Our Stars, a fundraiser for the Arts Department of St. Monica’s Schools March 7, 2014.

Arthur Murray ManAs I am guiding our wonderful Hospitality Team Members into their spots, I see the faculty around me who are participating in the upcoming event. I say hello to my very own student who is just finishing the 6:30 AM Mass. I see the principal of both schools and realize that I am truly living the Arthur Murray Lifestyle.

You see, I have the unique experience of living, worshiping, and working with my friends and neighbors in my Santa Monica community.  This is a great responsibility, for I must live the life of a true Arthur Murray man, a man of character and grace and poise, while remaining a leader and mentor to others. I see our students at mass, at the market, walking to the beach, shopping, and generally all over the city of Santa Monica.

Arthur and Kathryn Two PhotosThis is a challenge in many ways for I am a human full of faults and flaws. I get tired and grumpy and sometimes lose my smile. Here’s a lesson I have learned. When I am dancing, greeting others, serving others in any way, a genuine smile creates a magical environment.  A smile comforts others and opens up the doors of trust, communication, and connection.

For you see, being an Arthur Murray Man means being the leader that others are looking up to. I do not have the luxury of a bad day, a grumpy mood, a sour attitude. I must leave the negative behind and carry light so others may see.  Today I read a story of a teenager who created a flashlight that operated from the heat of the human hand. This could potentially change the lifestyle of many, many people who do not have electricity. We have to be that light for others, generated by the heat of our passion for life and service.

Arthur Murray on ShipThus, the reason for Lent. I am giving up my anger, my doubts, my grumpy moods, my darkness. What am I doing for Lent, sharing laughter, light, and life with others. Cleaning up my mouth from negative talk (and worrdie dirdies) and filling my voice with words of hope and affirmation. It will be a 40 day journey and I have taken the first step. Want to go with me?

Thank You,

David Earl Woodbury

Next Week: When will all this hard work pay off?