01 1-5-18 Champions!

No 01 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 5, 2018

Champions!

“Champions talk success. Champions know that success is inevitable; That there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.” Michael Gelb

 

“A Champion Team will always beat a team of Champions.” John McGrath

 

“True Champions are team players.” Alan Cohen

 

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” T. Allan Armstrong

 

Guess what? You are a champion for reading this message. You are a champion because you are feeding your mind, soul, heart, and spirit with positive thoughts and inspirational readings. You are a champion because you take the time to grow and expand your life.

 

I once thought that being a champion was having great things happening to me every day, conquering all obstacles in my life, and breaking new records. Yes, all those things are true. But a champion is also someone who shows up and does the work, even the mundane work. It’s easy to go from mountain to mountain of success on a daily basis. But the true champion also knows how to do the small tasks well.

 

It is said to be successful, you should be Visible, be Easy, be Useful and be Ready! I try to do these things daily. I try to be seen, do my tasks with a smile, be ready to offer a helping hand to others, and be prepared for all situations. This is a good formula for life in general.

 

Do you feel like a champion? Try this, go out and give a nice compliment to someone who is not having a good day. Help someone who cannot pay you back. Cheer up a friend or co-worker. Do a good deed for someone who cannot help themselves. Then, I assure you, you’ll feel like a champion and feel happy inside.

 

“Keep a Little Song in your Heart!” J. Clair Woodbury

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

 

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

No 52 12-29-17 Happy New Year!

No 52 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year 2018!

“To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself, it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.”

– James Clavell, in his novel Shogun (1924 – 1994)

 

British novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

– James Allen (1864 – 1912)

British philosophical writer

 

“Do not falter or shrink; But just think out your work, and just work out your think.”

– Nixon Waterman (1859 – 1944)

newspaper writer, poet and Chautauqua lecturer

 

Yes, our thoughts are a huge part of our lives. Imagine if we could only control what we think! What if our self-talk was not so brutal? My self-talk is rough. I scold myself and beat myself up for just minor infractions. Now, I am stopping myself and ceasing the cruel thoughts and I try to think good thoughts to myself. I know we all do this and I know that I become my own thoughts, so they should be good even great ones!

“We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic.”

– E. Merrill Root (1895 – 1973)

American Writer

 

Thinking good thoughts for me means that I often must let go. Let go of being “right”. Let go of controlling situations and others. Let go of my acerbic tongue and quick responses. Now, I am waiting for others to speak and listening much more in conversations. Also, letting go of fear of loss and the fear of something bad happening. Now, I find that my situations and life work out without me being nasty, controlling, and too overbearing. I am learning to say “this is working out” and truly letting good things happen in my life.

As a result of this, I do feel more a sense of wonder and magic. I dream more and these dreams come true. Now that I am not trying to control every aspect of my life, but live more in the moment, I am happier and those around me are happier with me!

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

– Epictetus (55AD – 135AD)

Stoic philosopher

 

“It is a hard rule of life, and I believe a healthy one, that no great plan is ever carried out without meeting and overcoming endless obstacles that come up to try the skill of a man’s hand, the quality of his courage, and the endurance of his faith.”

– Donald Douglas (1892 – 1981)

American, Founder Douglas Aircraft Company, later McDonnell Douglas

 

“I like a man who attempts the impossible.”

– J.P. Morgan (1837 – 1913)

American financier

 

Life can be impossible with endless obstacles. Yet, when we attempt the impossible with skill, courage, and faith we succeed in the end. I truly don’t want my life to be easy. Why, because during the rough times, I have learned the most and grown the most in my life. During the “dark nights of the soul” I have met mentors who have remained my guides, friends, and leaders until this day. I know life is going to be rough, so I use the magic of service to focus on the good and the positive.

 

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.”

– James Buckham (1844 – 1930)

 

Canadian lumberman and Liberal politician

“If you smile when you lose, then you win in life.”

– From Tai-Pan, the great adventure novel by James Clavell (1924 – 1994)

British novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war

 

As I look back on my years, I realize that there is so much I do not know about life and people. I realize that I am learning daily about people, work, faith, family, health, relationships, service, and patience. The list goes on and on. That’s exciting for me. There is a great future. As the above quote says, I smile a lot and that makes me a winner in life.

Go into the new year with a clean slate. Good thoughts, good hopes and dreams, good plans for the future. Let the bad times go and smile and appreciate the good times.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 47 11-24-17 A Time to be Thankful!

No 47 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Time to be Thankful!

This time of year I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. I’ve just started my 42nd year with Arthur Murray Dance Centers. I am happily married and lucky in love with a great home life and two wonderful kitties. My faith life is strong at St. Monica’s and I am happy to be serving for many years now at my parish.

My health was not good this past year and was my own fault. It’s getting better and I have a way to go to my optimum health at 61. I always say “Your health is your wealth” and I am trying to make some changes in my diet and exercise life!

My associate with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has now put me on the Board of the Chamber as well as on several committees and being an Ambassador for the Chamber.

For personal goals I am looking forward, God willing, to 20 more years of dancing and being with Arthur Murray. After all these years, I now know a couple of good things to help others in the dance world. I look forward to life and to making our school stronger and stronger.

I take refuge in my faith and am fortunate to be serving and helping others on a regular basis. All the Hospitality Ministers confess that we serve so we will be sure to go to mass! For me, it keeps me out of trouble and keeps my heart and life in check!

What to be thankful for? I always heard it said that waking up in the morning was a great blessing and now in my early 60’s, it truly is a blessing. To be given the opportunity to life another day and grow and experience the challenges and blessings of life again is amazing!

The hard times, well, I think that if I can just keep on helping others and helping others grow that my eyes will not rest on the bad in life, but in the infinite possibilities of good and the blessing of being a mentor to others.

The good times, I just don’t look for them anymore. To me, every day is a good day. I use to live for the weekends and time to myself, and now I love sharing my gifts and time with others. I do not look for tomorrow to be better than today, but look to be my better self in the moment and making today a winning day.

With just a few twists in life, I could be out of the streets and not in my home of 29 years. I know that living in the moment is the greatest blessing and the greatest possession I can have. Everything could be gone tomorrow, so I want to make my mark today.

Is your heart full this Thanksgiving? My heart is full of hope, thankfulness for so much that live has given to me, and a clear vision of the future. My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart”. I am singing my way now through life thanks to her great advice!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 46 11-16-17 Three Keys to Success

No 46 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 17, 2017

Three Keys to Success!

First:

Believe in yourself and know who you are! Let go of what others expect you to be. We all know what defines us and what makes us special and unique. My life has been spent trying to impress others and trying to live up to standards others have set for me. Now, I know what greatness lies inside of me and what I am supposed to do with my life. The only task ahead is to give back from the gifts that have been given to me. Remember, we are books and others read us by our actions not our words!

 

Second:

Know what you have to give, and give that to others daily. Reach out to the community around us and see where we fit in to serve and inspire others. This may come from organizing huge events to raise money, or just be good for a smile and a good word to others each day. Social responsibility is not easy, but is very rewarding. Do you have trouble with doubt or the blues? Pull yourself up and volunteer and use your energy to lead and guide others.

 

Third:

Know the right thing and do the right thing. This is not the most popular or easy way to live. Our lives are measured by what we do, not by what we just say. Doing the right thing is also making the best decisions when no one else is watching. I often wonder if my thoughts were viewed in a bubble over my head for all others to see, how would I change them? How would I think when listening to others or when meeting someone new? The truth is that others do know what we are thinking, and that is by our body language, facial expressions, and our responses. God help me to truly listen twice as much as I speak and to let others talk without interrupting them!

 

Every day I experience the passion of life. From the moment of awakening and feeding our kitties, to making a great breakfast, to planning an awesome day, to opening our Arthur Murray Franchise School and planning a life-changing day. I wish to be someone who feels all aspects of life and use these experiences to help and guide others.

 

As I grow to into a life of service, I pray that I remember that God gave me two ears and one mouth. I pray that I truly listen to others and take in what they say and respond to their needs. I pray for wisdom and understanding to say the right responses when others have spoken.

 

Do I want to be myself in life? Yes, I want to be my greatest self!

 

Be Yourself:  Everyone else is already taken!! – Oscar Wilde

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 42 10-20-17 Enter to Learn – Go Forth to Serve!

No 42 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 20, 2017

 

Enter to Learn – Go Forth to Serve!

-Tom Murdock – Arthur Murray International

 

At a recent Fall Forum staff awards and training weekend for Arthur Murray Dance Centers, Tom Murdock opened our great weekend with the above words. Tom is such a good friend to me and when he said his opening remarks, I said, that’s my diamond of knowledge for the weekend. I even made a note to write this blog today!

Yes, I am here to run a great Arthur Murray Dance Center, yet Joel Rieck and I try to run our school from the point of giving the best service first! Giving service to our staff, students, neighbors, to our parent company Arthur Murray Int’l, Inc., our city, our friends, faith family, and to one another. We want to share that knowledge of dance with others and help them grow. No mistake, I want to prosper and earn my fair share, but earn from helping others receive what they want in their lives.

 

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

– Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish painter, sculptor

 

Every day I do something that I cannot do. This leads to some big mistakes and some great triumphs, yet I learn from all of them. I just let fear go and realize that I must move forward and take action. When I’m done, I always say, Well Done! Even on the hardest days and the most challenging moments, I know that time marches on and that the sun will rise tomorrow and that I’ll make it.

“Genius is eternal patience.”

– Michelangelo Di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475 – 1564) Italian Sculptor and Painter

 

Are you a truly patient person? I am not at all a patient person. So guess what life brings me all the time? Situations where I must be patient to see the end result. Trials that require lots of time and resilience. Moments where I must breathe in and wait before I speak. Gee whiz, I hope l learn a little patience in my 60’s. It’s about time!

 

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

– James Allen (1864 – 1912) British philosophical writer

 

What are your past thoughts, your present thoughts, your tomorrow thoughts? These are mine. Every morning I fill myself with light and the waters of healing. I allow the waters to wash over me, cleanse me, heal me and revive me. Then, I find a moment of serene peace, a perfect moment where all is well and safe. Then, I awaken to my day and to life.  Are all my thoughts good? No. I sometimes have a hard time controlling my thoughts to keep them positive. It is a daily effort to think good thoughts and stay positive.

Solution: continue to live a life of service and giving to others. Continue to seek the council of great leaders and mentors and strong life coaches. Then, give that light to others. For me, it’s the only way I will ever have peace in my life. Give strength to others and guide others. Through dance, through faith, through leadership, through example. It is my calling. It is my life. It is who I am. Success = Service.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 39 9-29-17 Until One Is Committed!

No 39 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, September 29, 1956

Until one is Committed!

“Until one is committed, there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one element of truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans – that moment one commits oneself, then providence moves all.”

– Johann von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

German Poet and Dramatist

 

In my laptop is a book that I’m finishing “Closing the Back Door – Making Life’s Ultimate Commitments!” The book is about making a decision and sticking with it to the end and not giving up. As I was writing it, I lost both parents and ultimately my life partner to cancer. The book was left for a while because some of my life commitments had been taken away from me. I had to rethink a closed back door that did not exist.

Now, I realize that times will change and modify our goals, yet we may stay focused and keep our goals and dreams in life.

“If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.”

– Joseph Addison

(1672-1719) English Writer and Statesman

These words are nuggets of gold. Perseverance, experience, caution, and hope.  A friend came up to me a last weekend’s dance competition, with tears in her eyes and she hugged me and said that I never give up and how that has inspired her. This moment stuck with me and was deeply moving. It is easy to throw in the towel, to walk away, to give up, but the rewards of sticking with it are powerful and long lasting.

 

“An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.”

– Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

British Politician

 

Calamities, I’ve had a few. Water over our ballroom dance floor, illness, the passing of friends and families, and changes that I could not control. Now, I know that something good will come out of all these situations.  Years ago, one of my mentors, Miss Pat Traymore, was in my car driving from LAX and I missed an exit. I was very upset and embarrassed and this is what she said to me. It was meant to me. That I was being protected from something bad happening to me. My mom, J. Clair always said the same thing. She said that the way things turned out was Gods way of protecting us from some unforeseen calamity that we could not envision. Now, I’m always aware of this when I forget a key, run back into the house, or I’m late. I know that I’m truly being protected.

 

“The past cannot be changed. The future is still in your power.”

– Hugh Lawson White (1773 – 1840)

American Politician

In the 80’s, my dance partner did a reading for me. I usually do not participate in this practice but I did receive this reading just this once. She saw many upcoming things in my life and before she gave me her reading, I asked her, am I in charge of my destiny and she said yes. She can I could control my future by the actions I was taking today. Ultimately, many of the predictions she saw came true, but my positive attitude and my heart of faith truly shaped and helped destine my future.

Last thought for commitments: Let go of fear. It’s just like driving your car with one foot on the gas pedal and one heavy foot on the break, all at the same time. Letting go of fear is a daily routine and a daily habit. Try it, you’ll like the new you and like living a life without fear.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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