No 19 5-11-18 “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”

– Jack Dempsey (1895 – 1983) American professional boxer

There have been a few times when I could not get up in life. I was beaten down, crushed, defeated, and lost in the dark night of the soul. And yet, I got up. Jack Dempsey said it well when he said we can’t. There are times when you just can’t go on, and yet you do.

This past week I was blessed to coach a man whose wife had just died tragically in a car accident just two months ago. He was taking an Arthur Murray Dance lesson and I was working with him and his teacher. He and his wife loved their dancing together when she was killed. He was continuing with his lessons. I did not bring his loss up in the coaching, but I told him that dancing was a safe place for him and that he could escape into his dancing.

He then began to weep and tell me the story of his wife’s passing. The three of us cried and held each other on the dance floor. Having lost my life partner to cancer, and his dying in my arms, I knew only too well what my student was currently feeling. His broken heart and the horrible heart ache that follows. The dark night of the soul that had surrounded him. Yes, I knew that he was hurting. Yet, he was dancing and preparing for a dance competition. He was getting up when he couldn’t.

This moving experience weighs heavily on my heart and I am praying constantly for this lovely man as he heals from his grief. I was so happy he had his loving Arthur Murray family to guide and to love him and to give him moments of healing through the magic of dance.

“Everything can be taken from a man, but one thing, the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude to any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”

– Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) Nazi concentration camp survivor

The ability to get up and move on is a choice, a choice that we make or don’t. Even in grief, illness, or loss, we still have the choice to choose our own way.

“Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.”

– John McCain (1936- ) United States Senator

Fear may keep us from knowing that we are even able to make this decision to choose. Overcoming fear often means walking through a fiery wall of flames, only to realize that the flames were only an illusion, and that we always had the power to walk through them. Fear causes us to make a decision of flight or moving forward with courage. This courage is magic if we us it, and once passing through the flames, our confidence is forever strengthened and we are forever changed.

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”

– Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) American author

When it comes to the pushing down part, life will take care of that for you on its own. Life is always testing us, but to be able to see the light beyond the darkness and pull ourselves up, this is a tough choice that is give to us. I remember after the great losses in my life, then getting back on the dance floor and giving joyous performances. It just didn’t seem right, but the dancing, the smiling, the performing acted like a healing medicine that restored me from the inside out. I would not have made it up this point in life without my Arthur Murray Dancing, and the magical joy and strength it gave me.

Remember that you are a champion, and all you have to do is get up and walk forward to light in your life when the dark times come your way.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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#ArthurMurraySantaMonica

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No 17 4-27-18 “A Failure is a Mark of Experience”

SQA Winners 2018

“In Silicon Valley, failure is experience. Now, if you fail at everything, that’s different. But a failure is a mark of experience more than anything.”

– Vint Cerf, One of the Key Creators of the Internet

Today, Arthur Murray Santa Monica won the Sustainable Quality Award in Excellence in Social Responsibility. This is our second SQA award and we were honored to receive this special recognition!

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We won in 2016, but we lost in 2017. I was broken hearted to lose. We had done so much in the community and our application was not up to the standards to win that year. I truly felt as if I had failed and I truly took it to heart as we saw so many other businesses in Santa Monica come forth to accept their winner’s awards.

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This year, our writer was Joel Rieck, and we won from his great essay and his superb writing skills for our application. We had done all the same work as the past year, but Joel did an outstanding job in presenting our acts of service and all our involvement in giving back to Santa Monica.

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Being in the winner’s circle was very sweet after failing and not winning. As quoted above, the failure became a mark of experience and we learned from it, and that pushed us forward to achieve success and win.

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Last year someone wanted to buy our school from us. This came out of the blue and I shook us up. I knew we could be doing much better, and I was recovering from a heart scare and getting back my health.

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I thought, why does someone want to purchase our school? Then I gave a very sober and thoughtful look at what we had created.  We had a great location, wonderful and dedicated staff, and the best Arthur Murray Students anyone could ever hope to have. We had created a special branding of the Arthur Murray name in Santa Monica and the whole city knew about our great school.

In 4 short years, we had created a legacy of Arthur Murray returning to the city of Santa Monica. The value of the school became an overwhelming thought to me and I then said, instead of selling, why don’t I just double our success and recharge our energy? And guess what, we DID just that. We excelled in every area and ended up a top school in many areas for Arthur Murray for 2017!

I had not failed, but I had not fully opened my eyes to our true success and our great possibilities of growth. Perhaps my past ‘marks of experience’ had given me strength, wisdom, hope, vision, and a new excitement to achieve and hit new great goals.

Now, I see a fantastic future for 2018 and we are living our dream of success with much, much more to come. With all achievements will come the storms of life, and the trials and tribulations of life will test us to our very cores. But with failures, lessons learned, and life lessons, the experience we gain will take us to the winner’s circle.

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

FB: David Earl Woodbury

#ArthurMurraySantaMonica

#ArthurMurrayLifestyle

2018-03-01 06.36.11

No 14 4-6-18 “We Must Sail Sometimes with the Wind”

 

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, — but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894) American Writer

 

 

Our journey of life takes us on many twists and turns. I have always wanted to be the person standing firmly on the rock of life, unmovable and invincible. I was sure what direction I was always going in life. What I have found is that I have ended up sailing with the wind many times and also sailing against the wind. The one thing I have found to be sure, I’m always moving now in my life, never anchoring and still in the seas of life.

 

 

There was a time when I had the perfect life. Perfect family home, business, health, hobbies, finances and career. I found out how strong life was when the loved ones in my life passed away very quickly, I sold my business, lost my health, and was completely lost in the dark night of the soul. It all happened very quickly, and I could not stop the angel of death from taking the ones I loved, and in such a short period of time.

 

 

During the dark night of the soul, I grew and changed as a person. I found out that I was not the center of the universe and that I was not as strong as I thought I was. Until that time in my life, I was convinced that my success in life was in what I had rather than who I was. I had lost almost everything in my life.  I was alone. I was adrift at sea.

 

 

Then, as I saw the light at the end of that path beginning to appear, I began to see that happiness for me could only be attained through a whole new part of my life – giving service. I had never thought of that in my life. I could not overcome my sadness, but a saint of a friend showed me freedom through service. I thought I know now to spell success, but did not know that it was actually spelled service!

 

 

Now as I look back, I see that I was not that stable person I thought I was. I was truly lost at that time but did not know it. After going to the bottom, my rise to light was achieved by looking beyond what was just good for me, but seeing how I could use my life to help, inspire, lead, mentor and guide others.

 

 

Now, service is a drug for me. I want more and more of it and I feel completely happy and satisfied through helping others. Am I a saint now, hardly, but I’m a nicer and better person and I have learned that the need for leaders and mentors is great in life. Is life any easier, not really, just a lot happier. The best part of service is the company you keep. You’re surrounded by like-minded people who truly get high from helping others.

 

 

Need a lift in your life? Find a friend who is down and out. Take them to a dinner and a movie. Send someone a card, an email, a text, or actually CALL someone and tell them you are thinking of them. Reach out to someone who needs you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what a difference this will make in their lives!

 

 

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”

– Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) American Psychologist

 

 

Be who you must be in life. Set your sails and ride the winds of life!

 

 

Thanks for reading,

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

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No 12 3-23-18 “A Bumblebee Shouldn’t be Able to Fly”

Joel and David 12-19-17

No 12 3-23-18 “A Bumblebee Shouldn’t be Able to Fly”

“Aerodynamically a bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.”- Mary Kay Ash (1915 – 2001)American Businesswoman, founder Mary Kay Cosmetics

 

I do not know that there are certain things I should not be able to do. I know that I make mistakes, but I keep on trying, and I am able to accomplish impossible things many times in my life. Recently I had a new task ahead of me and I was terrified. Guess what, I accomplished it! And did it well. I look back and saw it was the pressure of the task that pushed me to greatness and to expand my realm of possibilities. Life tricked me, and either I was to succeed or fail, and I made it.

 

Just a side note, my failures are not usually in what I do, but in what I say. I am working on the words that come out of my mouth, for they reflect the nature of my heart, character, and spirit. My actions are pretty good, but I must now conquer my speech and the delivery of what I say and and how it is said. “From the abundance of the heart a person speaks”.

 
“If you just keep playing, keep believing and have some faith, something good can happen.”- Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, whose team became only the second in NFL history to win six games after losing the first seven games of the year. December 19, 1998

 
The good in my life does not come easily or quickly. It comes after a lot of focus, concentration, and relentless determination and hard work. As Norv Turner quoted above, I just keep on dancing, believing in the great outcome of life, and use lots and lots of never ending faith!

 
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”- Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) American Writer

 
Is it not amazing that Helen Keller is listed above as an American Writer? Not as someone who was born deaf and blind. She later learned to speak, giving speeches and lectures on aspects of her life, and was the first deaf and blind student to graduate from Radcliffe with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Imagine her humble nature saying it is her chief duty to do small tasks as if they were great and noble. He life was a miracle, and a continued inspiration to thousands.

 
“If you have made mistakes…there is always another chance for you…you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford (1893 – 1979) Canadian Actress

 
Have I made mistakes? What do you think! I have made such huge boo boos in my life that I am amazed that I am still standing today. Still, mostly because of my mouth, I make many mistakes. What do I do about it? I get up from the messy floor of failure, dust myself off, and head onward to the next challenge. Will I make more mistakes? Well, I’m loud spoken and still have strong opinions. But I think I will try not to make so many errors in my life.
Please, keep playing, believing and having faith. You’ll inspire others to greatness in their lives!

Thanks for reading,

David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!
DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com
FB: David Earl Woodbury

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 51 12-22-17 “I Love the Holidays”

No 51 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 22, 2017

I Love the Holidays!

We put up our Christmas tree Thanksgiving Day. Sent out our cards the next day. We knew that we would dance almost every day from then to Christmas Eve. Guess what? The days have been glorious. We have danced at many Arthur Murray Balls with hundreds of guest in attendance. We have participated in competitions, shows, graduations, dinners, celebrations and even our staff Marathon Day and staff party.

Our school has just won first place in our division for the international Tournament of Champions. Many months of preparation, many weeks of great lessons, groups, parties and events. We came out first place thanks to our great staff and wonderful students.

As for music, I have listened to hours and hours of Christmas music. I discovered the YouTube Christmas channels and my heart is in a constant state of singing. Music is life to me and these holidays have been full of all the classics, and even some new tunes! My mom, J. Clair, always said “Keep a little song in your heart!”

As for dancing, a lot of people have a very hard time during the holidays. With Arthur Murray I have the privilege of dancing through the entire season. It is an elixir to the blues, depression, loneliness, heartache, and stress. Now for 42 years I have danced through to the year’s end with great joy and happiness. I am the luckiest guy on the planet!

As for presents, Joel and I have a tradition. We serve at Christmas instead of giving presents. That means we are Hospitality Ministers at St. Monica Parish in Santa Monica. This year, because it is Sunday, we have 11 masses on the 24th. We will be serving the 7:30 AM, then return for the 6, 8, and 10 PM masses. It is glorious. We are Team Leaders for two of the four we are serving. We help organize our teams and say “Merry Christmas” hundreds of time to many, many smiling faces. We walk to and from mass and it is a magical experience from beginning to end.

It’s almost that special day of Christmas, and I have been happy the whole season. No time for the blues or feeling down. Just enough time to get to the next event, rest and eat a bit in front of the Christmas tree with Joel and the kitties, and lots and lots of dancing to make the holidays merry and bright. In my “spare” time, I am preparing for 2018 and planning a dream year of success for the upcoming year.

Love the holidays. Volunteer somewhere. Send some unexpected thank you notes. Visit an ill neighbor. Call someone you have not spoken to in a while. Take a friend some food. Reach out and the joy you will receive back will put you over the top.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

 

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

No 48 Six tips to become a stronger leader 12-1-17

 

 

No 48 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 1, 2017

 

Six tips to become a stronger leader

 

First:

Problems are not always what they seem. I’m a worrywart. My middle name is “I’m Sorry” and my last name is “Worry”. I just let things build up and I don’t think they will ever be resolved. My mom worried a lot and we’re just the same. I worry about time, money, my health, the business, home, just everything. And guess what? Time passes and always the things that seemed to be mountains actually moved and everything was resolved! I look back to see that the things I stressed over always went smoothly and that as surely as day follows night, time will pass. To be a good leader, just don’t stress and remember “it will get better”.

 

Second:

Get up from where you are and move. Sometimes at our Arthur Murray Dance Center, I just have to get up and move and go in the ballroom and dance and get out of my office. Oh, how I miss my many years of teaching, without a care in the world. Now, when I feel that elephant on my chest, I get up, move around, laugh, give some hugs, and the next thing I know, everyone around me is happy. To be a good leader, keep on moving, especially in the right direction!

 

Third:

Nothing is perfect and no one is perfect.  When I was a little boy, I would break, nick, or damage something. I always felt so terrible and it would start to destroy me.  My mom was so great, she would say “Why David Earl, now it’s personalized”. She told me that no one else in the world had the exact same thing. Now, in my 60’s, I’ve nicked a lot of things, and I just say “Thanks Mom, now it’s personalized”. We cannot expect others to be perfect. If we do, we will be leading an army of one, and that’s just us all alone. People like to led by a leader they like. A student of mine who managed a hospital of 180 staff once told me, “management is an art form”. She said we do not have jobs, we have lifestyles! To be a good leader, let mistakes happen and don’t expect everyone and everything to be perfect all the time.

 

Fourth:

Share your story. I am a dreamer and I get very excited about my dreams. When I get a new idea, I tell everyone about it. The next thing I know, they are telling someone else, who shares it with another person, and before I know it, a new idea becomes a reality.

I love to chat with others, asking them their secrets to life and success. I love to hear others tell their own stories of what got them to where they are in life. To my great joyous surprise, others are always full of great ideas and they are just waiting to be asked. To be a good leader, share, tell, and live the story of life.

 

Fifth:

Think up new ideas. Sometimes I awaken in the middle of the night with a great idea. It just comes to me. I’m always trying to see new and better ways of doing things.  The key for this element of leadership is God’s mathematics. Remember, God gave us two ears and one mouth. So listen twice as much as you speak! I can get lost in looking at recipes and cooking films, dance films, science films. I love to see how other innovate and how they turned their ideas into reality. To be a good leader, be flexible to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

 

Sixth:

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes I hear a new song and before I know it, I have a new routine to teach. I see a dance move and want to use it as choreography. Since I now love to write, I’ll read just one quote and a full blog flows through my fingers. I’ve learned to open my mind to the simple inspirations that are everywhere around me. It’s almost as if I was a photographer of life, always taking snapshots of the glorious moments of life that are true revelations. To be a great leader, look for inspiration in every part of life all the time.

 

I want to be a great leader. I’m too emotional and I let my feelings get the best of me, but I truly love helping other and I think the desire to serve and help others is stronger than all my faults. Every day I strive to be a good leader and to inspire others.

 

You may be reading this and at the end, you’ll have the revelation that you, now, are ready to be a leader. If you are a leader, help others around you to grow so they may take your place so you can move on and inspire new people. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

 

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com