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

No 16 4-20-18 “Nothing becomes real until it is experienced”

 

“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.”

– John Keats (1795 – 1821) English Romantic poet

 

The path to having an understanding heart has been paved for me with years of experience. Now that I have experienced loss, illness, success, failure, good days and bad days, my many stupid mistakes, and my precious accomplishments, I now have a good ear for others.

 

Recently, our web guys lost their father. I understood that loss and was able to comfort, listen, and support them, even though I am their customer. I went to my doctor today with a perfect blood pressure reading after having heart failure last July with my blood pressure over 185! I understand now when anyone talks about their heart problems. I’ve experienced it.

 

What about the things we have not experienced but we need it to be real in our lives? The answer is listening with a heart of love and compassion. That will provided the listening ears and experience will come through empathy and kindness to the other person.

 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia (1924 – 1998) American author and motivational speaker

 

One thing that I have learned and use every day is to speak with a smile, all the time. I did not know this for a long time and would often hear the phrase “are you in a bad mood” and I wasn’t. I just did not let the smile in my heart reach my face. Now, I know that I am smiling for I see the reflection of my smile in other’s faces. Perhaps that small act of caring is the only act of kindness others will receive that day. That small gesture has the power to truly change some’s day, or perhaps turn their whole life around.

 

Now, I’m not afraid of the bad times. I’m finally smart enough to know that I am learning lessons daily that will make me a better leader and mentor. The only thing you can truly count on in life is change, and it comes at us from every angle. I remember when I was young dreading finals in school, and the dread of those tests. Little did I know that there are many “finals” we must take in our adult life, and we briefly “graduate” to a new level and then we are tried by life again to make us stronger.

 

Recently I experience my spell checker as I was typing Success. The spell checker popped up and said “You are now ready to use this new auto-correct in your life. Success is truly spelled Service”! Now I am not full of fear in my life. I want to serve in my life and learn how to be the best leader, guide, mentor, coach, and example that I can be in every area of my life with everyone I meet.

 

“Knock, knock, knock…I hear that new challenge rapping at my front door. Time to accept another challenge, a new adventure, a new path leading to another great lesson in life. I can’t wait to see what I find on my spell checker in the future!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

DavidEarlWoodbury@gmail.com

FB: David Earl Woodbury

#ArthurMurraySantaMonica

#ArthurMurrayLifestyle

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

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 45 11-10-17 Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.”

– Erastus Wiman (1834 – 1904)

Canadian journalist and businessman

Growing up, my dad always said to my mom “Be sweet Miz Woodbury”. Why, she had a direct option on people and situations. I’m just the same. I’m quick to speak and fast to react. My weakness is that my buttons get pushed so fast that I can’t get them under control and bam, there goes my big mouth!

What’s the answer? This courtesy quote is excellent. The answer is wait a moment before speaking and reacting. Now at 61, finally I take a moment before saying the first thing that pops into my mouth. I have learned to take a breath, pause, and listen to the other person finish their sentence. My dear friend, Roz DeBeve, always said that God had perfect mathematics when He gave us two ears and one mouth. Roz said to be successful, listen twice as much as you speak!

For another aspect of courtesy, I have learned from my great friend, Linda Greenberg, to say “I’m sorry”. Perhaps there is a disagreement between two people, and you are caught in the middle of it and you did nothing wrong to either party. To be the peacemaker, just say “I’m sorry” that happened and just take out the fight and be the calming factor. I’ve seen many fires put out with this simple act of courtesy.

Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson said during a homily a few years ago that he had gone through a major change in his life. He said he would get angry and be “in the right” in arguments. He stood before us, hands behind his back, and he said, “Now I just say, I’m sorry” and I don’t fight. His message had a profound effect on me. Does it matter if I am right? It matters if I am a great peacemaker and am able to help, console, guide, and repair situations in a positive way.

“We cheerfully assume that in some mystic way love conquers all, that good outweighs evil in the just balances of the universe and that at the eleventh hour something gloriously triumphant will prevent the worst before it happens.”

– Brooks Atkinson (1894 – 1984)

American theatre critic

The biggest part of courtesy for me is laughter. Of the four personality types, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholy, and Choleric, I am a Chosen Sanguine and a retired Choleric. That means that I was a jerk for a long time and did not laugh enough. I was way too strong and made others see that I was always right. Guess what readers, this was not good for my heart and I almost had a heart attack over this.

Now, I find that courtesy through laughter is a true medicine. When I am dancing and we make a mistake, we look at each other and say “what was that?” and we laugh and give each other a hug a move on. What a great approach to teaching and this keeps my students happy, and they do learn how to dance beautifully loving each and every moment.

Yes, I’m quick just like my mom J. Clair was, yet she was also a very polite and gracious woman. My dad always had a great laugh and he smiled at all who were around him. I’m so blessed to and honored to be their son and have their Southern characteristics in my personality.

Courtesy: try this. Just go out and give a smile and share a laugh with someone. Tell them how great they look today and how happy you are to see them. Ask them how they are and say you are looking forward to seeing them again. Remember, the smile we see in other’s faces is our own smile we are giving to them. From our quote today,

“It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing and conveys much”.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No 41 10-13-17 Do What You Can Where You Are and With What You’ve Got!

No 41 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 13, 2017

“Do what you can where you are with what you’ve got.”

– Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) 26th President of the United States

Do you ever wish things were different in your life? Sometimes I do. I wish that things were moving along faster, more prosperity, easier hours, and just more luck every day. Guess what I find out? Daily, I have to do what I can, where I am, with what I have and who I am. It’s not glamorous or easy, but the truth is that we are exactly where we are doing what we should do and using what we have. Perhaps the greatest victories in life are the little mundane things of daily life.

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

– Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881) British Prime Minister

Yes, I do thing great thoughts, much of the time. I don’t always see the immediate results that I desire, but I do believe in the heroic! My favorite hero is Siegfried, son of the Volsung twins, Sigmund and Sieglinde, children of the god of Valhalla, Wotan, and the earth goddess Erda, a mortal. Siegfried was conceived to save the gods and save the world. He knew no fear and was only protected from the front of his body by Brunhilda’s magic. She knew he would never turn his back on the enemy.

I think of how fearless he was, although naïve and reckless in his actions, he never backed down and never showed fear. In fact, the first time he did experience a moment of fear was the first moment he saw a woman, Brunhilda, and for a brief moment, he tasted fear. He overcame this by kissing her an awakening her from the spell of a deep sleep.

Yes, I do believe in heroes. When my father, Troy D. Woodbury, passed away, next to his bedside was a marble base with a brass plate on it that read, “You are my life’s hero”. He had that by him until the night the angels took him home to mom. I think that in my life, my dad was my true hero. Was he perfect? No heroes are perfect, but he was my life’s hero and I becoming more and more like him daily.

“My parents taught me that I could do anything I wanted and I have always believed it to be true. Add a clear idea of what inspires you, dedicate your energies to its pursuit and there is no knowing what you can achieve, particularly if others are inspired by your dream and offer their help. (from his book ‘Close to the Wind’. Goss successfully sailed around the world – alone.)”

– Pete Goss (1961) British Sailor and Entrepreneur

I don’t think my parent’s every told me I could not achieve my dreams. They were happy I found Arthur Murray Dance Centers and got my life on a good pathway.

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

– Lord Byron (1788-1824) English Poet

My mom, J. Clair Ford Woodbury, always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart”. I have and continue to do this daily. My mom liked to laugh, and she found a lot of joy in the simple things in life. We could just sit together and tell stories and laugh until we had tears in our eyes. No wonder daddy loved her so much!

“Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.”

– Roger Bannister, in 1952 after breaking the four-minute mile (1929)

English former middle-distance athlete, physician and academic

I had a dancing student from England who once dated Roger Bannister. During those years while teaching Kim, I was an avid marathon runner. Kim said that when Mr. Bannister crossed the finish line and broke the record, he could not believe it. He did not die from it and he was surprised that he accomplished this goal. He truly took it in stride at the time, but soon realized that he had made history. He did what he could, where he was, with what he had. He made the impossible possible.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

davidearlwoodbury@gmail.com