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!



Make Your Own Circumstances 11-4-16


No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 4, 2016

Make Your Own Circumstances

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) Irish Playwright


We think, “Oh, they have it so easy in their life. Money, family, opportunity. It was all given to them.” Yes, it may seem that others have it easy and we have it hard, but get this. We have the best in our own lives if we just look up and see all the great things around us.


I’m a blamer and I get jealous of other’s success. I think, “That should have been me”, “I can do that, what didn’t that success come to me?”. The reality is that we are all truly living in our own great success. We have control over our circumstances and we have the ability to make opportunities come our way. We never truly know what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  The funny thing is this, often the ones we are envying are looking at us and saying, “Wow, they have all the luck” for they see the good in our lives that we are unable visualize.

“Trials, temptations, disappointments — all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre 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


Why do our diet and exercise programs fail? Once it gets a bit hard, or requires extra energy, or tests our character, we give in. The temptations are overwhelming and we just do not have the strength to overcome the trials. We just give into our present circumstances and cannot pull up.


Do you know how a world class ballroom dance couple makes it to the top? Is it talent, luck, or is it just given to them? The answer is simple, the best couples have worked the hardest, practices the longest and have earned their ranking through many trials and failures. Their successes are precious and sweet, and they have hearts of gratitude for the glory given to them. They made their own circumstance and created their own opportunity and stayed with it to the top.


“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach


It’s easy to stay down after being knocked down over and over. Yet, as Vince Lombardi says, coming back is the real glory. I’d like to just get up and stay up, but as Waltz has rise and fall, and Tango is staccato with starts and stops, and Swing has its turns and spins, and Samba has a bounce, blessedly there is the Foxtrot that is smooth and glides across the floor. I wish you, the reader a few Foxtrot days, but also enjoy your Tango days, and keep on coming back!


Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

Achievement vs Success 12-4-15

2015-12-03 19.35.56

No 49. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, December 4, 2015

Achievement vs. Success

“My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is within you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”- Helen Hayes 1900-1993) American Stage/Film Actress

All my life I have wanted to be a success. A star. The best of the bunch. The leader in every area. I wanted to have be most, be the most and be at the top of the ladder. Success was all I strived to do.

“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” – Baron de Coubertin, The Olympic Creed

Yes, now in my life I still want to be the winner, and I love being a winner. At 59 I also know the value of taking part and fighting the game and fighting well.

2015-12-03 19.39.34

“Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end.”- Earl Douglas Haig (1861-1928) British General and Commander of the Expeditionary Force in World War I

As we strive for our winning position in life, perhaps we meet with challenges that test the core of our being. We set up our “perfect life” and then the walls of Jericho come tumbling down around us. Have you ever been just sure that everything was right, then suddenly everything around you changed? Have you experienced everything in your life going right, everything going wrong? I hate to tell you this, but that’s normal life. Change is the one true thing we may depend on in our lives.

“It doesn’t matter how often you get knocked down; what matters is how often you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970)American Football Coach

How do I cope with all the changes that come my way? Humor has been a been factor for me in these post years. Don’t think I don’t have my share of tears. I’m good for a cry daily. But I am laughing more every day. It’s a medicine for the soul. It makes me look on the bright side of life.

“Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.” – Romain Gary (1914-1980) French Writer

2015-12-03 11.58.01

My life now consists of constantly thinking about the many, many opportunities that I have in my life. To serve at St. Monica Church, to write motivational material and to speak to uplift others. How to raise money for kids through dance and music? Supporting our Chamber and local businesses. Keeping a great home and a beautiful love life. Honoring my family and friends. Being a mentor and guiding others to be the best in their lives. Mistakes are now met with a huge laugh and then moving on. I need all my energy to be positive for the great things in my life. Oh by the way, all this is full of great Arthur Murray Dancing!

What I think of comes to pass in my life. I watch the thoughts that enter and have border control for my mind. You must have a purpose to enter and a reason to stay if you are a thought coming through my brain. I don’t want the negative thoughts and I have seen how this behavior destroy others. Remember anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It’s not worth it. Just let go and move on!

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.” – William James (1842 – 1910) American Philosopher and Psychologist

2015-12-03 13.20.10

Have a bit of courage in your life. Take a chance. Have a mentor or two check your actions and remember to ask lots of questions along the way. Make sure you only ask champions and friends of light and hope to help guide your way. And remember to GIVE BACK after you receive. Blessings are like produce, if you don’t share them they will perish and spoil. Be of a good heart and do as my mother always said, “Keep a little song in your heart!”

David Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!






















Leave the Rest to Fate!

No 43. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, October 23, 2015

Leave the Rest to Fate!

“But try,” you urge, “the trying shall suffice; The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life: Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!”

– Robert Browning

2015-10-22 19.47.40

My life is great. I am trying to be Shakespeare in my life. I’m trying to do it all, and after 40 years with Arthur Murray, I see many around me who in their upper years in life and with their companies who are doing amazing work. Last week I saw Otello from the MET in HD in a movie theatre. What a thrill for me. What amazed me was the age of some of the star singers. Later in their lives, they were using a lifetime of skills to be the best in their fields on the most famous opera stage in the world, and in HD no less.

2015-10-22 21.54.44

How do they do it and how did they get to this point in their lives?

2015-10-22 19.47.09

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances.”

– Bruce Fairchild Barton (1886 – 1967)

American Advertising Executive

2015-10-22 21.25.30

They became great by not letting their circumstances dictate their fate. They had vision and they dreamed the big dream and acted on their goals to make them become reality.

Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

– Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970) American Football Coach

 2015-10-20 20.30.36

When you watch a MET opera in HD, you get to truly see “behind the curtain” of the opera and the theatre. The introduction is given from back stage. You realize that it’s not just a few singers on the stage, but hundreds of people behind the curtain who are making the magic happen. You see the singers just before they are going to sing in front of millions of fans. They seem so normal, but you know that their Adrenalin is rushing through their veins. Then, the cameras go to the front and we see the opera from the audience’s view.

2015-10-20 17.46.23

During the interval, the cameras take you behind the sets. You hear the singers begin interviewed moment after they leave the stage. They are still out of breath. These chats are thrilling and full of energy. The interviews are always the top MET stars in their own rights and the camaraderie is fantastic. The cameras then take you to the rehearsal rooms where the singers and conductor are rehearsing for the next scene. You see the costumers steaming costumes and the stars getting dressed ready for the last acts.

2015-10-23 20.55.36-1

“What do the right people want more than almost anything else? They want to be part of a winning team. They want to contribute to producing visible, tangible results. They want to feel the excitement of being involved in something that just flat out works.”

– Jim Collins

After the final curtain, the cameras show the cast behind the scenes. The ‘elite’ coming up to the stars and congratulating them. The singers hugging and shaking hands. The conductor and designer giving praise to the team. What an intimate moment that happens to be shared with millions of us who are viewing this private moment that happens after every performance.

I love being part of a great team. I love the producing of the visible, tangible results. I love the struggle, even the tears and the battle of making it day to day. The trials that come to us daily, the team members that let us down and bring us down, the heroes who light our way. The super stars that take us to the top. Yes I love it all. For when I’m right in the middle of the game, I’m truly happy and feel as if I am growing.

Be a part of a winning team. Don’t have one, make one. Beware, you will be surrounded by Iagos and those who will want to see you defeated, but also you will have your fantastic mates who will carry the load with you and run to the finish line with you. Ask for it, live it, make it happen, live through it, and enjoy the finish line!

David Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!






Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer 7-17-15

Beth and David 6-10-15

No 29. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, July 17, 2015

Every Great Dream Begins with a Dreamer

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. –Harriet Tubman

2015-07-08 17.33.17

A very dear, new friend sent this saying to me. We are at the footsteps of a project for Arthur Murray Santa Monica that will benefit our city and change many lives.  It is all a dream that is coming true, supported by a team of Dream Makers.

2015-07-15 13.23.50

What is it like to work on this project?  I am alive every day. I am excited every moment of every day.  I am becoming friends with the most amazing leaders, innovators, volunteers, thinkers, and all around great people.  Being surrounded by such a host of exciting people is truly rewarding every day.

2015-07-15 20.16.48 2015-07-15 13.21.16

The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of
immortality.– John Quincy Adams

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and
lifting people up.– John Andrew Holmes

If a man hasn’t discovered something that he would die for, he isn’t
fit to live. (from a speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963).– Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American Civil Rights Leader

2015-07-15 14.03.00-2

As I get older, I am becoming more and more driven to raise money for kids. To educate kids and get the magic of music and dance to kids.  To give them direction, purpose, hope, discipline, and a dream for the future.

Is all this easy. I say not!  Many challenges meet us daily. It’s like pushing a rock up a hill said one of my sponsors. But it is a good rock and it’s worth the push! I don’t want an easy way to go. My life has never been easy and I have always chosen the harder path. I think I’m a stronger person for my persistence.

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

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

Are you happy today? Are you fulfilled? Do you have a 100 fears that are holding you back? Try this; listen to what others need. Listen to the 100 yeses that others say to you each day and give great service to others.  Help make others dreams come true. Live a life of service to help other find their own dreams and fulfill those dreams.

Be committed to excellence. I’ll bet you, you’ll be happy every day!

Keep on Dancing!

David Woodbury

TIME IS SHORT! 3-27-15 David Earl Woodbury

2014-07-23 21.16.34

No 13. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, March 27, 2015

Time is Short!
You, enlightened, self-sufficient, self-governed, endowed with gifts
above your fellows, the world expects you to produce as well as to
consume, to add to and not to subtract from its store of good, to
build up and not to tear down, to ennoble and not degrade. The time
is short, the opportunity is great; therefore, crowd the hours with
the best that is in you.
— John Hibben, president of Princeton University, 1913 graduation address

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

2015-03-21 18.56.11

Don’t you hate it when you go to the fridge and reach in the back for a bag of lettuce. You’re so excited to find it and your hungry. You pull it out and feel “squish” and hold up a bag of sour, brown, lettuce goo. It’s 3 weeks past the expiration date. You don’t dare open it for the smell would permeate the whole house. You waited too late.

Opportunities are like produce. Use it or lose it. What about the old lemons and apples and bananas we find. How many sour gallons of milk have we thrown out? Yuck.

I love to come back from the market with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, apples, bananas, and then make a wonderful salad and have a perfect banana for my morning cereal with fresh milk. There’s nothing like fresh food. Buy it, use it quickly, enjoy it!

2015-03-15 09.22.31

Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.
— Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)  7th President of the United States

That’s how it is with life. We must take action. I have post notes everywhere (and a pair of glasses on every table) and everywhere a pen. I wake up from a deep sleep to write out my idea from my dream on a piece of paper. I have post notes all over my bathroom mirror, my office monitor, my fridge, my desk. Ideas are all over the place.

2015-03-23 13.28.44

What I hate is the idea that I did not write down. The note that I cannot read and cannot remember. The lost opportunity, the lost inspiration, the lost moment. Grab hold of your ideas and make them come alive. If I live 50 more years, I will not have enough time to listen to all the music I love, to read all the books I crave, cook all the dishes I want to prepare, and meet all the people I want to meet all over the world. Life has to be lived NOW!

You want to dance? Learn ALL the dances. Come in for lessons as much as many times as you are able. Do it all. Live it all. Experience it all. Life is short.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.-Nelson Mandela

If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!– Jonathan Winters

2015-03-11 17.22.40

Take a chance. Be a “fresh produce” kind of person. Live your life to the max. Take action today. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Today is the day to make life happen for you!


David Woodbury