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5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From Dancing

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5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From Dancing

You might be the kind of person who’s terrified to dance badly in a crowd of strangers, let alone step out on the dance floor where people can actually see you.

You may be the kind of person who feels they have two (or more!) left feet, or maybe you take to the dance floor like a bird to the air; either way, what you are is a leaderWe’re all leaders. You don’t have to own your own business or be in a position of management – whether it’s working on a project with co-workers, having fun with friends, or helping our own families, we all have opportunities to lead and influence others.

One place that’s crawling with leaders is the dance floor. As a former Salsa instructor, going out for a night of dancing might not seem like a place to learn leadership skills, but with Salsa (and any kind of partner dance), there’s some assigned roles: the Lead and the Follow.

The Leads (traditionally guys) decide what moves to perform, and the Follows (traditionally women) read the movements and go along with it to make it work. First time Leads, are thrown into a leadership role they might not have expected. When you just start out, it’s tough. I never did any dancing as a kid, and getting out there and being responsible for another person can be intimidating.

Whether you dance or not, there’s some leadership lessons to take away from the dance floor and apply it to the rest of your life.

Here are 5 leadership lessons you can learn from dancing:

 

1. Adjust on the fly

Sometimes things don’t go our way. We can try to force it to work, or we can roll with the punches and adjust. In Salsa, if you’re a Lead, this can take the form of doing a move you thought would work and it doesn’t. Maybe you made a mistake, or maybe your dance partner has just never done that kind of move before.

It’s not the end of the world. You can improvise instead, and a move that didn’t work turns into a new one that does.In real life, maybe you have a business plan that doesn’t work exactly the way you want it to, or maybe you’re just trying to get your friends out to a bar and it falls through.

How can you adapt and turn it to your advantage?

“Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

2. It’s about creating comfort and challenge

Nothing can hurt a relationship more than making people feel awkward and uncomfortable. Make people feel comfortable, and they’ll want to be around you. With Salsa, no one wants to dance with a partner who makes them feel uneasy.

Some people make their partner feel uncomfortable because they’re being creepy and sexually aggressive, or because the moves they’re doing hurt. Others though make their dance partners uncomfortable because they throw moves at them that are way above their level. That creates a huge gap.

The person sees how far it is to the other side, and mentally (or physically) walks away. Too big of a gap and we don’t want to cross it. But if the gap is smaller it becomes a challenge, and they’ll rise up and do their best to leap across. After jumping across lots of small gaps, the huge one won’t seem so big after all.

 

3. It’s about clear communication

You can tell people any message you want, but if it’s unclear it won’t get through to them the way you want it to. In Salsa if the Lead tries a move that isn’t communicated clearly, the Follow may move in an unexpected way, or not at all.

Our bodies communicate more than our words ever can. People may not consciously pay attention to your body, but they still hear what it says. Good Leads make sure their body is saying what they want it to.

If they stand and move with confidence, their partner will feel it and follow smoothly. The Follow will also feel any insecurity, and her steps will be less sure as a result.

 

4. Take the opportunity…If it’s right

Sometimes we take too long thinking about an opportunity and we miss it. If you’re out dancing, you may see someone across the room you want to dance with. Maybe you go for it right away, but maybe you don’t. Maybe you have to think about it.

Maybe you have to work yourself up first, and you have to position yourself to get ahead of everyone else who wants to as well. It’s ok. You can wait until the next song. If it looks like a good opportunity, don’t wait too long, or it might be gone forever. If you do miss the opportunity, don’t sweat it.

There’s never just one. There’s a whole room of opportunities if you take the time to look for them.

“Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

5. The best leads also follow

The best Leads and Follows know that the roles are fluid. Sometimes your partner does something unexpected; you can either ignore what they did, or you can follow the Follow’s movements and make it into something wonderful.

Learning both roles, the best, know the challenges their partners’ face. Instead of issuing blind commands, they can empathize with them and make win/win decisions rather than win/lose. There’s no shame in learning about a different role other than your own.

If you only have half the picture, you’re missing valuable information. It may be uncomfortable to step outside of what you know, but when you know the whole picture you can Lead that much better.

 

No matter what walk of life you’re in, it’s importance to recognize the influence you have with others. You’re already a leader – it’s time to step up to it.

If you have any leadership skills learned from odd places, let me know in the comments below!

Mark Reagan helps people overcome their fears and anxieties. If you enjoyed this, check out his blog at BreakMyLimits.com and sign up for your free report, “101 Things Holding You Back From Being Your Best Self.”

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A Simple but Effective Technique to Be More Confident

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Many people want to learn how to be confident in different situations, but it’s not always easy. Maybe we’re too addicted to comparing ourselves or maybe social media has brainwashed us to believe that we should all be rich, famous, and in incredible shape. (more…)

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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