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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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Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to make any sense. Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Here’s the funny thing. We will say that line about someone else, have a good chuckle, and then DO THE SAME THING OURSELVES! This time, it’s not that funny, is it? I know. I’ve done it myself. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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