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Unexpected Lessons about Confidence and Trust

16 June 2016

Some of life’s most powerful lessons come when you least expect it, at the most unlikely moments. Perhaps that’s the beauty of it. When your attention is focused elsewhere and your guard is down, your mind is momentarily ‘unplugged’ enough for these flashes of insights to occur. I’m sure you’ve experienced it before - those metaphorical light bulb moments that just hit you all of a sudden.

I had that light bulb moment recently when I was … of all things, line dancing….(cue gasp!). Yes, I go line dancing. And no, it’s not as cheesy as you think. In fact, it’s come a long way beyond just country tunes and if you find the right instructor (which I thankfully have), it’ll be the most fun you’ve had burning calories. Ok, enough about line dancing.

But wait a minute, I haven’t told you what the light bulb moment revealed. So here I was, in the middle of a dance. And it was a particularly tricky one with lots of different turns and angles, always fun for someone with absolutely no sense of direction, like yours truly.  The more I used my brain to guide me, the more I thought about what the next step or turn should be, the worse it got. I was literally going all over the place …… while desperately avoiding eye contact with my horrified and slightly bemused instructor.

The minute I gave in and just trusted that I knew the steps, I nailed it. I realised that it happens all the time. The more complex the dance, the more I focused on thinking about the steps, the worse it got. The more I trusted myself, everything just flowed. 

So Lesson #1 - Sometimes constantly thinking about the problem isn’t the best solution. It’s called ‘analysis paralysis’. You have to learn to trust yourself and go with your instincts. As I’ve always said, your inner voice is there for a reason.

Here’s something else line dancing taught me. In the beginning, I was two left feet. I would be in awe of others, thinking I would never be able to do the more complicated steps and turns. It took me awhile and admittedly, I’m not the most elegant person on the floor…..but I’m busting with pride knowing that I can now hold my own with the more advanced dances.

Lesson #2 - Confidence comes with mastery. Skills can be learnt. And with more practice and mastery, comes greater confidence. High achievers who’ve reached the top of the game will often say that it was their relentless focus on learning and practicing their craft that built their confidence.

Line dancing is not the normal go-to choice of exercise for most people. In fact, I’ve encountered a few raised eyebrows when I tell people how much I enjoy my line dancing classes. I imagine they think it’s a bit old-fashioned and I’m not with the ‘cool’ crowd doing Zumba. But who cares. With line dancing, I now have a regular exercise routine that’s fun and highly aerobic. After all, what’s better than music and movement as a way to burn away the calories ? Plus I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way. 

Which brings us to Lesson #3 - Follow your own path. You only have one life and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Don’t live in a world defined by ‘shoulds’. Have the courage to follow your own path, even if it’s the one less travelled.

As always, wishing you onwards and upwards in your journey …..

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