Get on Your Stage!
I was full of misgivings and fear when first asked to dance for the EDIN (myedin.org) Celebrity Dance Challenge fundraising event. In fact, I said no the first time. At fiftynine years old and never having taken a dance class, I knew I didn't have what it takes. "Maybe next year", I said. Well next year came and I was asked again. So at the age of fiftyten, I agreed. I was paired with the most wonderful pro dancer, John James, who was so patient and talented. At an early practice, John showed me something he wanted me to do and I said "if I do that, I'll fall flat on my face" and without skipping a beat, he said "well option B is this." Yea...we went with option B.
Rehearsals went from excruciatingly awkward to the most fun ever! Trying to dance sexy Latin moves in front of John, at my age, was borderline humiliating. John helped me get over myself and into the character. But even as my confidence grew, I was still in denial that I would actually step on that stage. How do you do something when you're terrified! The things that helped me the most were the following:
1) Enjoy the moment. I know it's cliche but it's a very powerful cliche! During the first rehearsals, I was so focused on myself that I couldn't enjoy what was happening. My gosh, I was getting free dance lessons from a professional dance instructor! When I thought "I can't do that on stage" the fun of the moment would vanish. So taking the moment for what it actually was (a dance lesson) made all the difference.
2) Remember the bigger picture. There was something bigger than me that was happening here. I was raising money for an organization that saves lives. Instead of being inhibited due to my age and awkwardness, I used it to persuade people to donate as in "if I can dance at 60, you can give $10.00.
3) Put things in perspective and embrace imperfection. What's the worst thing that could happen? Believe me, I pictured them all; tripping on the heels I was trying to learn to dance in, blanking in the middle of the dance and freezing. It helped to tell myself the dance wouldn't be perfect and no one expected that from me. I watched Jennifer Lawrence trip getting an award and loved the way she gracefully handled that. I gave myself grace to mess up.
4) Surround myself with support. I told my friends about my fears and asked them to give financially. As I raised money it was easier to feel committed. I asked them to pray for me as the dance drew near, not that I would dance perfectly but that I would be able to be present in the moment and enjoy this amazing opportunity.
5) and finally, "nike" the hell out of it. Just do it! When it was our turn, I got on the stage, the music started and I just did it.
Maybe you have a challenge coming up that makes you anxious. Can you put it in perspective and stay in the moment that you're actually having? Get on your own stage, with attention to the moment. By participating in the current moment the future moment is more likely to take care of itself. Get on your own stage
I want to thank each one of you who supported me in thoughts, encouragment and financial donations. I had the time of my life and we made a lot of money for EDIN! Oh, and by the way, we won! You can see the video shot by my sister here.