Career Lessons from Ballroom Dance

August 21, 2017

Ballroom dancing can teach you important life lessons that will transform your career success, if you pay attention. Here’s what I’ve learned from ballroom dancing that has been useful in my work.

Success Requires Hard Work

You can’t win awards, gain a promotion or achieve goals without hard work. The effort leads to the outcome, advancement comes from repeat attention to the tasks that lead to accomplishment. There are no shortcuts.

Practice Is Essential

Ever tried to give a presentation without glancing at the PowerPoint before you enter the boardroom? Bad idea. Whenever you want to give a polished performance, you must practice!

Patience Is King

If you expect to be an expert overnight, you’re likely to end up disappointed. It’s true in dance, and it’s true in life. Patience is, indeed, a virtue! Good things come to those who have the patience to wait for them. Or something clichéd like that. It’s true, though!

There Are No Limits

The only limits that exist are usually set in our heads. We tell ourselves we can’t do something, or someone else is better than we are, or more deserving. In truth, you can achieve whatever goal  you believe you can!

Dedication Is a Prized Possession

Sometimes the best athletes are not the most successful. It’s the most dedicated ones, nose to the grindstone, studying the game, showing up to every practice, listening to the coach, who really achieve.

Keep an Open Mind

Just when you think you know everything, you’re proven wrong. You think one person is a friend, and he turns out to stab you in the back. You think another person is incompetent, and they shine on a particular task. Dance teaches you to keep an open mind because you’re constantly meeting new people and trying new things – and it always works out.

Don’t Care What Others Think

In our studio, no one judges anyone. It’s just dance, and everyone is supportive and encouraging. That’s a great way to go through life – not caring what others think, and not scrutinizing the way other people do things.

Learn to Trust

In dance, you have to let your partner lead or be trusted enough to lead your partner. In life, too, and especially in the boardroom. Trust is what makes a team win. Lack of trust is a disease that kills a company.

Be in the Moment

If you want to dance well (or do anything well), you have to focus on the moment you’re in right now and banish all other worries and thoughts.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

If you learn nothing else from dance, you’ll learn that mistakes are where the learning happens.

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