Jerry Rice, former NFL receiver with the most touchdowns, said it was the hardest thing he has ever done. What is it? Competing on TV’s show “Dancing with the Stars” last year. “I worked more on dancing than when I played football. ”
Dancing – one of my greatest life passions – has also been my greatest teacher. I have learned more about life and success from dancing, than any book, seminar or even business mentor. When I step out on a dance floor, my whole world changes. I transcend my everyday world of busy activities, demands and challenges to a place of timelessness … that defies words. It touches every fiber of my being.
This “wise teacher” has taught me how to:
Regardless whether you are a dancer or not, you too can experience the same powerful shifts. Below are 7 critical principles that can teach you how to transform your business journey and destination …beyond what you thought possible.
PRINCIPLE 1: MAGIC happens in the experience, not the outcome.
Last week, I went to a seminar by Robert Dilts, top NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) trainer, called “Demystifying the Wealth Factor. ” Using the NLP tool of modeling with hundreds of entrepreneurs, he identified the top 7 critical factors of business success.
Passion was one of those factors. Although passion being a critical success factor is not new, what was new was Dilt’s view on passion. He said “true passion happens when the destination and the journey become one and the same. ”
A big “AHA”! I now had words to describe my own experience with dancing. Being goal-oriented by nature, dancing has taught me to suspend my need to be at a specific place at a specific time. To experience the magic of dancing, you cannot be anywhere other than where you are at in the moment.
Dancing teaches me to stay focused on the experience of the moment. That each moment is a destination in itself. That only in the moment can passion and magic happen. What’s your experience of the moment … right now … in your business?
PRINCIPLE 2: Ensure that you have the right structure. It allows maximum movement and helps you achieve goals easier and faster.
From day 1, a dancer learns the importance of the right frame, whether as a leader or follower. You will often hear a dance instructor say in class “No noodle arms or hand squeezing. ”
For a leader to lead and a follower to follow, there must be enough (not too little or too much) tension in the arms. Too little tension, and the leader must effort for the follower to do her steps. Too much tension constricts movement, can injure the body and make the dance anything but an enjoyable experience.
The same is true in business. Too little structure and you have to work harder to achieve your goal. Too much structure constrains the ability of an individual or organization from moving with ease, speed and momentum. Make sure you have the right amount of structure. To what extent do you have “noodle arms or squeezing” in your business?
PRINCIPLE 3: True mastery happens when you shift your focus from ”doing” to “becoming. ” Only then can you experience optimal performance.
One of my favorite classic books is George Leonard’s “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment”. George Leonard was a master black belt martial arts instructor who applied the principles of aikido to leadership and success in business.
As a runner, he used the example in his book that true mastery comes when you transcend from “doing” the run, ” to “becoming the run. ” Great musicians and artists know this state. I have experienced this state in dancing. When you move from “doing” to “becoming, ” you experience an amazing sense of effortlessness and “flow, ” as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described in his classic book, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. ”
In the business world, there is a big difference between “doing the right thing” and “becoming the right person. ” Great achievers know that when you focus on “becoming” more, you will do more. On what side of the equation is you focus on?
PRINCIPLE 4: Timing and rhythm are everything in business. Know when to move quickly; know when to slow down and pause.
Every dance has a certain rhythm, utilizing a combination of quick and slow (or hold) movements. Eg. , in salsa, for every 3 quick steps, you pause on the fourth. For a dance to be graceful, fluid and dynamic, mastering its varying tempo is essential.
In business, timing and rhythm are equally important. The most successful businesses know that there is a time to grow and seize opportunities quickly. There is also a time to pause, regroup and put the necessary resources in place to go to the next level. Do you honor your own business rhythm? Do you know when to move quickly and when to pause? How can pausing help you to get to your goal faster?
PRINCIPLE 5: Developing powerful business (or personal) partnerships requires sensory acuity. Pay attention to the unspoken communications.
One of the most critical skills in partner dancing is developing sensory acuity. Both the leader and the follower must learn to communicate and “listen” to each other, without words.
A follower must “listen” to a leader’s cues - communicated from his frame to her frame - for next steps. The leader uses this skill to discern whether his partner “heard” his dance cues correctly and, if necessary, to adjust his lead accordingly.
Powerful “partnerships” are at the heart of every business. Whether between a boss and employee, between a company and their customers, or amongst peers, such partnerships listening to the unspoken communications.
Only 7% of our communications comes from words; 60-70% through physiology. Pay attention to a person’s physiology – such as their gestures, posture, etc. What are these unspoken “signals” telling you? How can mastering this skill improve your bottomline?
PRINCIPLE 6: Great leaders lead from behind. They know how to put the spotlight on others and help them succeed.
In dancing, the leader’s role is to lead the steps, bring out the best in the follower and let their partner shine. The follower’s “job” is to implement the dance choreography … ie. , its vision and essence.
So it is with business. Your business success is directly proportional to your ability to lead from behind, bring out the best in others and help them succeed. Such is the paradox of great leadership.
To what extent do you bring out the best in others and help them succeed? How can leading from behind make your “job” easier and produce better business outcomes?
PRINCIPLE 7: The greatest dance of all is the dance with uncertainty. To succeed in today’s times, you must learn to let go of control, be “light on your feet” and ready to respond in a moment’s time.
The greatest gift that dancing has taught me is the ability to live in the moment, let go of the need to control/anticipate the dance steps and to trust myself and my inner guidance. Every follower must learn to live with 100% uncertainty and be ready for any step – even those never learned – that the leader chooses in the moment.
The 21st century is one of rapid change and unpredictability. Social upheaval, technological breakthroughs, environmental catastrophes, etc. can instantly change the course of a business. To survive and thrive, you must learn to dance with uncertainty, Every change presents threats and opportunities. Your ability to flow with, not against, the tide of change will determine your ultimate outcome.
How comfortable are you with uncertainty? How does your management style prevent you from responding to change? Do you move with or against the tide?
As Jerry Rice learned that being great in dancing is not different from that in football, so too have I learned the same holds between dancing and business. As diverse as these disciplines seem on the surface, they intersect at the core elements driving every great success story. Timing, intuition, passion, creative expression, spontaneity and rhythm are just a few of the commonalities. The “Dance of Success” is not about winning the medal. It is the path to mastery itself that catapults us beyond the edge of who we are and what we are capable of. I hope you enjoy the dance ☺).
Denise Corcoran - CEO, The Empowered Business (tm) - assists CEOs, executives and business owners in taking a quantum leap from the ordinary to extraordinary … from unrealized dreams to mastering their destiny … from slow growth to exponential results. A business & leadership coach, strategic consultant and Master NLP Practioner, Denise's unique “inside out" approach provides deep transformation and lasting change in you, your organization and your results. Her latest e-book: “The Mindset of Greatness: 21 Principles to Becoming an Unstoppable Woman . . . Oprah Winfrey Style!" http://www.EmpoweredBusiness.com
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