Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Performance Anxiety, Glittery Costumes, & Joy May 15, 2011

Last night, I watched my 6 year old daughter dance in her ballet recital. 150 girls and boys from the age of 4 to 18 shaking it down, twirling about, flying through the air, & smiling the entire show. There were “incidents,” – tripping, missed steps, accidental hip bumping, & one wardrobe malfunction; but really, these kids didn’t care. The little glitches did not embarrass them, slow them down, or change the effort they gave to the next move. And they kept smiling. I’m talking big, smile with me smiles – not just impish, my teacher told me I had to look happy smiles.

They were having a blast. 36 Dance Numbers Later, and we’re back stage listening to all of the kids talk about how amazing they did, how exciting it was to be on stage, and how cool they looked in their glittery costumes (because it is all about the costume). No one talked about the production hiccups. The mistakes. The forgotten steps. The on-stage collisions of tutus. Just the successes.

I tell people all the time that I learn as much from my children as they learn from me. Kids are a gift for a zillion reasons, one of which is that they are pure & have not yet given a piece of their lives to fear. They haven’t developed methods to put up walls, self-protect, & hide from their mistakes. They don’t really care what the 400 people in the audience think. They love the stage, & they are simply doing their best & having fun.  If we’re smart, we adults are modeling our little masters in this arena.

What would be different in our lives – workplace or otherwise – if we showed up every day with no worries about what others thought and simply give 100%?  How about if we relished in our successes, learned from our mistakes, and didn’t allow our fear to taint our effort? What would change if mistakes were simply an opportunity to modify our path forward versus something we had to bury, make excuses about, blame someone else, or find a “reason for” (the economy, too little time…). What would change if we found joy both in the moments we performed lockstep with the choreography & the moments we didn’t?

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