Selling Yourself Short

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Before my lesson the other day, there was a newer couple finishing up a lesson. Think they were a wedding couple that stuck around but I can’t be sure about that. Anyway, they had to deal with some stuff, so they were at the front desk when we started our lesson. There was a pretty fast swing playing so we jumped right into the swing.

Our little pattern was described as “high energy” by one of the coaches and the higher silver steps are a little flashy so there’s lots of movement and I even get to toss in a spin. I could see them watching a few times and, when they left, the person they were talking to at the front desk came over to talk about their reaction to our swing.

The one line that has stuck with me is that I guess he was looking at me and said something like “I could never do that.”

That is certainly a phrase I’ve used many times in my life and even a few times in the studio. Seems like a harmless little thing but I’m convinced it isn’t. Now, some people are born with a seemingly limitless amount of self-confidence and they’ve probably never said anything like that in their lives. Some of us are filled with a little more doubt about our potential and abilities and it is easy to think that we could never do something.

But that little statement can wind its way into your head and start holding you back. I’ve mentioned this before but one of the things I’ve just started to appreciate about ballroom dancing is that it keeps pushing me to break through things I thought I could never do. I could easily see myself many years ago looking at a more advanced dancer and thinking I could never do that. And yet here I am.

Now it isn’t easy to overcome our self-imposed limitations, but it doesn’t help to reinforce it with the negative self-talk. I’ve certainly still got work to do on that but maybe it starts with recognizing that those short little sentences play a big part in holding us back.

If you never try, you will never know.

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