God Help Me To Become a Clearer More Loving Person

shutterstock_129078545

 

God help me to become a clearer more loving person.

To think of others more; myself less.
To listen more carefully; respond in deeper gentleness.

To have a quiet centering of appreciation in
morning and in night.
To convince myself of joy in darkened dawn’s flittering might
To protect my thought as well as spiritual sight.

To see the good, seek the good, see the good again.
To cherish all identity in my family brother friend.

To enrich my self’s experience in understanding God’s word.
Constantly grateful, amaze, at His beautifully crooned world.

From Pamela’s journal, 1994.

Two Kinds of Questions: Which Do You Ask?

 

shutterstock_142029790

There are two types of questions that people tend to ask.

The “showing off” question aims to demonstrate how much we know about a subject. It might be a “gotcha” aiming to expose the weakness or mistake in a presenter’s argument.

The second type of question aims to learn, not to show off. This question comes from a willingness to be a bit vulnerable, to acknowledge ignorance or a lack of a complete understanding about a subject.

This “learning” question aims not to demonstrate our existing knowledge to others, but instead to deepen our understanding about a particular topic.

We often fail to ask these “learning” questions because we don’t want to look stupid. We are afraid to acknowledge in front of our peers, subordinates, or superiors that we do not understand a topic completely.

Unfortunately, we limit ourselves when we hold back in such a fashion.

What type of questions do you ask as a leader? Moreover, what type of questions do you encourage your team members to ask?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we can learn from the Samurai

Image

I find it fascinating. It’s amazing how much we can learn from the Samurai. This ancient philosophy is important for us to learn in the 21st century. 

Samurai were dedicated warriors, which lived a very DISCIPLINED life style. Being a Samurai was a way of life. They were complete PERFECTIONISTS. They raised the bar and expected themselves to jump over it. They had very HIGH STANDARDS in every aspect of life. SELF DISCIPLINE was the key to this philosophy. 

Death is a central aspect of the Samurai philosophy. When a Samurai is faced with a situation in which he must choose between life and death, his immediate, unhesitating choice is always DEATH. While the desire to live is natural, and we temper our actions according to this desire, there is no doubt that opting for life without realizing our ambitions is cowardly.

A Samurai valued EDUCATION and were expected to carry a book when they were not training. 

Irresponsible behaviour of every type was considered DISHONOURABLE. They were HONEST, SINCERE and LAW ABIDING people. They didn’t need any laws or rules of conduct because they always did what was right and avoided doing what was wrong. They would always tell the TRUTH. LYING was considered a disgrace that will never leave you. 

HUMILITY was highly important. A Samurai didn’t want to stand out or draw attention to him self. They just wanted to quietly go about their business. They were NOT EGOTISTICAL or ARROGANT people. They carefully watched what they would say. Words can harm everyone. They were men of few words. You couldn’t get them to talk very much, however they would ask questions and LISTEN attentively. 

Samurai believed in HARD WORK. They had an outstanding WORK ETHIC. They believed MANUAL LABOUR was a good thing. It was a good thing to dig ditches, move rocks, build roads and rock walls. They loved to work in bad weather because it made them mentally TOUGH and strong. After all war is not fought in good weather. They didn’t like any comforts of any kind because it makes one SOFT. In order to progress in life, one had to improve every day in every aspect. 

What can we learn form this group of people? How to we instill some of these characteristics in people today? Many people today are as far from this philosophy as you can get. The Samurai would be appalled by our culture.

Haters are my motivators.

Haters are my motivators.

You know why?

The more they taunt, bully, and try to do anything to get in my way! 

I work harder, and get smarter.

I’m not going to let these people get in my way and block me of what I have to do in order to become successful.

Nights swerve.

I will defeat my battles and pass and Obstacles NOBODY CAN GET IN MY WAY.

IF U THINK YOU CAN, WELL THINK AGAIN. I AM STRONG NOBODY CAN STOP ME.

Princess Diana Speech – Responding To Landmines

1

Responding To Landmines Famous Speech by Princess Diana

June 12, 1997

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must begin by saying how warmly I welcome this conference on landmines convened by the Mines Advisory Group and the Landmines Survivors’ Network. It is so welcome because the world is too little aware of the waste of life, limb and land which anti-personnel landmines are causing among some of the poorest people on earth. Indeed, until my journey to Angola early this year – on which I am going to speak this morning – I was largely unaware of it too.

For the mine is a stealthy killer. Long after conflict is ended, its innocent victims die or are wounded singly, in countries of which we hear little. Their lonely fate is never reported. The world, with its many other preoccupations, remains largely unmoved by a death roll of something like 800 people every month – many of them women and children. Those who are not killed outright – and they number another 1,200 a month – suffer terrible injuries and are handicapped for life. I was in Angola in January with the British Red Cross – a country where there are 15 million landmines in a population, Ladies and Gentlemen, of 10 million – with the desire of drawing world attention to this vital, but hitherto largely neglected issue.

Some people chose to interpret my visit as a political statement. But it was not. I am not a political figure. As I said at the time, and I’d like to re-iterate now, my interests are humanitarian. That is why I felt drawn to this human tragedy. This is why I wanted to play down my part in working towards a world-wide ban on these weapons. During my days in Angola, I saw at first hand three aspects of this scourge. In the hospitals of Luanda, the capital, and Huambo, scene of bitter fighting not long ago, I visited some of the mine victims who had survived, and saw their injuries. I am not going to describe them, because in my experience it turns too many people away from the subject. Suffice to say, that when you look at the mangled bodies, some of them children, caught by these mines, you marvel at their survival. What is so cruel about these injuries is that they are almost invariably suffered, where medical resources are scarce.

I observed for myself some of the obstacles to improving medical care in most of these hospitals. Often there is a chronic shortage of medicine, of pain killers, even of anesthetics. Surgeons constantly engaged in amputating shattered limbs, never have all the facilities we would expect to see here. So the human pain that has to be borne is often beyond imagining. This emergency medical care, moreover, is only the first step back to a sort of life. For those whose living is the land, loss of an arm or leg, is an overwhelming handicap which lasts for life. I saw the fine work being done by the Red Cross and other agencies to replace lost limbs. But making prostheses is a costly as well as a complicated business. For example; a young child will need several different fittings as it grows older. Sometimes, the severity of the injury makes the fitting of an artificial limb impossible. There are never enough resources to replace all the limbs that are lost.

As the Red Cross have expressed it: “Each victim who survives will incur lifetime expenses for surgery and prosthetic care totaling between 2,000 and 3,000.”

That is an intolerable load for a handicapped person in a poor country. That is something to which the world should urgently turn its conscience.

In Angola, one in every 334 members of the population is an amputee! Angola has the highest rate of amputees in the world. How can countries which manufacture and trade in these weapons square their conscience with such human devastation?

My third main experience was to see what has been done, slowly and perilously, to get these mines out of the earth. In the Kuito and Huambo region I spent a morning with small team from Halo Trust, which is training Angolans to work on the pervasive minefields and supervising their work. I speak of “our team” because men of the Mines Advisory group – or, in this instance, the Halo Trust – who volunteer for this hazardous work are usually former members of our own Services. I take this opportunity to pay my tribute to the work these men do on our behalf – the perils they encounter are not just confined to mines. Two members of the Mines Advisory Group team in Cambodia, Chris Howes and Houn Horth, were kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge a year ago and their fate is uncertain. We can only pray for their safe return.

Much ingenuity has gone into making some of these mines. Many are designed to trap an unwary de-miner. Whenever such tricky mines appear, the de-miner will call in one of the supervising team, who will then take over. That is what keeps their lives perpetually at risk. It might be less hazardous, I reflected, after my visit to Angola, if some of the technical skills used in making mines had been applied to better methods of removing them. Many of these mines are relatively cheap – they can be bought for 5 apiece, or less. Tracing them, lifting them, and disposing of them, costs far more – sometimes as much as a hundred times more.

Angola, is full of refugees returning after a long war. They present another aspect of this tragedy. The refugee turns towards home, often ignorant of conditions in his homeland. He knows of mines, but homeward bound, eagerness to complete the journey gets the better of him. Or he finds mines on what was once his land, and attempts to clear them. There were many examples of that in Angola. These mines inflict most of their casualties on people who are trying to meet the elementary needs of life. They strike the wife, or the grandmother, gathering firewood for cooking – They ambush the child sent to collect water for the family

I was impressed to see the work being done by many of the world’s agencies on “Mine Awareness”.” If children can be taught at school, if adults can be helped to learn what to do, and what not to do in regions that have been mined, then lives can be saved and injuries reduced.

There are said to be around 110 million mines lurking somewhere in the world – and over a third of them are to be found in Africa! Angola is probably more heavily mined than anywhere else, because the war went on for such a long time, and it invaded so much of the country. So that country is going to be infested with mines, and will suffer many more victims. And this brings me to one of the main conclusions I reached after this experience.

Even if the world decided tomorrow to ban these weapons, this terrible legacy of mines already in the earth would continue to plague the poor nations of the Globe. “The evil that men do, lives after them”

And so, it seems to me, there rests a certain obligation upon the rest of us

One of my objectives in visiting Angola was to forward the cause of those, like the Red Cross, striving in the name of humanity to secure an international ban on these weapons. Since them, we are glad to see, some real progress has been made. There are signs of a change of heart – at least in some parts of the world. For that we should be cautiously grateful. If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation’s grandchildren.

But for this generation in much of the developing world, there will be no relief, no relaxation the toll of deaths and injuries caused by mines already there, will continue.

This tracing and lifting of mines, as I saw in Angola, is a desperately slow business. So in my mind a central question remains. Should we not do more to quicken the de-miners’ work, to help the injured back to some sort of life, to further our own contribution to aid and development?

The country is enriched by the work done by its overseas agencies and non-governmental organizations who work to help people in Africa and Asia to improve the quality of their lives. Yet mines cast a constant shadow over so much of this work. Resettlement of refugees is made more hazardous. Good land is put out of bounds. Recovery from war is delayed. Aid workers themselves are put at risk. I would like to see more done for those living in this “no man’s land” which lies between the wrongs of yesterday and the urgent needs of today.

I think we owe it. I also think it would be of benefit to us, as well as to them. The more expeditiously we can end this plague on earth caused by the landmine, the more readily can we set about the constructive tasks to which so many give their hand in the cause of humanity?

 

This famous Princess Diana Speech entitled Responding To Landmines is a great example of a clear address using excellent text to persuade and inspire the audience, a natural leader and motivator. This famous Princess Diana Speech is famed for its powers of verbal communication making good use of the words and language to illustrate the subject of Responding To Landmines.

 

The People’s Princess – Princess Diana is the epitome of a servant leader

Image

 

In an age where the royal family of Great Britain ruled their kingdom from the luxuries of their throne, a princess emerged that would change the face of the royal family. Princess Diana was one of the most famous people in the world, named one of Times Magazine 100 Most Important People of the 20th century. She was known as the “people’s princess,” until tragically, she was killed in a car accident in 1997 that would lead to questions of: What made Princess Diana such an influential person? Why did 2.5 billion people view her funeral? How did she change the way her country viewed social issues that for centuries were seen as undesirable?

Princess Diana is the epitome of a servant leader. A “great leader is seen as a servant first, and the simple fact is the key to her greatness. What she is deep down inside”. In her effort to serve others, Princess Diana brought awareness of AIDS research and hunger awareness in impoverished countries, showed empathy towards people with leprosy when it was still seen as an untouchable disease, and fought against the use of land mines.

She exhibited the core traits of a servant leader, such as

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Healing
  • Awareness
  • Persuasion
  • Conceptualization
  • Foresight
  • Stewardship
  • Commitment to the growth of people and
  • Building community.

Former President Bill Clinton recapitulated her servant leader traits in a 1987 quote:

In 1987, when so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Princess Diana sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. She showed the world that people with AIDS deserve no isolation, but compassion and kindness. It helped change world opinion, and gave hope to people with AIDS with an outcome of saved lives of people at risk.”

Princess Diana had one of the largest followings in the world. She was known as the “people’s princess,” and by helping others was able to bridge the gap between the royal family and its constituents. Her followers’ development in social issues was a result of “the strength of the servant leadership movement and its many links to encouraging follower learning, growth and autonomy”.

During her reign, she was able to mobilize millions of people to change their views on AIDS and worked with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines that received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

Princess Diana believed “everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back if only they had the chance”. She spread knowledge about social issues that led to the growth and strength of people groups that were otherwise overlooked by society.

There is a strong biblical relationship between charisma and servant leadership. Princess Diana was able to “empower her followers by enhancing their perceptions of self-efficacy and their confidence in their ability to overcome obstacles, by using verbal persuasion and verbal recognition, and by functioning as a role model” . The charismatic quality of Princess Diana’s “individual personality by virtue of which she is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at the least specifically exceptional qualities” . When Princess Diana visited the sick or oppressed, she was seen as extraordinary by her followers.

In defining Princess Diana as a servant leader, it is important to differentiate a servant leader from a transformational leader.

Servant leadership exceeds transformational leadership in two ways

  1. Its recognition of the leader’s social responsibilities to serve those people who are marginalized by a system
  2. Its dedication to followers needs and interests as opposed to those of their own or their organization” Princess Diana advocated for people who otherwise would not have a voice because of the social system that existed in the United Kingdom and dedicated herself to the mission of her followers and the people she served as opposed to her position as Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana was first a servant, than a leader. Her works as a servant compelled her to lead. “The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead”. Princess Diana’s legacy is left up to her followers to fulfill. As a servant leader, she provided the education and example to her followers, now it is up to them to live out her mission.

 

 

 

3 Differences between Managers and Leaders

Although at times it may appear that managers and leaders are similar in terms of how they implement ideas, key differences exist between these two forms of leadership that separate them. The three question test below will help you decide if you have made the shift from managing people to leading them.

Are You Counting Value or Creating Value?

Managers count value – they take count of the work their team has done, report upon their progress and are responsible for keeping them on schedule with the workflow required.

In contrast, leaders create value. They generate value over and above what the team alone is creating, designating tasks saying “I would like you to handle A, while I take care of B”. The leader is as much a value creator as his or her followers are. Leading by example and enabling people are the keystones of action-based leadership.

1

Princess Diana pays her tributes to Nelson Mandela a few months before her death in 1997. Both Mandela and the Princess are visionary leaders remembered for their global influence.

Do You Have Circles of Influence or Circles of Power?

Managers have subordinates, leaders have followers. Managers create circles of power while leaders create circles of influence.

The quickest way to figure out which one you are doing is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.

Do You Leading People or Managing Work?

Management consists of controlling a group of people to reach a pre-determined goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward an organization’s success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

For a moment, consider great leaders in history. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela. All of these men walked shoulder to shoulder with their countrymen and inspired them to believe in their vision and dream. True leaders inspire people to convert their challenges into opportunities, and think beyond their problems to reach a shared goal. Take this article for what it’s worth, but hopefully you can use it to inspire your future actions with your team. You have to decide- do you want to be a leader or a manager? Choose and act accordingly.

2

Mahatma Gandhi is remembered for his closeness to his people and followers. He spent hours among the people of India, talking to them and sharing his vision.

Leadership Lessons From Alexander The Great

shutterstock_48776125

Alexander became king when only 20 and in an amazing eleven-year journey of conquest rode 10,00 miles, fought 70 battles without losing a single one and conquered all the way from Egypt to India – half the known world of those times. All this in a life spanning a mere 32 years! Obviously an achievement of such epic proportions could not have happened without the display of some amazing leadership qualities. What leadership qualities of Alexander made historians label him ‘Great’? Here are some of the incidents from the short life of Alexander, that are illustrative of his leadership style and which we could take lessons from.

This man is an interesting study in the art of leadership, and today’s leaders should take note. Here are some of Alexander’s lessons for general managers and sales managers:

  1. Have An action orientation: Action was what Alexander wanted from life. He hated a life of comfortable sloth. When he heard of the conquests of his father, King Philip of Macedonia, Alexander was not happy about the additional wealth and power that he would inherit, but instead was sad that there would be less left for him to conquer. Alexander often lamented to his friends that the way things were going nothing would be left for him to do once he became king!
  2. Care for your people: Between 30,000 and 43,000 infantry and between 3,000 and 4,000 horsemen followed Alexander into Asia Minor [334 B.C.]. He had only 70 talents (Greek currency) for their pay, and no more than thirty days’ provisions. Alexander was 200 talents in debt, having spent everything he had in making sure that his best men were able to provide for their families. When one of his generals asked what he had kept for himself, Alexander answered: “My hope.” On hearing this, the general refused the pension that Alexander offered him, saying: “Your soldiers will be your partners in that.”
  3. Be seen caring for your people: After covering four hundred miles in eleven days in the battle against King Darius, Alexander and his soldiers were nearly dead from thirst. Some Macedonian scouts had brought back a few bags of water from a distant river, and they offered Alexander a helmet-full. Although his mouth was so dry that he nearly was choking, he gave back the helmet with his thanks and explained: “There is not enough for everyone, and if I drink, the others will faint.” When his men saw this, they spurred their horses forward and shouted for him to lead them. With such a king, they said, they would defy any hardships.
  4. Dare to innovate!: In the city of Gordium, Alexander accepted the challenge of the Gordian knot. A very intricate knot tied together the yoke of an ancient chariot, and there was a legend that whoever could undo the knot would become the master of the world. Alexander pulled out his sword and chopped through the Gordian knot, instead of involving himself in its mysterious entanglements.
  5. Lead by personal example / Lead from the Front:: One day, Alexander fell behind the rest of his army because his old teacher, Lysimachus could not keep up. Night found Alexander in a very dangerous position: far behind his army and without any fire to combat the cold. He noticed some enemy campfires, so he ran over to one, killed two soldiers with his knife, then carried back a burning stick to his men. This was typical of Alexander — he was always encouraging his men by a personal example of readiness to work and face danger. Alexander was admired by his troops. He rode and walked in front of them; he didn’t ride behind them in a golden carriage. He ate the same rations and drank the same amount of water that his troops had. Alexander knew exactly how far and how fast his army could march, and he knew their physical and emotional state before battle. Note to GMs:When was the last time you put your ego on hold and rode a full day with one of your sales reps? Have you ever worked a shift with your receptionist, who is the first line of contact with your customers?
  6. Live your values: One night at Gaugamela, the armies of Alexander and Darius, King of Persia, came in sight of each other. The noise and campfires of the vast barbarian camp were so frightening that some of Alexander’s generals advised a night attack because it would be too dangerous to take on such a huge force in daylight. But Alexander replied: “I will not steal victory.”
  7. Reward your people: Another time, one of the common soldiers was driving a mule that carried some of Alexander’s treasure. The mule was too exhausted to go on, so the soldier put the load on his own shoulders. Alexander saw the man staggering along, and he asked what was the matter. The soldier told him that the mule was too tired to carry the load, and that he was about at the end of his endurance too. “Don’t give up now,” said Alexander, “but carry what you have there to the end of the journey, then take it to your own tent, to keep for yourself.”
  8. Strategic Planning: When Alexander left Macedonia to conquer Persia, he took surveyors, engineers, architects, scientists, court officials and historians. Once he left home, he left nothing to chance – he couldn’t afford to stop his campaigns and wait for the “Army Corps of Engineers” to build a bridge. Speed was essential for Alexander. Through his travels of 21,000 miles, (remember, this was on horse and foot, not in a new Porsche Cayenne), Alexander had to backtrack only once in his journeys across Europe and Asia. This is amazing, considering he didn’t have a GPS in 334-323 BC.
  9. Policy of Assimilation: Some historians look at Alexander as the father of mergers and acquisitions. In less than 10 years, Alexander became ruler of half the known world and he managed to hold his empire together less by force, than by the astute policy of assimilation. Newly acquired Persian territories were not told to “fall in line,” but instead, were encouraged to retain their local administrative structure and culture. Aristotle had taught Alexander to think of the Greeks as the only free men, and all others as slaves, but Alexander disagreed. He admired the Persians’ organizational ability, and instead of ruling over them, he decided to rule with them. He insisted that his leaders adopt local customs and respect local religious faith.

If that were applied to our industry, a new general manager wouldn’t “blow out” almost everybody because they weren’t “his people.” He would give his acquired employees a chance to prove themselves, producing less resentment from the “conquered” and more immediate productivity – not downtime and lost revenue through replacing personnel who may have excelled.

After his last battle, Alexander gave the following speech (transcribed by me from a plaque in the Thessaloniki airport). We all could take note of some of Alexander’s leadership lessons. I know general managers who could use this advice, too:

The Oath of Alexander – “It is my wish now that the wars are coming to an end, that you should all be happy in peace. From now on, let all mortals live as one people, in fellowship, for the good of all. See the whole world as your homeland, with laws common to all, where the best will govern regardless of their race. Unlike the narrow-minded, I make no distinction between Greeks and Barbarians. The origin of citizens, or the race into which they were born, is of no concern to me. I have only one criterion in which to distinguish them – virtue. For me, any good foreigner is a Greek, and any bad Greek is worse than a Barbarian. If disputes ever occur among you, you will not resort to weapons, but will solve them in peace. If need be, I shall arbitrate between you. See God not as an autocratic despot, but as a common father to all, and thus your conduct will be like the lives of brothers within the same family. I, on my part, see all of you as equal, whether you are white or dark-skinned. And I should like you not simply to be subjects of my commonwealth, but members of it, partners of it. To the best of my ability, I shall strive to do what I have promised. Keep as a symbol of love this oath, which we have taken tonight with our libations.

These incidents offer us an understanding of why Alexander truly deserved the title of ‘The Great’.

A Letter From Your Dance Teacher by Keesha Beckford (Master modern and jazz dance teacher)

shutterstock_150611924

 

Dear Dance Student circa 2013:

Hi, there! This is your dance teacher. Your older dance teacher. Let’s chat.

First, I know you love dance. You want to be great. You want to work. You want people to see all that you have to offer. You are also coming of age in a dance world that is so different from the one I grew up in, and I’m excited to see what develops.

But I’ve seen a lot that concerns me.

You come from a generation that has been empowered like none before in humanity. You have been taught to question authority – to do your own thing — from an early age. Many of you have been raised where “everyone gets a trophy,” and your teachers, parents and coaches, trying to be encouraging, often praised you just because. Furthermore, in the age of the Internet everything is accessible instantly and effortlessly. You want to look up a word or person? Google it. You hear a song you like? You don’t even have to remember the words — just Shazam it. Hell, you don’t even have to push a button anymore; you merely touch a screen.

When you are asked to work at something because that is simply what one does, many of you ask “Why should I? So-and-so made this thing and it went mad viral.” A few people are genuine overnight sensations — results of our spectacle-hungry, media-addicted culture. Most sudden phenoms, however, have been toiling quietly for years before their “moment.”

Success is a process.

Success is also a product of criticism from others and oneself. In dance class, corrections are very public. The teacher cannot always say everything in the gentlest way. With a class full of students, she needs to be concise and clear.

Your teacher’s job is not to make you like her, not to make you want go have coffee or drinks, or to be lifelong or even Facebook friends. Personally, I like it when I become friends with students. But this happens because before anything else the student trusted me — my skills and knowledge as a dancer and teacher.

If you don’t trust your teacher you might find her corrections disrespectful. I tend to get zealous with corrections, going on campaigns and harangues to fix things. My humor tends toward the sarcastic, which can rub people the wrong way. Thus the combination of doggedly wanting to help and a dry wit might offend some students.

If you are one of these students, you need to come talk to me about it.

Don’t rip me a new one via your parents or in your course evaluation.

Certainly there is humiliation, even cruelty in the dance studio. The caricature of the mean teacher or choreographer is based in truth. But when you find a teacher who is going out of her way to correct you, and perhaps getting a little frustrated – to call this teacher disrespectful is wrong. You do yourself a disservice.

It is much easier for your teacher to ignore you, and spend time on someone who makes changes quickly. Only a teacher who thinks you have potential would bother to try to help you. Not disrespectful at all — exactly the opposite.

And that puts the onus on you, to take responsibility for yourself. If you don’t understand why you are getting a correction five times per class or why your dancing is not getting the compliments you’d like, ask!

The teachers who gave me the harshest, most brutally honest corrections are the ones I learned the most from. I didn’t like what they had to say, but in my day, we just went home and cried — never did we accuse the teacher of disrespect. Weeks, months or even years later, I realized how right the teacher was. That said, their corrections didn’t mean I was a) a bad dancer b) never going to dance professionally c) meant to be a Taco Bell employee.

So please, take class mindfully. Work hard. Bring passion into the studio. Be curious about how to get better. Ask questions. And remember, if someone cares enough to work with you day in and day out, if she or he cares enough to get frustrated with you, she’s not being disrespectful, she’s teaching.

You have so much information and technology available to you, and I know you have a lot to say. But a skilled dancing body still counts. Let me help.

Sincerely,

Keesha