Monday, June 17, 2013
"You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face."
That was one of today's motivational quotes from SparkCoach, and I really like it. It reminds me of something a great friend of mine used to tell me: "Shut up, and do something about it."
Stacey and I met when I was training to get into a famous repertory dance company. She was a very good student who quickly turned friend, and she attended some training workshops with me, and danced with me at several events. My life was ... well, chaotic is a good word. Things were Frustrating. Busy. Intense. Competitive. Oh, so competitive.
The training program for the company had a crazy amount of material you had to learn and master for even apprentice-level members. It was stressful and hard, and every time I would fail or couldn't keep up with the choreography, it was like that voice in the back of my head said "you aren't good enough." On top of that, I'd had a minor coup d'etat in my classes, and found myself competing with my own former students for teaching jobs in the area. (We call them 6-week wonders. They take class just long enough to think they know what they're doing and put themselves out as professionals.)
All of this was going down at the same time my husband was having major surgery (the kind where they give you as estimated percentage of survival. VERY scary) and so I was basically going crazy little by little with the pressures.
Stacey, however, was having none of it. When I would go to her to moan about how I couldn't master this complicated rhythmic pattern, or how I wasn't progressing because I was so depressed about something somebody ELSE was screwing up or doing wrong, she would look me in the eye and very matter-of-factly state, "Shut up and DO something about it!"
"Do something about it" became a mantra for me. Instead of looking at what other people were doing wrong, I had to learn to focus my energy on me, and work on what I could do RIGHT. Instead of watching the other company members execute perfect choreographies and thinking I was a failure, I did something about it -- I made it my goal to master those choreographies one small chunk at a time. One 8-count sequence at a time. And it worked.
Now, of course she was a loving shoulder to cry on for things that really were out of my control -- my husband's health, for one. But she wouldn't let me sit back and moan about something that was completely within my control. She encouraged me on my initial weight loss program. She supported my healthy food choices. She challenged me with her own strength gains at the gym. And over time, I did master those darn choreographies, but my life had changed in such a way that being in that dance company was no longer a priority to me, but that was okay, because I had the skills that I'd been lacking for so long.
"DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT" is now written on my studio wall, and I encourage my students to take that as their mantra too. What is within your control is within your reach. All it takes is patience and dedication -- and a commitment to focusing on what YOU can do, rather than what others are doing. I learned that from Stacey.
Unfortunately, life places us where we need to be rather than where we might want to be, and Stacey moved away. We both found ourselves extremely busy with our own lives, and now we don't talk nearly as much as we should. But every now and then, I am reminded of that sassy blonde who told me to shut and do something about it, thus changing my life so, so much.
I love you Stacey!