Monday, February 13, 2012

Dance with Somebody

Whitney Houston died.
I sent that text to my mom on Saturday night at 8:45pm.
I sent it to my mom because I remember listening to Whitney Houston cassette tapes with her while I was growing up. I remember how my mom thought Whitney Houston was gorgeous when we watched The Bodyguard.

When I found out about her passing, while sitting at the Charlotte Bobcats game via Facebook (another notch to the power of social media belt), the first person I thought to tell was my mother. So I texted her and over the past two days, I’ve read and listened to accounts of people’s opinions while I sat silently and digested all that had happened.

A singing icon died.
Yes, she was too young.
Yes, it is a tragedy.
Yes, it was most likely preventable.

But I saw it as a lesson in team building.
A lesson in surrounding yourself with people who will push you to be better, to not fail, to not give up, to not perish, but to rise above and be better.

I don’t know if Whitney Houston had a team that surrounded her.
I don’t know what efforts were made to save her, push her, or raise her to being her best.

What I do know is that regardless of what did or did not happen, failure occurred. Because Whitney Houston is no longer striving to be her best, she is no longer dancing with somebody.

Who are you dancing with? Who is pushing you? Who doesn’t give up on you even when you have given up on yourself? Do you have that somebody?

Are you that somebody?

How do you become that somebody?

Here's what you have to do to be a dance partner in someone’s life:
1. Praise. Positive words and reinforcement can catapult a person to their next level of success. Whether you are a co-worker, boss, teacher, coach, parent or friend, communicating kind words of praise will help boost self-confidence, allowing them to try harder. One of the biggest mistakes we make is only communicating when failure or large accomplishments occurs. It’s much harder to consciously praise people in our lives for their small positive actions that are helping them progress to a higher level of excellence. We all know the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” As a dance partner, you want to remember to: Don’t forget to praise the small stuff!
2. Push. This is a major obligation you have when you sign up to be someone’s dance partner. You must be willing to push them to do more and to do better. Sometimes people need to be pushed because they fail to push themselves, or they don’t have enough self-belief to go for it on their own. Pushing requires a delicate balance of knowing when to push and when to back off, however, most of us back off too soon. I’ve heard that if you send just one more marketing email, you’ll get an additional 15% response. Keep that in mind here, if you push and cheerlead someone just one more time, you may get a 15% increase in their success.
3. Protect. Probably the most important of the three elements, above all else, is to protect this person. On whatever level you are engaged with this person, you are required to protect them. This is easiest for parents and spouses, but think about it in business terms. To be a team player, you have to protect each other. To be a trusted boss, you have to protect your employees. To be a respected employee, you have to protect the business. Protection is to keep safe from harm. You have to bodyguard your dance partner and keep them from harm, whether it’s from outside influences or from themselves.

Whitney Houston died. I believe she died because she didn’t have a dance partner. I hope that you will dance with somebody – all the way to the best of their success.

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