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.

I’m your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email at or by calling 704-333-1112.


  1. Stephanie,

    Fantastic and timely perspective. Thank you for sharing. Whitney definitely did not have a dance partner. I, on the other hand, dance with my partner every day and that person is my wife. She is inspirational, motivational,and practices your 3 points (which are spot on!) every day with me and anyone fortunate enough to be in her life. And, I might add that on Valentine's Day, your piece really strikes a chord with me. Thanks again.

  2. Stephanie - I love the new look of your site! Beautiful!

  3. Great article & totally timely! We can all use this reminder in personal & professional life!

  4. I love you Stephanie!! I sent this to my daughter as we too used to listen to Whitney Houston blaring out of the speakers and singing at the top of our lungs together! I was always sad to see Whitney on the news and struggling with life - what a talented gifted person in need of a dance partner - funny how everyone thought she was fabulous but she didn't believe in herself enough or love herself enough to get through the difficulties of life. You are a gifted writer because you touch people's hearts - that too is a gift just like Whitney's voice was.

  5. Too many times when someone tastes success they start to feel empowered and then, over time, they abuse or get abused by that power and prestige. It's hard to be who you really are when other people want you to be something else. Everyone needs a positive support system to keep them grounded and focused on the goal at hand. If anyone finds their way to fame and fortune just remember to look at who you were before and realize what a gift it is. Great article Stephanie.

  6. Great entertainer. Great article. Great perspective on an action we can take to continue the inspiration that Whitney and Stephanie provide. Thanks

  7. Everybody loves somebody sometime!
    This is 2/14, tell that somebody You Love them !

  8. This article is truly amazing ... you are a wonderful writer Stephanie ... thank you for the incredible words of wisdom

  9. Always enjoy this part of the Gitomer coffee break! Stephanie, you are an amazing young woman who writes with incredible skill and insight! Thank you for sharing these moments of truth with us!

  10. I was saddened to learn of Whitney's death. I think there is a lot of wisdom in the words you have written.
    I also relate these words to Mohammed Ali. He was a great boxer. He fought too many battles. Battles that people urged him to fight for their reasons and not his. Every time I see him now I have to fight back the tears and then I get angry at those who abused his talent and used his determination, courage and belief in himself to get him to have one more fight...and another...and another
    So, I guess we need people in our corner and people that truly care for us
    Thanks again for the article

  11. This article was brutal. Trash.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. If you would like to engage in further conversation on this, please email me at

  12. Stephanie, even John Wayne had saddle partners and sidekicks! Thanks for the article.

  13. Excellent take on this story. And you are correct - it was preventable. Also inevitable.

  14. Thank you to everyone who left such nice comments. I appreciate the kindness, support, and encouragement!

  15. A wonderful lesson to be learned amidst such a tragedy.