Tap Dancing My Way to Success

Mastery for Beginners; WEEK 2

My Sister Nonny (left) and Me! (right!)

How am I going to better the world with tap dancing? What kind of employment is tap dancing going to give me? I am going to stop here for a moment and acknowledge my privilege. Privilege to live in a state of being where I can focus on mastering tap dance and not where I am fighting for my life.

So why tap dancing?

You know what? It’s not really about the tap dancing. What I am actually interesting in mastering is the CREATIVE PROCESS. I have chosen tap dancing because I’m already good at it, and who do you know that tap dances? If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me “I’ve always wanted to tap dance”, I would be rich!

I’m mastering the creative process of tap dancing because it is serving a desire and need in me to build my confidence and connect in a deeper and more meaningful way with community. Does that mean I’m going to tap dance around the supermarket connecting with people? As much as I LOVE that image, (and don’t be surprised if I end up doing that), the connection part comes more as a side effect. The commitment to a goal such as this builds my self worth which feeds my excitement for life, which has me living with a greater sense of satisfaction and purpose which in turn has me connecting more openly and meaningfully with myself, my environment and with community. I can give more, share more, and be more present.

“You’re happiest when you’re growing and giving. When you’ve become dedicated to something bigger than yourself….You can only have this type of work by developing mastery, investing in others, and being a giver.” — Cal Newport (So Good They Can’t Ignore you)

In mastering the creative process of tap dancing I am also stimulating my ability to think creatively and connect seemingly random dots that will lead me to new ideas that will serve the world and make me millions.

I am tap dancing my way to success. (ha! Take that!)

This past Monday morning I had an idea to “reach out” to a relevant organization to offer an engaging, informative and entertaining presentation that shares my experience of bridging the 15 years of front-lines mental health work of the downtown eastside with the “preventative” or “recovery” creative work I do through community building through the arts. This keynote address, or large scale workshop would draw upon my performance, shadow puppetry and physical comedy skills to facilitate an interactive brainstorm about everyday creativity and the importance of inclusion, diversity and connection with ourselves and others. We will collectively re-imagine; what IS mental health?

At tap class that very same night another tap student said to me; I work for the school board and we are having a “Mental Health Symposium”, would you be interested in offering your skills?

There it is, tap dancing my way to success.

So, where did this “new” burning desire to master the creative process come from? Suddenly,

“Good enough was no longer good enough.”— (I said that!) Candice Roberts.

As part of a self-development course I am participating called 52 week of momentum I am learning how to create and sustain motivation. The course is designed and facilitated by Benjamin P. Hardy and it’s really wonderful to see the ways in which the techniques meet the diverse needs and goals of all of the participants. Here are three key insights from Benjamin that have stood out to me immediately and relate to my path of mastery.

1. CONFIDENCE COMES FROM ACTION. (Not the other way around.)

Throughout my life I have often been challenged by lack of confidence and self worth. I would ask myself why is this? I have a lot going for myself I have so much potential. I have lots of friends and people like me. They believe in me.

Why don’t I believe in myself?

I discovered years ago the importance of following through with my word to others, but I now realize that I didn’t feel the same importance when it came to following through on my own word.

This is really terrible and another subject altogether about the conditioning of young girls and their body image, but at age 10, I started being concerned with my weight. Everyday I would say, “Tomorrow I am going to start a diet”, and then I proceed to “binge” or “overeat” whatever I could get my hands on. I did that for about 25 years. Thousands and thousands of broken promises to myself. Not just with the lack of “control” around food, but I also broke promises of not getting up early the next day, or not going to that class, or not doing what I told myself I was going to do. NO WONDER I DIDN’T BELIEVE IN MYSELF!

2. IDENTITY FOLLOWS BEHAVIOUR. (Again, not the other way around)

In October 2017, after reading an article I stumbled upon by online, I decided I would build my confidence by doing what I say I’m going to do and I started a regime of jumping out of bed to do 28 squats. BEFORE COFFEE!!! By November that turned into 50 squats and 50 core strengthening exercises, in both the am and pm of everyday. It has now been 100 days in a row! This dedication has shown me that I CAN do what I say. It has inspired me to participate in this 52 Days of Moment course, it has inspired this personal challenge of mastery, It has inspired me to take bold steps.

3. ACTION CREATES INSPIRATION. (Surprise, surprise, not the other way around!)

What is inspiration without action? Just a bunch of lofty dreams. Within the 3 weeks of this course I have been doing the journal work, I have cut down facebook/social media by 80%, I am reading books, meditating and clarifying my goals and paying attention to the insights that give me the “next steps”. I am making bold moves which in turn is spawning more ideas. When I had the idea of the “keynote” presentation; I acted on it immediately and was given an opportunity the very same day.

“If you want more creativity, you simply need to do more creative work. You battle the resistance and get to work. Then, creativity becomes non-stop”- Benjamin Hardy

I am tap dancing my way to success.

Yes, back to the tap dance. This week I trained a total of 8 hours which includes 3 classes I took at the Rhythm Room in Vancouver, BC, founded and operated by the very skillful tap dancer and teacher Jennifer Bishop. I love the interesting rhythms she writes as well as the style in which she teaches. This week I learned a form of a “slide” that I know is going to expand and develop as a favourite move for me. I have discovered an importance as well as a profound appreciation of having a mentor or teacher. When I invest in a one hour class, it turns into hours of material for “deliberate” practice.

“Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance” –James Clear (The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice)

This weeks video was even harder to commit to than last weeks. The piece (as written by Jennifer Bishop) has a lot more full body physicality and I wanted to capture that. Now that this has come to attention, there will be much more to be aware of in class and practice. There are arms to consider (why are they flopping around?), facial expression (is that a concentration face?), posture as WELL as precise tap tones. Instead of writing a disclaimer about what’s “lacking” I’m going to honour the process:

I am 100% in lovingly acceptance of who I am and where I am at in this exact moment.

8 hours this week brings me to 9,484 hours left to mastery. (Wink wink, I know that this journey of mastery is really about the process, but the numbers are a fun game, and a quantifiable goal!)

Here is to week 2!

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