From Ballet to Business: My Journey to Confidence

All throughout elementary school, junior high, and most of high school, I took ballet lessons. I performed in recitals and even joined a ballet company and performed ballets for elementary schools in the Kansas City area.

What I loved about ballet is that I could be seen and not heard. In fact, I wore glasses as a kid and I couldn’t even see the audience because I had to take them off for performances.

Every movement was rehearsed with precision. On performance day, remembering what do was easy.

As an adult, I still don’t mind being seen. Being heard is still difficult for me.

I love being able to think through a problem and arrive at a solution in my head, then write it down and see if it will work. I’ll start to implement the solution cautiously and carefully pick my way along looking for signs that the solution isn’t going to work before committing to it fully.

When I’m in front of people, leading a group coaching session, or teaching a room full of people, it’s more difficult. Often later, after the meeting is over, I’ll think of something clever I should have said.

Of course, the more I do it, the easier it gets.

What I’ve come to appreciate is the collaboration and exchange of ideas. I love the look on someone’s face when they are coming to a realization. You can see the information sinking into their brain.

The look of hope and possibility is unique and beautiful. The look of acknowledging a shortcoming or admitting that something difficult must be done is heartbreaking.

I’ve had my life change in many ways because of the teachers, mentors, and coaches I’ve associated with. I’ve also improved a large number of things by simply opening my mouth and connecting with peers.

It’s interesting when I admit to another person that I’m struggling with something, they don’t laugh in my face and walk away. (I’m really not sure why I expect them to do that.) Instead, they offer empathy, question me for clarity, or share their experience with the same problem. All of which are welcomed.

Being an assistant is tough. There’s a lot to do every day and the expectation is that everything is done correctly.

It got so much easier for me when I started asking questions and seeking answers.

It got so much easier for me when I admitted to myself that I wasn’t always going to know how to solve every problem on my own.

It got so much easier for me when I stopped doubting myself and started showing up as someone willing to make mistakes and fail.

Some days it’s still hard. Some days I’m scared I’m doing it wrong. Some days feel like I’m failing fast.

And I know that’s okay. I know I’m going to be okay.

I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I have yet to die of embarrassment or fear.

I’m grateful to every person I’ve learned from and to every person I’ve taught something to.

If there’s something I want you to learn from me now, it’s this: The world needs your light. We need you to be seen and heard. We need you to show up and share what you know and what you don’t know.

Everything you do is a vote for one or the other: to make a difference or to be forgettable. I’m hoping you choose to make a difference.

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