Weddings, to a Psychologist like me, are ‘target rich environments!”
The people watching is amazing! Think about it – there are people from all walks of life, every generation and the added boost of high emotions and lots of alcohol! That’s a winning combination!
This weekend I found myself at such a venue. Not surprising, I watched and thought (while my wife did most of the dancing)! What struck me was how closely “dance-floor personalities” gelled with the personalities I see when coaching plateaued high achievers.
Let’s take a look.
Here’s what I saw and what it could tell you about life.
The Dance Floor Personality Indicators:
1. The Great Dancer (and he wants you to know it): This guy’s got moves. He is confident, comfortable and capable. He knows he’s good, but that isn’t enough – he searches for validation, recognition and affirmation. He needs others approval to be secure; he is dancing to be seen and admired not for the joy of it.
Life Connection: Living life for the approval of others may not hurt you on the outside, but it can be lonely on the inside. It is hard to get the sense of peace and satisfaction when trying to impress others. It may not catch up with you for awhile – but it will.
2. The Good Dancer (who is having a ball): This guy is really good, but he doesn’t even care. He feels the music and is going with the flow. He looks natural, authentic and clearly in his element. He is the one most of us envy – he is where he wants to be, doing what he loves. His passion makes it look effortless even though he clearly has talent.
Life Connection: This is the ideal – this is where you want to be. You are doing something that maximizes your talents and your purpose. You feel in the zone. Work doesn’t feel like work – you are confident you have found your passion while maximizing your potential. Good for you!
3. The Embarrassing Dancer (who is having fun): This guy isn’t aware of anything but the moment. I assume in his mind he is John Travolta, but the rest of us see Elaine (from Seinfeld). Arms and legs are everywhere; there is little rhythm or grace, but the smile on his face says it all – he is having a ball. Joy and passion mean more than who’s the best or how he compares to others.
Life Connection: You don’t accept the standards or expectations of others. You do what feels good and you enjoy it. You may not be as talented as some, but your passion and effort carry the day. You get talked about, but you don’t care. You let your heart trump your mind and thus don’t get caught up in self-critique or censoring. Good for you!
4. The “White Man Shuffle”: This guy is on the floor, but he isn’t letting loose. You can tell he has some rhythm, but he doesn’t let go. He is too nervous about what others might think or say if he really let loose. He doesn’t want others talking about his weaknesses or shortcomings. He plays it safe, stays safe in his comfort zone and just rocks back and forth to the music. I bet he has more talent than he shows – he plays it too safe to know for sure.
Life Connection: Fear and insecurity drive your decisions. You know you have some God-given talent, but you are afraid to let loose and see what you can do. You have all the excuses in the world, but you never really try your best. You stay safe and utilize 50% of your capabilities. You play not to lose instead of playing to win!
5. The “Watcher”: This guy is often near the dance floor, but never on it. He nods to the beat, often smiling, but doesn’t engage. You can tell he has some rhythm and it looks like he would enjoy dancing, but he doesn’t try. When someone tries to lure him on – he smiles, but moves farther away. We have no idea what his true ability is because he won’t let himself dance.
Life Connection: This is the life of lost potential. While the desire and spark are still present – the courage is gone. You have stopped engaging or trying. True, your avoidance ensures you won’t fail, unfortunately you won’t find success either. You’ve taken yourself out of the game too early.
6. The “Ignorer”: This guy acts like he doesn’t even know there is a dance floor or music! He is far removed and busy talking to other Ignorers or Watchers. His back is turned; he doesn’t notice. He has given up on dance (if he ever tried). He doesn’t want anything to do with it and is glad when it’s finally time to go home. He may go so far as to laugh or pick on those who try.
Life Connection: When you stop trying you are in a decline. That’s when your purpose, passion and potential start to slip away. Left un-confronted, eventually you stop to care all together. From a Deliberate Journey perspective – you hit the bottom. Not only are you out of the game, but you left the stadium. You ignore what happens around you by distracting yourself with anything (or anybody) you can. Very sad.
So have you been to a wedding recently? Can you identify yourself?
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I did a lot of the “White Man Shuffle.” I don’t let go and make it happen. That’s my nemesis – fear and self-doubt. I may never “cure it”, but I keep trying.
Be deliberate. Keep working on yourself and your Journey. Figure out where you are and begin moving to where you want to be.
You are a “work-in-progress” – embrace it.