Zumba: Creating the Rhythm of Your Life

After a month-long hiatus, Zumba class is back in session! Grab your bright colored workout gear, a water bottle and let’s get ready to dance like no one’s watching.

Shake it. Enough said.

Zumba, for me, is that one hour during the week where friends, new and old, meet to workout, everything is perfect and the world does not exist outside of the dance studio. We support each other. We have a good time. We are not afraid to challenge ourselves. The world is perfect.

I’m a very active person, and have become addicted to being challenged. When you’re challenged — when you are pushed to your limits — you learn a lot about yourself and your strength. It’s my experience that your mind usually gives out before your body does.

So, the question is, what life lessons have I learned from Zumba?

First, try, try again and then try again. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced Zumba-er, it takes three classes to get into the groove and feel the choreography. You may not get the samba on your first attempt, but it’s that failure and that re-attempt that allows it to finally click.

One day you will get it. Be persistent. Don’t give up despite a failing attempt. Use your attempt as motivation to keep trying. And, when you finally get what you want, don’t be afraid to celebrate your success.

Second, get out of your comfort zone. I love to make people laugh. With that said, I will often bust out dance moves or jokes at inappropriate times, of course, for the sake of laughter. However, that’s comfortable to me. On the other hand, Latin-inspired dances require a certain amount of sex appeal, which is foreign to me. As you challenge yourself to expand and explore this new side, you learn about yourself. You open yourself up to a new part of you, and you become fearless in the face of new challenges, what ever those challenges may be.

That’s Zumba.

Finally, have fun. I have been blessed with over thinking every aspect of my life. Sometimes — well, more like most of the time — I forget to have fun or even that I deserve the opportunity to have fun and get  away from work. Zumba has taught me to let go, have fun and that it is good for your mental and physical well being. Even while you are having fun, your mind continues to process life’s daily struggles and battles. And, most importantly, it clears your mind.

While Zumba may not be for everyone, I encourage you to find an activity that allows you to escape the stress of your life, clears your mind and allows you to have fun in the process. And, possibly, takes you away from your computer, the Internet, Facebook and your phone.

Unplug yourself and have fun. You deserve it!

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Monday Motivation: You Choose Your Outlook

Your outlook is dependent upon how you define a situation — plain and simple. Is it an opportunity? Or, it is a problem? Will it determine who you are? Or, will you determine who you are going to be?

This past weekend I had a conversation with an acquaintance of mine who had recently interviewed for a full-time job position. Now let me fill you in, this full-time position is the difference between her working one job and her working two part-time jobs. During the conversation she said, “If I don’t get this job, I’m going to be so unhappy.”

From that moment forward, all she could think about was her unhappiness and it effected her mood for the entire night.

Growing up, I played softball and the coaches always said, “You strike out seven out of 10 times.” I risked failure every time I stepped into the batter’s box. But, let me tell you, hitting the ball three out of ten times is absolutely worth it.

Why are those three hits worth the risk of failure?

Because you had the courage to dust your cleats off, step back into the batter’s box and attempt again. Because you didn’t back down. Because you learned from your last attempt and made the necessary adjustments for success. Because it teaches you about persistence. And because, most importantly, you learn your own strength.

When you risk everything — when you put yourself out there — you might fail, but opening yourself up to the possibility of success — to the possibility of greatness —  is worth it.

One moment does not define who you are. How you define that moment — that attempt at greatness — and continue to move forward despite rejection and failure will determine your path to greatness.

It’s the difference between hurdles and barriers. You can overcome one, while the other stops you from traveling to the place you want to go.

As the image reads, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?”

Make sure you ask the right question.

What can I do to be better? How can I improve? How can I be better than the person I was yesterday?

Monday Motivation: Redirected to Something Better

OK — It isn’t Monday, but better late than never and this is quite befitting of my Monday.

While I can’t say I was rejected in any way on Monday, I did have another job interview, which means opening yourself up to the possibility of rejection. The possibility of rejection is a far better risk than not trying at all.

And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few months since graduation, being rejected points you in a more focused direction. Rejection teaches you about yourself, if you’re willing to learn from the experience. Rejection makes your vision that much more clear.

Sometimes rejection doesn’t feel like it’s pointing you in the direction of something better. Sometimes the moment isn’t one of clarity. Allow yourself to feel the emotions of rejection. But, step back, take it day by day and decide how you’re going to handle rejection.

There’s a Castle quote for everything. Insert here:

“Rejection isn’t failure,” Castle said. “It sure feels like failure,” Alexis, his daughter, responded in a moment of defeat. “Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up,” Castle explained. “My whole life has been about making sure I could get into any college I wanted — What’s it about now?” Alexis asked. “Give it time. You’ll figure it out,” Castle assured her.

Feel the rejection. And, when you finally get what you’ve worked for — everything you’ve ever wanted — you will know what true happiness feels like because you can measure it against rejection.

Remember, while you thought you were being rejected from what you wanted, your direction was becoming more focused, and, in the end, you’ll know what happiness feels like when you achieve your dreams, goals and vision because you’ve felt rejection.

Be happy for what you have right now and learn from your life’s redirection. With time, your new, focused direction will become more clear.

In the end, do you want it badly enough to get over being hurt?