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How to dance when you don’t know how

You! Don’t move! Remain perfectly still! I will tell you how to dance. In this way you will learn salsa. Or do you prefer to shame yourself when clearly you have no rhythm?”

Salsa is what your new instructor has just made of your dreams.

“I came here to learn, Alejandro! And now you want to do it all for me? Not together? I know salsa, and you are not salsa! Goodbye!”

It makes sense you’d be angry. It makes sense you’d walk away.

And yet! So many of us want our own Alejandro to market our businesses.

“Remain perfectly still? Move as little as possible? Tell me more!”

Because people keep telling us how to dance, we keep looking for people to tell us how to dance. Or to dance for us. Dancing in 15 minutes a day? I thought you’d never ask!

Believing a step-by-step marketing process could present itself for every situation—without experimentation or play—we stand stock still. We’re afraid of doing it wrong.

I love giving advice and telling people what to do. Are you kidding? It’s one of my favorite activities.

“Here, let me tell you what the real problem is!”

“The solution is clear! Do this and that and this and that! A little bit, and then a lot!”

“Go here, go there! Read all the things! Wham-o!”

But your dance is your dance.

And when it stops feeling like a dance and starts feeling like a Denise Austin aerobics video from the 80s, it makes sense you’d stop loving it. It makes sense you’d start looking for another workout video.

Maybe you could learn to love dancing if you knew you could dance the way you wanted to—and still get results. Without rigidly adhering to someone else’s template of steps.

How to fall in love with dancing—even if you don’t know how?

Watch yourself in the mirror.

Dance practice begins with noticing what gives you momentum, doing more of those things, and repurposing as much as you can.

A few sample moves to consider:

  1. Turn your struggles into reasons why people should hire you.
    If you don’t feel like dancing right now, then list out all your reasons why this isn’t working. List everything you’ve tried. Everything you’ve thought of trying. Then, turn these objections into reasons why your clients should work with you. They’re likely struggling with the same things. Maybe it’s okay to have these reactions. You might even create a service or product—like Hiro Boga’s class to heal your Internet Hangover. Or like Eileen Corrigan’s time management Sailboat Kit.
  2. Go home as soon as you feel like it.
    Sometimes you feel like dancing in a crowd. Sometimes you don’t. Leave the party as soon as you feel like it. As much as I love Twitter, I prefer phone conversations, in-person meetings, and workshops. I don’t feel guilty having a conversation—just because it’s offline. My business grows when I let myself do more of the things I love. Even if they seem unscalable.
  3. Speak ‘n blog.
    If you don’t like sitting down to write a blog post, don’t sit down to write a blog post. Do something else and bring a tape recorder. Play video games. Play tennis and talk out your ideas between sets. Trade transcription services with a friend. Draw Venn diagrams. Feature drawings—like Sparky Firepants’ botpreneur or Koldo Barroso on Naomi Niles‘ blog. One of my clients hates to write. So, I pretend I’m Terry Gross and ask him questions. After about 30 minutes of this, we’ve got the beginnings of a blog post or two. It’s easier to edit a labor of love.
  4. Let yourself write about feelings.
    Release yourself from the forced outcome of a blog post. It’s amazing how often you accidentally write yourself into Blog Post Land when you start in Feelings Land. Your clients live in Feelings Land, too, even when they’re looking for useful advice. Starting with feelings turns you into an everlasting gobstopper of business insights, releasing all sorts of useful epiphanies.
  5. Turn talks into products.
    Repurpose those talks you love to give as blog posts, worksheets, and checklists. Create private Twitter lists of the people you met at the workshop, so you always have someone to talk to when you do show up at a party unannounced.

You do love to dance. Your mission is to find your own signature dance moves. And to do more of them. And to fill in the gaps as they appear—by getting a dance partner as needed. When you’re dancing the way you want to—rather than observing the experts—that’s when the magic happens. Olé!

Are you sure you haven’t had lessons?


12 Responses to How to dance when you don’t know how

  1. Naomi Niles says:

    Baffled Goblin says thank you very much for the nice mention. He hasn’t mastered the smooth moves yet, but he’s working on it! :)
    .-= Naomi Niles´s last blog ..Relationship Marketing for Solopreneurs Review =-.

  2. Kylie says:

    You read my mind. I’ve been thinking about all this stuff lately. Particularly about the fact that, yes, I want to blog. And I want to address issues that are important to me. But I don’t want to pretend like I’m an expert dancer when I’m not. I just don’t think the world needs more expert dancers. What it does need is possibility and understanding and things to try. Like this list.
    .-= Kylie´s last blog ..answer my call =-.

  3. Naomi, maybe he and Botpreneur could have a dance competition sometime!

    Kylie, oh, wow, that is such a great line. I need to tape that on my wall, because I do need possibility, understanding, and things to try. And to be reminded that I need these things.

  4. Thank you for this. For a long time I copied the Dance if the Blogger Fairy, but recently I realized that I am not a blogger.

    So many epiphanies came out of this, but mostly I just want to share that I made up my own dance. I borrowed a few steps from the Blogger Fairy Dance, but I did an Ed Grimley on them.

    New dance!

    And you said Everlasting Gobstopper. That’s why I keep coming back here.

    Botpreneur/Baffled Goblin teamup: yes!!!

    • Sparky, and who knows how many other flavors of not-a-blogger-but-you-definitely-want-to-see-these-moves are out there? Love the new website design, btw!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Ah. Thank you for this. I am noticing that I do not really feel at home on Twitter, and I do enjoy connecting at event-type things that are smaller. That’s as far as I’ve gotten with this, but it’s always nice to be reminded that I have permission to figure out how to dance my own way.

    (Ha. There probably is a part of me that wants and Alejandro to tell me exactly what to do. I notice it comes up when I’m worried and having a hard time really trusting myself.)
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..excuse me while i giggle =-.

  6. Me? Ringing like a bell. Over this.

    The dancing thing really landed here. I love to dance. And I don’t know how to dance. And I’m totally ok doing it my way.

    But, oy. I think about the times I’ve tried to find The One Person who could show me THE Dance.

    Stress-ey. Ack-ey. Tangle-ey.

    I love watching other people dance. But I don’t have to try to do it like they do.

    Because, really, how much would it suck to be in a room full of people who are all dancing eggsactly the same way? Snooze.

    Thanks Kelly.
    .-= Fabeku Fatunmise´s last blog ..Scratching The Wrong Itch =-.

    • Fabeku, but wait! What if there was a universal dance of conscious liberation? Involving numbers but then messing up real quick? I love to dance and don’t want anyone to tell me how, unless it’s shiva nata. And then, I am all about the ‘just tell me what to do.’ Mini-piph!

  7. Andy Dolph says:

    WOW – this is so powerful for me right now. I don’t really have words for it, but so…. wow.

    Thank you!

    Much love,

    .-= Andy Dolph´s last blog ..Is an “adult” what I want to be =-.

  8. I like this. The most successful person in my high school class is a bona fide professional dancer. Her name is Cheryl Burke and she is the queen of Dancing With The Stars. Watching her reminds me that dancing is a special skill that can be done better by professionals! But that doesn’t mean that regular people can’t dance. Thanks for these writing ideas :)

  9. […] I’m probably a little obsessed with the hilarity of Kelly Parkinson. I mention her in nearly every Good Shtuff. But it’s really good! Especially, this on How to dance (when dancing = marketing). […]

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