If life knocks you down, try to land on your back.

Because if you can look up, you can get up.


My dream came true!  Buuuut it did not go as expected. I had always dreamed of going to Las Angeles and dancing in a Latin club there. The Salsa style we learn at Toronto Dance Salsa is called L.A. Salsa – we dance on the one. So I had always wanted to experience the LA Salsa nightlife. Three years ago it finally happened.


I was in LA for a conference and I was able to get away one night. None of the people I was with wanted to go, so I went alone. I was a little uncomfortable, I like to go out with a group of friends but I think “hey dude, you run a dance school – you can do this – one man army – let’s go”


I got to the Salsa club and I walked up to the door and the doorman was dressed in a suit. Okayyy, he is dressed pretty fancy but it’ll be fine, it’s ok. I was wearing a t-shirt, jeans and a hat. In Toronto, when you go to Salsa socials everyone is dressed pretty casually, so that’s how I dressed. I went up to the doorman, paid my money and he said;  “You can’t wear a hat in the club.”


So now I was even more nervous.  In my most innocent voice I said; “What? Oh, I’m really sorry, I’m from Canada. Maybe you can make an exception?”

“Sorry, no exceptions.”


So I took off my hat and my hair was a mess. “Where is your nearest washroom?” The doorman pointed the way and I headed to the washroom to wash my hair. I wet my hair in the sink and started to blow dry it with the hand dryer. The hand dryer was one of those ones that turns off after 30 seconds so I was looking like some homeless person had gotten into the club by mistake. I could see people staring at me and judging me as they came into the washroom. Things were not going well.


When I finally got out to the dance floor, my immediate reaction was “Ohh, noo!” Everyone is in suits and dresses, with lots of jewelry and make-up. Really, really fancy. Meanwhile, I have water dripping down the side of my head, because my hair wasn’t fully dry. I’m nervous, I’m uncomfortable but again I thought to myself: “Come on Aleks, you run a dance school.  Push through.”


I went up to one woman, who is about 5’9 – so taller than me and thus somewhat intimidating already, and asked her to dance. She looked me up and down, said “No” and walked away.

Oh man, a bigger knot in my stomach started to form.


I asked many more women to dance and they all said no. The worst was when I went up to one group of 3 guys and 4 girls and even before I could ask one of the girls to dance, one of the guys got in the way and said “Dude, we don’t have time for you, keep walking.”


My confidence was shot. My dream was shattered. For years, I had dreamed of being in a Salsa club in L.A. I was finally there, but I didn’t belong. Everyone in the club (even the doorman!) had told me I didn’t belong. I was sad, I didn’t feel worthy and any confidence I had was now gone.

I decided to call it a night. I thought; “This isn’t for me, I’m going to call an Uber and just go back to the AirBnB.” So I pulled out my phone and I was about to call but then I looked back into the club and I got angry.


This was my dream and I couldn’t give up on it. I said to myself; “I’m not leaving this club until I get my dance.”

I spotted this one woman who I hadn’t asked previously and I approached her, “Would you like to dance?” I could see her looking me up and down but before she could reply, I continued. “Look, I can promise you two things. We are going to have fun and you are going to be smiling the whole time.” She kind of rolled her eyes but she said “Ok, sure.”


We started dancing. She started smiling. We started to have an amazing time. The giggles came out, the flow came out. By the end of the song her face was red with glee and joy. We chatted for a minute, I hugged her and then I thought to myself. “Ok dude, go home. Leave on a high. You crushed it!”


So as I am about to leave the club, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is the 5’9 woman I asked to dance at the beginning of the night. “I’m really sorry for being so rude earlier. I came here to have fun and you were the only one having fun and smiling when you were dancing with her. I’m sorry for being rude. Do you mind dancing with me?”


I looked at her and I grinned “Of course! Are you kidding me?” I hugged her and we started to dance. Instead of going home early, I ended up dancing with every woman in that club. Cheers and applause for that!

That last no, that last rejection was brutal but in the last second, before I quit I looked back UP.

I got knocked down…we all get knocked down…especially those unexpected life moments.


When I think of confidence and confident people, I realize that confidence is a muscle.

It is a muscle we have to train constantly. Not in the big moments like a great job offer but in the daily little challenges. When we get rejected, when someone says NO – do we keep getting up?  Confident people accept that there will be many no’s that come their way and many falls along the way, but they don’t accept the fact that they are down.  They get up again and try again.


If life knocks you down, try to land on your back.

Because if you can look up, you can get up.