The Power of Commitment: A Year Can Change Everything

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Embarking on a new journey can be daunting, especially when you’re stepping into the unfamiliar world of dance. I still vividly remember my first salsa class, a room buzzing with excitement and a hint of nervous energy. My friend, Shiyanthi, was my safety net, my anchor amidst the sea of new faces and unfamiliar steps. But what happens when that safety net disappears?

The Challenge of Starting Alone

After just four classes, Shiyanthi decided to quit. Suddenly, I was alone in this journey. I felt abandoned, overwhelmed, and incredibly self-conscious. As a slow learner, my shortcomings became glaringly apparent without Shiyanthi by my side. But I didn’t let this setback deter me. I decided to practice on my own, to improve my skills and gain confidence.

The Power of Solo Practice

I found solace in a nearby park, Earl Bales Park, where I would practice my steps and turns. One day, during one of these solitary practice sessions, I overheard a conversation that stung me to my core. An old grandma, speaking in Russian to her grandchild, laughed and said, “Oh, just ignore him. He’s just not right in the head.” I was the “him” she was referring to. I was the strange man dancing by himself, the object of their amusement. It hurt. I was being vulnerable, putting myself out there, and I was being ridiculed for it.

Overcoming Obstacles and Embracing Growth

Despite the ridicule, I didn’t quit. I kept practicing. I kept trying. I kept dancing. About a year into my journey, I started going to social dances. I found my tribe, my dance family. A couple of years later, I became a volunteer, an assistant, an instructor, and eventually, I took over the dance school. None of this was something I could have predicted when I was practicing alone in the park, being made fun of.

The Power of Commitment

This experience taught me a valuable lesson: some of the best things in life come about a year later. It’s a reminder to both you and me – don’t quit. Commit to whatever you care about. Commit to your craft, commit to your job, give it a year. Get good enough, then you can actually make the decision. Because everything before that is just doubt, insecurities, and other people’s opinions.

So, here’s to the power of commitment, to the magic that can happen when you give something a year of your life. You never know where it might lead you.

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