LONG POST ALERT.
I am having a terrible time blogging about Convention. I want my words to live up to my experience but I’m beginning to think that isn’t even possible.
First, let me just say that the entire thing completely exceeded my expectations. (And my expectations were gigantic!) Other than one disappointment, every moment was exciting and perfect. I never felt stressed or lonely or overwhelmed - it was all positive. There were only a few negative people that I ran across, complaining about stupid, insignificant things. But it’s like their bad attitudes couldn’t stick. Their comments would come out of their mouths and just fall to the floor, because no one wanted to perpetuate that negativity! How refreshing!!!
I felt like a sponge soaking up all the information and everyone’s incredible energy and creativity. I knew there was no way I could remember every move or every idea thrown at me, so I just tried to absorb the heart and motivation behind it. The REASON we do what we do. The energy pumping through me.
My biggest takeaway was this: I’ve been holding back.
I am a decent instructor…I cue pretty well and have strengths that can make me stand out. But even though I’ve been “feeling the fear and doing it anyway,” I’ve been doing so rather timidly. I’ve been afraid to shine too bright or be “too much” for people. I come into class and hurry as fast as I can to get the music started, fiddling with my iPhone instead of chatting with my class because I get nervous when they’re all staring at me. My warm-up is always a little dull because I feel like I have to win people over and not scare them off with too much too soon. I don’t make a lot of noise because I don’t want to be annoying. You see what I’m saying?
I don’t want to play it safe anymore. I want to be dynamic.
So last night at my first post-convention class, I was determined to implement some of the things I learned, especially from my Pro Skills training. (If you’re a ZIN, I cannot recommend Pro Skills highly enough! Take it!)
When I came in, I got my mic on and music ready as fast as possible and walked to the center of the room to address the class, instead of hiding by the stereo equipment. I tried to make eye contact with every person instead of just scanning the crowd. Simple, subtle things.
I told them up front “I’ve just been in a place where the instructor could wiggle his pinky finger and the whole crowd would scream! So if you guys don’t make some noise tonight, you’ll send me into a deep depression!” Then during class, when I’d ask them to make noise - “HOW WE DOIN?!” if they were silent I’d repeat the question and they’d all laugh and smile and actually yell. It was amazing to have more than just my Mom and the one loud person in class responding! LOL
Maybe most importantly, I also changed the way my playlist was mixed. At Convention, all the music was non-stop. No pauses, no water breaks in between each song. It kept the energy up and gave the room a real party atmosphere. Sooo using the nifty Zumba DJ app, I selected the “crossfade” option so one song melted right into the other. I put in a couple short water breaks (did you know you can download “silence” on iTunes? I got the 30 second version and put it into my playlist where I needed the breaks.) I told my class that they could take more breaks if they needed them, no problem, but that the music would keep going.
I felt great throughout the whole class and thought it was going pretty well…but after class I had quite a few people give me big thumbs up and even come up to tell me “your energy was through the roof tonight!” and “best class ever!” What a rush! I didn’t do anything painfully or dramatically different, but it did make an impact. And to hear that the change was obvious to my students was pretty exciting! I can’t wait to continue to change and grow and try new things.
I came home from class and told Jeremy “Well guess what. All the money we spent for me to go to Convention has paid off.” haha! :D
katiegirlchasesinfinity said: Sarah, I just had to tell you how happy your Zumba conference pics and posts make me! As you know, Zumba and anything coordination-required scares me (although I do promise to try it one day!), but I am just so dang proud of you for getting out there! Remember when you were so nervous about getting certified? And look at you now! So cool seeing tumblrs do brave things and chase dreams :)
I thought about that every single day, honestly! (I don’t know when you sent me this message - I neglected to check Tumblr messages until I got back!)
I’m still trying to process my experience and put it into words for you guys. I’ve got “convention crud” and am utterly exhausted, so thinking through this fog is challenging. But in the meantime, I’ll leave you with this completely timely sentiment that I found on my Mary Engelbreit calendar this morning.
When I got off my flight in Dallas, the flight attendant told me my connection was at D12. So I obediently went to D12 and waited there for about an hour.
Suddenly I thought “what time is this flight supposed to leave?” I looked at my ticket and realized the boarding time had already passed by more than 7 minutes….and that I was at the wrong gate!!! I needed to be at D37!
Oh. My. Lands.
So I ran for it, Amazing Race style, gasping “please Lord please Lord please Lord” the whole way there. My chest was already tight from my convention cold, but now I felt like my lungs were going to burst. Or bleed.
When I got to the gate, I could have cried with relief seeing that everyone was still standing, waiting to board. In fact the previous flight was still unloading.
And now I’m safely seated on my flight home…still about to cough up a lung but at least I made it. ;) I’ve done so well on this trip, getting everywhere and surviving independently. Missing my flight would have been a huge strike on my record! LOL