Last weekend I went to a Zumba class. For the uninitiated (that includes me), Zumba is a cardiovascular and muscle-toning workout done through high-intensity dancing to Latin and World Music rhythms.
The instructor looked like a well-sculpted Barbie doll with short hair. The music started, and we were off. I focused intently on the instructor, trying (not very successfully) to keep up. About 20 minutes into the hour, my sister asked, “Are you having fun yet?”
My answer was NO. I felt lost in the steps, and when I looked at myself in the huge mirror covering one wall of the room, all I could see was a woman of a certain age, looking confused, clumsy and red-faced. Part of me felt so humiliated, I almost left. I’m not used to being the one who doesn’t get it, and I didn’t like the feeling.
One of the great satisfactions in life is achieving a level of competence in our field. It’s not just satisfying; it’s fun when we can see a situation and know in our bones that we are up to handling it. We feel secure and confident, and that’s a good feeling.
Trying to copy my eminently competent instructor was a reminder of how not fun being a beginner can be.
After my sister had advised me to not worry about getting every step – to do my own thing, I sneaked a peek at others in the class. Some of them were making up their own steps but were keeping up their pace and getting the exercise they came for. And I realized I could, too. After all this wasn’t a competition unless I chose to give it that frame.
I didn’t need to be a Zumba expert, I just needed to show up and dance!
Sometimes it’s important to be an expert, to be masterful, and sometimes it isn’t. The class was a good reminder not to let my pride make me reluctant to venture into areas where I’m a neophyte.
This week, consider places in your life you have avoided because you thought you needed to be an expert to participate. Then consider how you might use your creativity and sense of adventure to simply show up and…dance!
Until next Tuesday.