I got a fabulous compliment the other day. My friend R, a hilarious Brazilian woman that can Samba like nobody’s business, pulled me aside after Turbokick. “I have to tell you something. Did you see those ladies in the back in Zumba the other night? Well, they wanted to know who you were because they all said, ‘Wow, that girl can really move! She’s got great hips.'” Then R leaned in conspiratorially and added, “And they’re real Latinas so they know good Salsa when they see it.”
I spent the rest of the day beaming and checking out my latin hip action in every available reflective surface. (I am a favorite among the late-night stockers at Target.) The reason this compliment meant so much to me is that despite spending a good portion of my life dancing – it is one of my top 3 favorite things to do – I am not a naturally gifted dancer. And I’ve been around dancers long enough to know that there is such an animal.
I’m not graceful, I don’t pick up choreography particularly fast and I have to really work to not look like a marionette with a hyperactive puppetmaster (true story: I have actually hit myself in the face during Hip Hop.) All of which is not to say I’m a horrible dancer. I’m not. It just doesn’t come easily to me. That was true when I was on a swing dance team in college and it is true every Monday and Thursday night in Hip Hop and Zumba.
But what is also true is that I have a lot of tenacity. When I love something, I do it all out. I Salsa at home in my kitchen with a child holding one hand and a sippy full of curdled milk in the other. (My kids’ favorite game to play is hide the sippy cup from mommy. Nothing says fun like playing hide and go seek with a ticking time bomb of rotten milk!) I corner the best dancers after class and beg them to show me the tricky part just one more time. I watch dancing tutorials on YouTube and despite my general ban on television and movies, I will watch any movie – no matter how plot-challenged – if it has dancing in it. (The final dance scene from Stomp The Yard still gives me goosebumps. The Humpty Dance from Step Up 2 is a classic at our house. And hellooooo Center Stage with the magical spinning costume change!) This passion, it’s a gift.
We all have gifts. Every single person is naturally good at something. Our instinct, born of spot-the-cellulite mag covers and hypercritical television shows, is to focus on what we’re bad at rather than our talents. But I think this life is about making the most of what you’ve got rather than bemoaning what you haven’t. So here’s the deal, I want all of you to come up with three things that you are good at. Take your time, think about it and then post what you know is true.
So tell me what you are good at! Are you a good listener? Are you great at motivating and inspiring groups of people? Do you have perfect pitch? Or great balance? Can you make conversation easily with strangers? Or three free-throws in a row? Unwrap a Starbust using only your tongue? I want to hear all about what you’re good at! (If you can’t think of anything, call your mother. That’s what we’re here for!)