Ready or not, here come the holidays, ladies! My favorite time of the year inevitably gets me thinking: Am I where I want to be? This year, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I hoped for a new experience to stretch me physically and mentally. Maybe a Tough Mudder® or even a mini triathlon? I even contemplated art classes. Well, the phone rang and I was presented with an opportunity surpassing any challenge I could have ever dreamed up.
After some very creative salesmanship, I heard myself agreeing to participate in Dancing with the Eau Claire Stars. This benefit for the Eau Claire Children’s Theater—a wonderful non-profit organization serving our community—was an exciting but unnerving ambition. Almost as soon as I agreed, utter panic set in and accompanied me through my last steps of our performance. The routines tried my strength, and the whole process cultivated my tenacity. The commitment required an enormous amount of time, but was surprisingly rewarding. The hard work and time were so worth the satisfaction of setting a goal and accomplishing it. I am so grateful I was coaxed out of my comfort zone and took the plunge.
After a few weeks of reflecting, I’ve come to some conclusions. I’d like to share some life lessons, if you will, I took from the dance floor: 1.) There are no shortcuts—in dance or life. Anything worth having or accomplishing takes time and hard work. 2.) Just keep smiling and dancing no matter what. Life will most certainly send storms our way. We can stay positive, smile, and dance in the rain. 3.) Mistakes happen. And yet, we survive. I obsessed over a missed jump for hours until I considered the other parts of the dance I nailed. When we mess up, a healthy dose of self-compassion quiets the critical inner voice. 4.) Dressing for success actually works. Our costumes and makeup really pulled the entire dance together. If we show up dressed for the part we want, people can’t help but take us seriously. 5.) It’s so easy to let people dim our light. Resist the urge to comply. We should hold fast to our true selves, letting the best parts of us shine. 7.) Constructive criticism is a gift guiding us to our best version. If we can accept it, it can serve as a stepping-stone. I was so fortunate to work with an amazing dance pro and choreographer. They pushed me and knew how to get the best out of me. Parents, friends, and coworkers are always ready with advice. Maybe it’s time we commit to at least considering it. 8.) Theodore Roosevelt was right on when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Someone will always have better dance moves than us. No matter how many times I practice that jump, someone out there will execute it with more grace. As wives, moms, daughters, sisters, and friends, acknowledging we simply can’t be the best at everything allows us the gift of celebrating with our sister when she nails that jump with ease.
We’re thrilled to bring you this Holiday & Home issue with a nod to our furry family members. I know you’ll love the fall fashion, spotlight on pet businesses, holiday recipes, and decorating tips. This season, let us remember life can be tough, but so are we. Let’s enjoy the ride, cut ourselves and each other some slack, and just keep dancing. The journey continues: faith, family, friends, fitness, and finance.
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief