Today is the first big day of competition. While the skill of multi-tasking comes in handy in many situations, this is not one of them. Even though I dance for the enjoyment of it, even though it is not my career and even though I choose to compete, testing myself in competition usually involves at least a small case of the nerves.
A bit of performance anxiety gives you a little edge. A lot can completely undermine you. Without focus, you cannot connect to your partner to feel the leads. You can’t hear the music which means your timing will most likely be off. It’s like a bad domino effect if you let focus slip away.
When you are lacking in focus, you can easily become overwhelmed. It is hard to be present and to respond. Instead you land in panic mode simply reacting…and usually too slowly to actually create the end result you are hoping for.
Without focus, your thoughts can run you ragged, zigzagging from one fear or worry to the next with a whole lot of trying to figure it out in between. The facet of focus is the mental facet. When you are scattered in the realm of the mental, it actually drains your physical energy. This is one of your secret stashes. When you can generate focus, slow down, be aware, respond and then evaluate there is a complete shift in your mental energy which trickles down to positively impact your physical energy.
My challenge as a dancer is to master the mental aspect of the dance in competition. I have attained a certain level of ability with regard to technique, timing and foot placement. As my instructor would say, there aren’t going to be any miracles suddenly this week in Orlando. It is the mental focus I need more than anything. When I have that laser like focus of dancing in the present just to enjoy the dance, it is a whole different experience than when I get lost in my head and disconnect from my partner.
When I am focused, my passion for the dance has a chance to shine through as I can connect with it and feel it instead of merely doing steps really well.
As a caregiver for Gary, I absolutely approached it with passion. I was determined to do everything I possibly could to contribute to his healing process. I generated a laser-like focus that allowed me to filter out anything that wasn’t in line with our goals.
When we discovered he had an allergy that was impacting his immune system, I went through the house in one morning and got rid of every cleaning product replacing it with items from Melaleuca. I washed every piece of clothing and all of the linens. I didn’t get stuck thinking about how much time it would take, other things I needed to be doing or wishing it didn’t have to be done. I just did it right then and there. Doing so required some energy but saved me much more.
How can applying focus to a challenge you are currently facing help you get re-energized? Might you experience your situation differently if you uncovered some aspect about it that tapped into a sense of passion or significant purpose?
Today, I will be testing myself not only on how far I have evolved as a dancer in the past year but also in how well I have developed my level of focus. Wish me luck!