Over the last few weeks I’ve started going to salsa lessons again.  It’s been equal amounts of fun and frustration as I’ve tried to get to grips with the style and process of learning the specific moves they’ve been trying to teach the class.  You see, I’ve been dancing salsa on and off for the last 20 years after I originally learned when I lived in Spain, and then got better when I lived in Costa Rica.  Learning how to dance salsa and merengue has made for some fun nights out over the years, wherever I’ve lived.

Dancing salsa is not something I’ve had to learn how to do.  It is something I decided would be fun to learn while I was studying abroad in Spain and I had the perfect opportunity to go out and dance and practice.  I  found that I love dancing and I especially love dancing as part of a couple.

Some Unexpected Advice

But recently, my new salsa teacher has found himself having to give me a few tips on my dancing, which generally revolve around me needing to do a better job at following rather than leading.  This made me giggle at first.  He didn’t just stop at giving me advice though.  Later in the lesson, he made a speech to our whole class on the importance of allowing the men to lead us females, and not correct them if they weren’t doing the steps he was teaching.  He laughed by saying that it’s not often in life that men get to be men and take the lead anymore in a couple, so please give them that pleasure on the dance floor!

This got me to wondering how this shows up in other areas of my life.  I am told I’m a natural leader.  I don’t shy away from taking on a leadership role where needed, whether at work, in my business, or in a group activity.  So I started wondering how well I do at being a follower?  How often do I allow someone else to take the lead, whether or not I trust them or think I know better?

What About Trust?

My salsa teacher has helped me to understand that it’s not about knowing better, but more about trusting that the other person won’t lead me into difficulty or dance floor collision!  It’s not about doing the steps in the right order.  It’s about being a good dancing partner who can take the lead from my partner.

Who knew that you could get such insightful life and career advice from attending a salsa class?!  Now I have my work cut out for me in recognising where I try to lead, and where I should give following a go.  I think this probably sounds easier than it is, but I also feel that if I manage to figure this out, it will be a massive step forward in both my professional and personal journey.

What advice have you had from an unexpected source? 

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