Melanie’s Dance Story

When Carrie Smith offered to interview me so I could be the one to share my dance story, I was honored and thrilled!  And then I was nervous.  Right before I pushed send on the call where we were going to record the episode, I felt downright nauseous.  A huge shoutout to any of the people I have interviewed on the podcast!  I’ve never gotten the feedback that it is downright terrifying, and now I know that firsthand.  

My bestie Jill got in touch with me after the release of this episode to let me know that she listened and loved it and actually took some notes!  I told her to send the notes to me because I’m going to start recording the major takeaways of each episode in this section of the website called Podcast Notes.  Here’s what she sent:  


You got that?  You all good?  I know.  Reading Jill’s handwriting is an acquired skill.  I’ve been fluent in Jillese since 1989.  So here’s my translation with a few additions and omissions.  I left out the math problem and the fact that she needed to go to Target.  I do wonder, though, if she remembered her daughter’s gymnastics bag complete with snack.  

Major takeaways:  

1.  Everyone’s training is different, but just as valuable.  My training didn’t look like a lot of other people’s, but I wouldn’t trade it.  I think it made me appreciate every experience and lesson that was presented to me.  When we don’t let dancers take part in all levels and aspects of a team, we’re robbing them of learning opportunities that will benefit them later in their lives.  

2.  Mentors and lessons are everywhere.  Big lessons I learned from one of my mentors, Allyn Scwinn, were to lean in and diversify.  As a woman, she was never afraid to be the business owner or the one in charge.  She also wouldn’t hesitate to get involved in other advantageous opportunities that came her way.  

3.  If you take some time off, don’t feel like you’re too rusty to come back to this.  There are all kinds of avenues you can take to learn and get caught up.  

4.  When you know, you know.  If it feels like it’s a good opportunity, and you really want to do it, yet the path is unclear and the desitnation is too, take that leap and do it anyway.  You will figure it out.  There will be roadblocks, but stick with it.  

5.  A lot of times “no” means “not yet.”  Don’t give up.  

6.  Always, always, always be nice.  Always.  And be nice to EVERYONE.  You can learn from absolutely everyone on the planet.  No exceptions.  

7.  Nothing is beneath you.  You are never too good for anything.  Many times hard work or something that you think you are above is actually an excellent opportunity in disguise.  

8.  Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given that gave me the courage to pursue more professional jobs:  you don’t have to be the absolute best or most talented, you just have to be able, competent, willing to work, and present.  

9.  You get what you work for, not what you wish for.  Anything worth pursuing is going to be difficult.  Nothing is just handed to you.  Don’t give up.  “Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.”  -Steve Martin

10.  Opportunity is always around the corner.  Even when you think you’ve hit the bottom, something else is around the corner.  

11.  Find your people, love them hard, keep them close, never take them for granted.  

12.  You will use everything.  Even knowledge or skills that you never thought you would utilize ever again will come in handy.  You’re more diverse than you think.  

13.  Do everything with intention.  

14.  Always be ready, always be working hard, and always be your best self because people are noticing.  

15.  Have an accountant, have an attorney, have an insurance agent, maybe have someone set up your website, but everything else you can do.  You will figure it out.  

16.  Define success, and then constantly redefine it.  Take it as it comes, do the best you can, and don’t set false deadlines for your success or define success in narrow terms.  

17.  Work with those that need you and can’t afford to pay you, because that’s where you will get a huge return.  Make serving teams and coaches a priority and I swear you will never be unhappy.  

18.  Look for happiness where you are.  

19.  Get enough sleep, try to move your body every day, be really easy on yourself just like your best friend would be, be pleased with progress not perfection, have an attitude of gratitude, watch what you consume and try to create more than you consume.  

20.  You don’t change the world with your opinion, you change it with your example.  

And then I got this in a text from my nephew:  

My cup runneth over.  


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