‘We’ve all read the motivation books. Achieving success is apparently quite easy if you follow the guidelines. First, decide on your goal, then second believe you can achieve it. Third, imagine yourself having achieved your goal. If your goal was to get a new car, imagine yourself driving it. If it was promotion at work imagine yourself in your new position. Fourth, don’t listen to anybody who says you’re a dreamer, that your goal is beyond your capabilities. Fifth create a strategy and finally sixth – when you have a set back, just remind yourself of your goal and get back out there. It is that easy. May be not! Steps one to four are fairly straight forward. The fifth, getting the right strategy will take a bit of creativity, but its last one where it can all fall down. It’s the dusting yourself down after a set back that’s the real difficult bit.

To read the previous chapters in my tale of a fictitious group of beginners click here

You are feeling pretty sorry for yourself. It’s your dance class night, and for the first time in almost two months you are sat at home rather than gracing the dance floor. You never really graced the dance floor actually, you were a little clumsy and couldn’t keep time very well. Your feet never seemed to do what your brain wanted them to do, and you were pretty rubbish at leading your partner. Just to prove it you were left standing in the middle of the dance floor last Saturday.

Now hold on. You’re being a bit hard on yourself. You weren’t ever clumsy. OK, you forgot the moves in the beginning, but you had started to put them together quite smoothly. You could keep time quite well. It was only if the tempo changed during the song that you struggled a little, but didn’t lots of people. The feet thing wasn’t really a problem because the style of dancing was more to do with the arm actions and you’d got them sorted. Finally , you could lead your partner. Your friends Ellie, Mandy and Janice all said how much they now enjoyed dancing with you now.

‘But Andy started the same week as I did and look how well he’s doing. I started before Peter, but he was doing better than I was.’ ‘Look Robert its not about Andy, Peter or anyone else for that matter. Its about you. It’s about the fact that you were making progress.’ Ever since Saturday night, you had battled with yourself, about whether you should give up your dancing dream. The realism side of your brain had finally overwhelmed the side where your ambitions were nurtured. Your despair was made worst by the fact that you had a track record of achieving your goals. Your rise through the ranks at work were testament to your ability to keep focused and not let set backs throw you off course.

You are considering going to bed when the phone rings. ‘Robert, it’s Ellie.’ ‘Oh hi, how are you?’ ‘I’m fine, it’s just that we all missed you tonight.’ ‘Oh I forgot to tell you I had a pretty important meeting I couldn’t get out of. You know how it is sometimes.’ ‘Yes of course. By the way Paula came back. I think you started at the same time. She asked about you.’ ‘Pity about the meeting, it would have been nice to see her again. How did she get on?’ ‘She picked it up again really well, she’s going to come, with us all, to a freestyle the week after next.’

Why had you lied to Ellie about the meeting? And more importantly why did you say you might not make next week either, due to more work commitments that were equally fictitious. Hearing how Paula had got back in to the swing of it, was surely a chance for you to say how you’d hope to catch up again next week. By the end of the conversation you suspected Ellie knew you were lying. ‘About the freestyle next weekend Robert. You’re part of the gang remember. We were all beginners together. We’ll all be there, me, the three girls, Andy and Peter. Oh and Malcolm of course. We should all have a wonderful time.’ ‘I’ll see Ellie, its just that work is so busy right now.’

You’d loved being part of that dance group. They were so good to be around, you all seemed to be so relaxed with each other. Ellie was your favourite, but then she was everybody’s. She was always so positive and it had been her who had suggested they all go to the freestyle, even though they all had so few lessons. Then there was Janice. The one you thought was a plain Jane, until you saw her in that beautiful dress last Saturday night. It was a shame you probably won’t be going back, because you’d love to dance with her again. The guys, Andy and Peter, you enjoyed their company too. Andy had been so good to invite everyone over for the practice night. Then a thought about Peter. What was it he had said to you that time? You’d been on the verge of quitting, you were worried that the girls might give up helping you. What was it that he had said to reassure you?

As you lay in bed you thought again how thoughtful it had been for Ellie to call. You’d call her tomorrow and own up to your dishonesty. You would tell her that you had decided to give up. Your last thought was of Peter. You remembered what he had said. ‘Don’t worry Robert, they’ll keep helping you, remember we’re all dance buddies now.’

to be continued…