Three Tips to Master a New Skill

SwingLast night I went swing dancing with some friends in Sacramento. I love going and make it out when I can but there was something special about last night. For the first time last night I actually felt like I was good enough to keep up with the regulars, and wow was that fun. Equipped with my new sense of mastery, I danced more dances in an evening than I ever have before. I reflected on the evening and realized there are some lessons to pull out about learning from my fantastic evening at the Eastern Star ballroom in Sacramento.

1.Get coached by an expert

While the band was warming up and dancers were trickling in, newbies got a few pointers about how to Swing. Lessons are offered in six week courses for more serious learners, and you can pick what you want to learn. This coaching shows up in the rest of life in the form of higher education, extension classes, and literal coaching sessions.

2. Learn one new thing from someone who is more highly skilled than you

People love to share their knowledge as long as you are an eager learner with a good attitude. I had some more experienced partners show me a trick or two. Those tricks quickly build in each other and improve my dance versatility and vocabulary. Informational interviews, mentorships, and even casual conversations are a great way to pick up quick tips.

3. Be bold

In the past,I have spent many nights waiting for someone to ask me to dance. The men around are typically gracious enough to try to come by, but this time, I actually asked some men to dance. Despite my hesitancy at breaking perceived gender norms, all went well, and we had a great time. I find it easier to sit out and not take a risk in life , but it is in the risk where life is worth living. Whether that risk is striking up a conversation with a stranger, going to a new place, or applying for something that looks out of your reach, the risk is worth taking.