We stood nervously in a big circle like schoolchildren at a honky-tonk called The White Horse, listening to a 8th-generation Texan teach us the Texas Two-Step. Two roles available: leader or follower.
For the leader, the left hand provides the “joystick” that guides the follower on the dance floor. The trick for the follower? Follow. Don’t lead! Sounds funny but it’s true. When you get a group of strong women learning the Texas Two-Step, the urge to lead can overwhelm the best of us. But wait. I’m “leading” the story. Let’s “step” back a minute.
Dancing teaches us presence in the best way possible. In either role, leader or follower, we need to connect with the other person in that moment if we want it to work. Leaders must show followers where to go on the dance floor. Followers must listen and respond to what the leader tells them. Talk about a metaphor for life!
At The White Horse, we danced with each other and then with Two-Steppers far more experienced than us. Each of us adopted the roles of leader and follower. Through these experiments, we discovered new steps, turns, and dips.
Followers learned to let go of the need for control. Leaders noticed that when the follower places her trust in the leader, you can’t let her down. Both parties realized each dancer plays a necessary role.
When we danced in unison, the leader led and follower followed. It felt easy. We moved up the Emotional Guidance Scale (Enthusiasm / Eagerness / Happiness) by physical movement.
Moreover, dancing aligned us internally (with ourselves) and externally (with our partners). In order to harmonize with our partner, we had respond to their cues which meant connecting with their dancing/movement not just ours. We achieved that by feeling with our five senses as opposed to intellectualizing with our minds. Alignment happens when we feel good. When we feel good, it’s because we’re living our values.
When we got out of alignment, dissonance happened. We lost the rhythm and the connection. To get back in sync, we had to tune in to our partner and ourselves. Dissonance felt uncomfortable. We both wanted to get aligned because it felt better to work together than against each other.
In broader terms, recognizing when we feel dissonant is a good first step to identifying our values because dissonance acts like a two-way mirror. By highlighting what we don’t like, we can clarify what we do like.
Dance in this Moment
One of the cornerstones of the coaching model I use (Co-active coaching) is “Dance in this moment.” It means being present to whatever shows up with the client. As a coach, I don’t have an agenda. My job is to support the client’s agenda. My response may vary based on the moment. I can coach using any of my tools, Fulfilment, Balance, or Process, based on what I think the client needs then. I dance in the moment by doing the coach’s Texas Two-Step.