“Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances — it was somebody’s name, or he happened to be there at the time, or it was so then, and another day would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
American Poet and Essayist
Have I had luck in my life? I don’t think so. I think I have had good ears. Roz DeBeve tole me many years ago that God had perfect mathematics when He gave us all two ears and one mouth. Roz said listen twice as much as I speak, and I would then be a great success. Thank you Roz for this great advice!
Did I just run into the right people on the right day in the right circumstances? No. I remember being in my first dance camps for Arthur Murray and I was always the first to raise my hand to volunteer. I would step forward and demonstrate anything asked of me, or have any technique practiced and tried on me in front of several hundred dancers. I was not afraid of making a fool out of myself. What began with laughter in the beginning always ended with a great round of applause as I was the brave chosen example.
Who pushed me to step forward? I did. I wanted knowledge and I had no fear of failure. What could anyone do to me but laugh and laugh they did until they realized that I was learning twice as fast as other and my goals were backed by passion and determination.
How did I meet the Board for Arthur Murray and get to know all the judges and top dancers and franchisees? The true answer was that I just let my dad, Troy Woodbury, live through me. I remember walking up to the president of Arthur Murray and putting my hand out and introducing myself and saying it was an honor to meet him. Within a very short time, I knew all of the movers and shakers, they all knew me by name.
Even now, in the City of Santa Monica, I stand and introduce myself, I am David Woodbury, Arthur Murray Dance Center on 928 Broadway, and we have FREE PARKING? Guess what, everyone in Santa Monica knows the Arthur Murray name and that we have free parking. That branding has brought us magical success.
How did that branding come about? Standing up and just saying our name over and over until the City knew who we were and what we did! We had a great cause, and by having a great deal of courage and giving a lot of service time, the effect was the successful branding of the name Arthur Murray in Santa Monica. There was no luck in that formula of success, just some great ideas, a strong vision, and lots of follow through.
“In doing your work in the great world, it is a safe plan to follow a rule I once heard on the football field: Don’t flinch, don’t fall; hit the line hard.”
– Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)
26th President of the United States
Many times now, I am asked how we opened up an Arthur Murray Franchised School from scratch. We did not flinch, did not fall, and we truly hit the line hard. I remember sitting in the front desk area in our new school on a rickety bench that was left in our unit, typing on an old laptop that sat on a $20 table from Staples and running our school on my cell phone. We had such courage. We persevered with passion and vision and created a great Arthur Murray school from scratch. Joel Rieck and I still work with the same tenacity, but we now have a front desk, phone, and chairs and furniture.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.”
– Colin Powell (1937)
American Military Leader and Diplomat
OK, have we seen failure? Yep, a lot of it, but we have had some sweet successes. Did everything happen as we originally planned? Eventually yes, but there were many twists and turns along the way and unforeseen obstacles that had to be overcome. We stood on the hundreds of hours of preparation, the continuous hard work that continues until today, and taking every failure as a lesson towards success. Lots of tears, lots of trials, and lots are precious moments have made us realize our dreams.
Is luck real? I can’t tell you that. I’m too busy with daily planning to keep the dream real and active. I’m too busy with our service work giving back to the great City of Santa Monica. If there is luck, I probably miss it most of the time for I’m always running forward. I may wear out, but I will not rust out.
We’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from George Bernard Shaw:
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die,
For the harder I work, the more I live.
I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no brief candle to me.
It is a splendid torch, which I have gotten hold of for a moment,
and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw
Thanks for reading!
David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!
FB: David Earl Woodbury