Intro: Welcome to Words That Move Me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you, get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, Dana Wilson, and I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow's leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you're new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you're in the right place.
Dana: Hello, Hello, my friend. Welcome to words that move me. I'm Dana. You are here. I am. Here. We are excited. Thank you for being here. Um, <laugh> this, the episode is called how to be good at failing without actually sucking, but what it could actually be called is a lesson in mastery, but I didn't think was as catchy. So we went with how to be good at failing without actually sucking.
And we're gonna get into that because there is this moment, this thing that is happening right now, this chapter in the book of humans, where every entrepreneur slash self-help guru slash coach slash mental, who is encouraging you to fail, fail 25 times per quarter, fail every day, plan for failure, failure, your way to success like that is the message fail at all of the things all of the time. <laugh> now I'm not, not encouraging you to fail. Like I've said those words on this podcast before I really encouraging celebrating failures, treating them as wins, but y'all, <laugh>, I'm kinda wary about this whole championing the failure thing, because if you know me at all, you know, I really, really believe in the power of our minds. And I think that if we plan to fail, that's exactly what we will do. <laugh> if we rehearse ourselves at failing, that's what we'll get good at.
If we really aim to fail, that is what we will do. Now. I wanna explore this subject a little a bit. I want to unpack failure and what it means to become a master. Um, I'm inviting some of my heavyweight champions, super master, super friends to weigh in on this subject over the course of this upcoming month. And, um, I'm kind of loving this whole themed month thing, actually money March aesthetic, April, where we talked about personal style and self image. Um, and now mastery in may. I'm here for it. I'm here for it because I want to encourage you not to fail, but to fail better than you did before. I want to encourage you to fail your way to mastery, not fail your way to more failure. All right, that's what we're doing today. But before we get into it, let's do wins because we're talking about failures and becoming a master, which takes a really freaking long time.
So let's celebrate the small stuff. Shall we? Today I am celebrating Nick Palmquist masterclass at millennium dance complex last week. Um, this was my first full out choreography dance class in quite some time. Um, some, several months I think, although I have taken ballet a few times. Thank you, Spencer Thur for your amazing, amazing classes. Um, actually this is good moment to pause. When you become a member of the words that move me community, you have access to what we call the class dispatch. Uh, class dispatch is a slack channel that we have where we post and share about classes and Spencer. We are blasting your classes in the words that move me class dispatch. Um, I also blasted Nick Palmquist class in the class dispatch, but guess what? User error posted the wrong time? My friends, oof. I thought class started at four 30 class, started at four, which is hysterical because at four, before I left my house, I coached self on how I wanted to show up and perform.
And I thought about who I might see and if we might film and I kind of talked myself through how I would warm up and get good and sweaty. And, um, unfortunately I didn't have time to work out that day before class. So I was planning on getting there a little bit early so I could do my medial exercises and be all primed to perform. And y'all, I was late <laugh> I was not only late. I was 30 whole minutes late, um, which at the studio I grew up at that was considered like, you're not allowed to dance. You can sit and watch. Um, but Nick is so kind, he allowed me to warm myself up quickly and jump into it, sink or swim, which, oh my gosh, you guys, the first two, eight counts of this piece of this dance, the first two, eight counts of this choreography had more moves than what I am cus accustomed to doing in several eight counts.
And I walked through that door as if I was ready to do final rolldown. And I heard onee and a twoee, three and a four, and almost had a heart attack. Um, but I am so glad I was late circling back to the win. I'm glad I was late because I got to practice something that I wasn't prepared for. Right? Like learning under pressure and getting to practice a thing that was not the thing you thought you would be practicing. In my case, it was feeling behind without tapping out. It was practicing asking the effective question that actually helped me instead of just like filled in a blank. Um, and then of course, just letting go to let it rip releasing this idea that I would be perfect. Um, but also releasing this idea that I would fail because I was late like that wasn't useful.
Um, so anyways, it was a fabulous class. I very much consider Nick a master teacher, the insights that, um, that I gained from that class, from that 90 minute class, which I was only present for 60 minutes of is actually too much to include in one win section. Um, Nick Palmquist was a guest way, way back in season episode, wait for it, get outta here. Episode 12, the Dawn of time. Um, anyways, please check out that episode with Nick Palmquist, although I'm sure he would tell you himself, that was back in 2020, we have different thoughts and feelings. Now we are different people interested in different things. So I am dying to have Nick come back on the Palm on the Palm Palm cast. <laugh> y'all I'm recording at night today. I'm a little bit loopy. So sorry about that. But Nick Palm cast on the Palmcast Palm podcast and we're moving on, that's my win excellent class. Thank you so much, millennium. Thank you so much, Nick Palmquist. Thank you so much self for being late and not surrendering completely. I had such a good time. Okay. That's me. That's what's going on in my world. Now you go. What's going well in yours.
Yay, Killer. Congratulations. I'm so glad you're winning. Keep it up. All right. Now, mass street. What comes up when I say that word master, what comes up for you? When I say I want for you to become a master, what do you think of that? Do you think? Oh, I could never. Or do you think like, dude, I'm on my way. I'm trying <laugh> do you think there's only a few true masters out there? Do you, you think mastery takes time? Like, go ahead and think about your thoughts about mastery, all the cliches, all the lessons that your parents taught you, all the things that you assume about masters. Just let yourself kind of meditate on this word for a second. I wonder, I secretly hope that by the end of this month, or maybe even the end of this episode, your thoughts about mastery might evolve Story time as if this entire episode wasn't story time. If you are an avid fan of the podcast, you know that I changed the intro for this second season. It used to sound like this.
Old intro: This is words that move me. The podcast, ask to wear movers and shakers. Like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you're someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don't stop moving cuz you're in the right place.
And now it sounds like welcome to words that move me. Well, it sounds like what you heard about 10 minutes ago. I'm not gonna replay it for you, but it's new. It's different. And I'm gonna tell you the key difference is that I stopped calling myself a master mover.
Why <laugh> I had a big discussion with myself about this actually two discussions. I had a big discussion with myself before I decided to use the word master mover. That's two words. Um, season one, and then another big discussion with myself when I decided to drop it. Now, mastery is kind of a funny thing because it's very hard to define, but very easy to spot. Like, you know it when you see it, but you couldn't really describe it as being one thing, because there are so many D varieties of mastery and levels of mastery and you know, perspectives about mastery. I don't think there is actually one way to achieve it. Um, people probably would say that mastery is hard to define and achieve because it isn't a destination. It's a journey and blah, blah, blah, blah. And that's all probably true. But when I was starting this podcast and decided to call myself a master mover, I thought I should probably be able to back that up.
So after years and years of working with other masters of their crafts, that tops of the tops, um, and after aspiring for so many years to become one myself, the way that I came to define mastery is as follows a master has had and continues to seek exceptional training. And I don't necessarily mean training from an institution that training might take place around a dinner or table or in a backyard or in a living room or in a park somewhere. But some form of training to me, the dancer that is baseline from there, a master is deeply committed to their practice of that training to their work, to their craft. They engage with it daily or very close to daily. And here's my favorite, a master possesses. Sprezzatura I'm gonna go ahead and let you look that word up. S P R E Z Z A T U R A, but I'm also just gonna go ahead and tell you right now, some people explain Prestera pres, which is Italian as the art of seeming artless.
I like to think of it as the art of making something difficult, look easy. I said, look easy. <laugh> the art of making something difficult, look easy or making something extraordinary. Look as if it occurred naturally a master doesn't push through it. They roll with it. Pres aura absolutely required for a master in my, um, actually, uh, my acting teacher and podcast guest, Gary, Moff used to tell a story about PRA the, um, the opera master I would call him. Um, and there's a a saying a rumor about him. He would keep a handkerchief in his pocket and dab off his sweat occasionally to show people that what he was doing was hard. People became unimpressed because he was making something so difficult, look so easy that he wasn't getting the response that he wanted. People just assumed that what he was doing was normal and achievable and natural.
Um, so I think that's a very interesting example of having Prestor having so much of it, in fact, that you needed to make up for some amount of, of, um, of difficulty in order to get the, the wow factor from the audience. It's interesting thing to consider moving forward. Another defining quality of a master to me is that they have beyond average, stamina and endurance for their work from the outside, looking in, it might even look like they have boundless energy, but I'll leave it at this where others would tire, they persist and they do so without the white knuckle grip, without the feeling that they have to check the bow, they do it with a relaxed smile. They do it because they love to stay in the game. They might take a break, but they don't quit. And they're usually the last ones on the field when everybody else is called to the locker room.
<laugh> um, another quality of a master in my view is that they operate beyond the influence of trends. They're not a flash in the pan. They are not the hot moment. Usually they are what we call classic. They are what we call lifers in it life. And I love it. Um, and lastly, here we are last last point for me, for my understanding, for my definition of what it means to be a master, a master knows their edge. They know when to push it and they know when to pull back. And how did they learn their, where their edge is by failing many times by pushing it by going too far and losing control by not going far enough and feeling that, oh, it should a, would, could a moment, um, a master knows their edge and I think it could be wrong here. Haven't spent much, haven't spent much time with this amendment to this bullet, but I think masters are comfortable at knowing their edge.
I think they have learned how to dial it so well that they're able to be there. And man, is that an interesting place to watch? Oh, speaking of watching things y'all, if you have not already seen, um, it's a, a movie called grand piano, starring Elijah wood. It's written by dam and Elle who directed Lala land and many, many, many more greats. Um, but it's a really, it's very interesting film. Um, I will say it's very interesting. It is about a prodigy pianist who sort of fell off the scene for a time and during a very high profile comeback performance for which he is very, very nervous. He becomes the mark of a hit man and assassin who will kill him if he plays one wrong note. <laugh> and I'm not doing a very good job selling this movie to you right now that might sound of like corny or cliche, but it is a very interesting story.
And what's even more interesting is that it was shot very close to real time. Um, in other words, the length of this piano performance, like the length of the piece he plays is almost the whole length of the movie. So we don't cut between playing the piano and then the plot, like the plot is happening while he is playing P, which means dialogue of multiple characters had to line up with what is being played. His dialogue had to be up, be lined up with what he was actually playing. Oh my God, the choreographer in me is so turned on by this, like the rehearsal, the precision, holy smokes, very special, um, and kind of cool because the music that he is playing and I do believe he had a, uh, double a hand double for some of it, but the music that he's playing kind of becomes the score of the whole film.
And the story just unfolds as dialogue on top of that. Um, and everything. Yeah, everything is happening in real time. So the intermission is the actual length of a real intermission. The Encore is the length of a real actual Encore. Um, and it gets so freaking tense. It's so tense. Oh my gosh. Okay. And talk about a master though. <laugh> like Elijah would learned how to play the P well enough to believably play what we are actually hearing while he is doing the thing that he does best, which of course is deliver the ring into Mount doom. I am sorry. I couldn't possibly talk about Elijah wood for that long without making Lord of the rings reference. Sorry about that. Not sorry. Anyways, back to me for a time, I felt that in dance and with movement and with the moving of people, I did feel like I fit that description I had and continued to seek out great training.
I was committed to my daily practice. I made it look easy. Y'all the stuff that I did was hard. <laugh> the stuff that I did daily, like three to five shows a week was hard and it looked like play. It looked like a game. I did it for a really long time, really long relative to my life. Um, 30 and I started when I was three <laugh>. If we'll call dancing at three work or a craft, it was the beginnings of it. Um, I will say that I, I didn't ever want to stop. I saw trends come and go. I found my edge and here's what happened.
I used to be dancing for hours a day, full eight hour dance days, like moving for eight hours a day. And then life changes. I move more into choreographing than into dancing and then pandemic hits and then podcast starts. I start talking more than I'm training. I start working more than I'm playing and I'll be real. Sometimes a full week would go by without so much as a wiggle. So I felt very uncomfortable calling myself a master mover if I wasn't wiggling weekly, my goodness. But even that like even not dancing every day or every week, would've been okay. Except I really did start to punish myself for the lulls in between working, um, instead of indulging in them, instead of resting in, instead of doing something else, I would pretty often tell myself I should have danced. I should have taken class. I should be blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Well, my friend, this is me here and now telling you there. And then that I'm recommitting to mastery. I think for a while, I became committed to my, to do list, very excited in doing and less excited in becoming and y'all, I am not interested in like doing medial things. I am interested in becoming a master. I want to be really, really, really good at what I do. And part of getting better is realizing that I'm not my best yet. So look out everybody because I wanna get better that my friend is what is on the way for me and for you. I invite you on that journey with me. Okay. Now I wanna pause for a second and recommend book. It is called mastery shocker. <laugh> excellent title. Um, actually the subtitle really puts it over the top. This book is called mastery, the keys to success and the long term fulfillment.
Whoa. Um, anyways, I read it in a day cuz I'm a master reader, apparently. Uh, just kidding. It's a pretty small book. You could read it in a day as well. The author, George Leonard explains four different types of people. Four different types of learners, the master, the der, the hacker and the obsessive, the master learns over a long period of time. They have small bursts of improvement followed by some plateaus where they are learning and practicing before the next kind of aha light switch moment. And that burst of improvement, which is followed by yet another plateau, right? So we have little blip, long plateau, another blip, long plateau, and sort of on the, on, on the timeline of life, this trends towards up level goes up. Degree of mastery goes up the dabbler on the other hand, start something new. They probably experience that. Um, beginner's luck that first blip of improvement, but they don't make it through all the plateaus.
Speaker 0 00:24:16 They stop. They find something new to have beginner's luck with or to have that kind of honeymoon phase with. They don't make it past the plateau. They stop, they start something new. That's the dabbler, the hacker finds a shortcut or a cheat. So their overall improvement ceases because they've found the hack. So the work stops and so does the improvement. So their progression over time might look like a steep increase where they've found the hack, the cheat, the shortcut, and then it levels off. They live in the plateau. No more blips happen, no more improvement happens because the work stops happening there. We have it. There's the hacker. Now finally, the obsessive, the obsessive is satisfied with a blip of improvement, followed by a plateau. They are more interested in the idea of always improving, always being climbing, always being 100%, which as you might imagine, leads to things like burnout or losing interest or especially for dancers and athletes injury, which causes involuntary pause, a decline in physical and mental stamina.
And thus eventually when the obsessive person is, is back at it, they usually jump into at 110 so that they can make up for quote, lost time. And then the cycle repeats. Of course, as I, as I talk about the master, the dabbler, the hacker and the obsessive, do any of those sound like you? <laugh> to be honest, I think we all possess parts of or periods of all of them. Um, yeah, I, I think we're kind of multis all of us, but it is very interesting to think about all right, my friends I'm jazzed to be digging into this topic with you this month. I cannot wait to hear from my guests about what they think. Um, but before we get into all of that, now that I have told you the defining qualities of a master in my eyes, I also want to tell you <laugh>, according to me, some of the things that might keep you from becoming a master and I'm talking from experience here, um, obviously kind of as pointed out with the dabbler, the hacker and the obsess quitting after the first blip, changing your focus often just to chase that honeymoon phase that keeps you from becoming a master.
Now hear me, I am not saying that having many interests keeps you from becoming a master. I know a lot of, of you guys out there think that that's the one thing keeping you from really breaking through is that you just have so many interests. I think having many interests is an asset. I do think it pays to be focused, but you can focus on more than one thing. You can, maybe not at one time, but, um, I, I really am hesitant, uh, to encourage people to put all the eggs in one basket. I don't think, I don't think that's the way to handle your eggs. <laugh> I think you should, Easter egg hunt them and put them all over the place. Um, I digress. We're talking about mastery and quitting after the first hump. There's a difference between changing focus and having many focuses.
So I think the dabbler changes focus because they don't like focusing on the plateau that comes after that blip of improvement. Another other thing to look out for is getting obsessive, going to that 110% and then crashing and beating yourself up for crashing raises hand. This is, this is self over here. Um, another thing is obviously trying to hack the system, trying to get ahead fast or get ahead by doing less work. I do think there's a lot to be said for working smarter, not harder, but eventually you will have to work hard if you want to be a master. This is, this is again, baseline to me. <laugh> um, another thing that might be very obvious, but I think is worth noting is poor instruction. I don't think you can expect yourself to achieve mastery with poor instruction. Great news is the time that we live in excellent instruction is so very available.
So very available to you. I'm thinking about my friends at CLI. I'm thinking about masterclass series all over the place, traveling conventions. This is just the beginning. Here's another one. And this, I think deserves a podcast all to itself laziness. Oh yes. Laziness can keep you from becoming a master. And for those of you who don't know the difference between being lazy and resting or being lazy and just being down, which I think there's value you to like you, you can be down, feel your feelings, my friends, but I, I have an answer to that question. How to tell the difference between being lazy and resting, but I'll put that in the parking lot. We'll come back to it another time. Ah, here's another one. Blaming the tools, blaming the tools that are available old to you is not the mark of a master. In my experience, a master will never blame their tools.
They will be ridiculously exceptional, no matter what tools they work with. I'm imagining right now, <laugh> one of our band members from JT playing a little tiny cheap ukulele at some airport somewhere instead of their, you know, thousand dollar guitar and me being moved to tears. So that's the thing that can happen. Don't blame your tools. Another thing that can get in the way is taking yourself too seriously. Y'all this creative life is not rainbow and butterflies. It will get tough. And if you wanna stick it out, if you wanna enjoy any part of that, <laugh> I strongly suggest a healthy sense of humor. This creative life y'all it has ups and, and whether you are up or down, a good joke is always appropriate. I take it back. Some jokes are inappropriate, but I think you get what I mean, a healthy dose of humor helps the creative career go down and by down, I mean up this analogy is going nowhere.
<laugh> moving on. The next thing that might get in the way of you becoming a master, ironically is perfection. I don't believe in it. I don't believe it exists. I believe in progress over perfection. In fact, the, I was talking about this with a coaching client who was coming off of an intensive felt so enriched. So inspired had all the materials had done all the learning and was afraid that it was all going to be squandered because they won't have time to practice. They won't have time to rehearse all, all of this inspiration is gonna go, you know, go be wasted because there's not enough time to really cash in on it. They were feeling that they needed to, um, the metaphor we used was bake this perfect cake out of all the ingredients that they got over the last seven days and that they had to ice this cake and that it had to be perfect. But sometimes all you really need to satisfy. The sweet tooth is a spoon full of cookie dough from the fridge. I think we can all agree that sometimes we need a spoonful of cookie dough from the fridge and that, that sometimes it doesn't need to be a big, bold Testament of greatness. Sometimes it's a big, bold Testament of endurance. That is what I believe in. I believe that the key to mastery is in those plateaus. It's in the moments in between big learning and big performative demonstrations of all of your talent and training.
I believe that can love the plateaus. I believe I might be in one, right this very second and y'all is not that bad. <laugh> please join me in the pursuit of mastery this month. And every month I'm gonna have some great guests this month. So please be sure to subscribe, set alarms for new episodes, do whatever it is you have to do every Wednesday, be here. And, um, oh, if you are looking for a place to be where you can become a master with the support of a solid community, truly ACE human beings. The words that move me community is where that is at. I offer daily creative prompts, monthly playlists, monthly video lessons, group coaching calls, and even one on one coaching. This is starting at $3 per month. My friends come on, it is a no-brainer visit words that move me.com and click on shop or just poker on the website. If you're curious and want to learn more. Whoa, all right, that's it for me today, my friends, a discussion about mastery, a recommitment to it, a commitment to unpacking it and figuring out what it means to achieve it and encourage it. Uh, this is what we are doing this month. My friends, I am so glad that you showed up today and I cannot wait to talk to you again very soon. Keep it funky. Later.
Outro: This podcast was produced by me with the help of many music by Matt Sweeney logo and brand design by Bree Reez and a big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor, and also a massive thanks to you. The mover who is no stranger to taking action, I will not stand in the way of you taking action. I will not cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review and a rating. I cannot keep you from visiting thedanawilson.com to join our mailing list. I will not ban you from my online store, spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs. That'll await you there. And of course, if you want to talk with me, work with me and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community, I will 100% not stop you. Visit thedanawilson.com to become a member and get a peak at everything else I do. That is not a weekly podcast. Keep it funky, everyone.