What Do You Do When the Music Stops?

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Have you ever dreamed up the best idea ever, gone over it in your head a million times, and were so sure of its success? Only to have it backfire, or flop, or not have the outcome you intended?

This happened to me at the Bigger Game Expo last summer. For our opening session, Chuck and I wanted to recreate the final dance number from Dirty Dancing. The venue, Silver Bay YMCA, is reminiscent of the location used in the movie, and we knew it would be a fun way to start the Expo!

We began with a series of iconic movie clips on a giant screen that directly related to each of the Bigger Game Board squares. The last clip was the beginning of the dance sequence in Dirty Dancing, and we then orchestrated a tricky maneuver where the screen went away and standing live on stage was “Baby” from Dirty Dancing.

It was all working brilliantly, and just before “Baby” was to jump off the stage and into the arms of “Johnny,” the music stopped. It just went dead.

There was a split second of panic, but then to the credit of our two amazing dancers, Broadway star Aubrey Lynch and my niece Autumn Tamlyn, they continued the dance, without missing a beat, as if nothing happened.

The music stopped, and yet the show continued!

This happens a lot in life, doesn’t it? Just when you think you have it all figured out, something comes from out of nowhere and you’re left in a very different place than you had planned.

We had practiced and practiced (and probably over-practiced) the opening number, and each time it just kept getting better and better. We knew we had an opening session that would have folks say, “WOW!”

Little did we anticipate that my laptop computer would decide to slam shut from the stage vibrating with dancers on it, thus shutting down the music being piped into the auditorium!

The universe can have a funny way of throwing us a curve ball every once in a while. What do you do when this happens? [Tweet “What do you do when the music stops?”]

For me, I’ve learned to follow these four (4) simple tips:

  1. Slow down, notice and “be with” what is really going on – maybe it is unfolding better than the original plan. At the Expo, to my surprise, audience members immediately joined in and started to sing the lyrics from the well-known hit, “Time of My Life!” Having the audience become the “choir” of the song was just a beautiful thing, and something I would have never thought to do!
  2. Let go of perfect outcomes. I believe that in my core, the Universe conspires for our highest good. What I decide is my “highest good” is what I need to let go of – there may be a bigger plan going on.
  3. Create something from what is happening, rather than vote and react to what is happening. I was in complete reaction mode when the music stopped. I ran at lightening speed to the computer to try and fix the problem. It did not help! I missed what was happening in the room – folks were loving becoming the choir. Later we learned that many folks thought it was part of our plan; they didn’t realize that the music stopping was not supposed to happen. Wow – what a concept, huh?!
  4. Forgive yourself! Do whatever it takes to let it go so there is room for the next creative moment that wants to happen. Without forgiveness, the next moment cannot happen with joy, lightness and authenticity.

I still think back to that opening number, and for the most part I’m thrilled with the unexpected way it all happened. Sure, I can let myself become upset that the music stopped (I’m human after all!), but in the big picture of this thing called life, I know in my heart it all happened exactly as it should have.

What about you? I’d love to hear what you’ve done when the music has stopped in your life.