Finding Your Groove

emperorOne of my favorite animated movies is “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

I know, I know, it’s no “Frozen,” but I personally prefer a pudgy Peruvian Elvis voiced by Tom Jones belting out a catchy tune about Prince Kuzko while he does the moonwalk, rather than frigid Queen Elsa’s indulgent overplayed anthem about letting go.

Besides the memorable one-liners, quick-witted humor and endearing characters, I like the underlying message of the flick about finding your “groove” in life, which is sometimes hard to do.

Now being well into middle age and full of the sage wisdom that can only come from doing many stupid things over several years, I’ve come to the conclusion that how you do something can be more important than what you do. You can do something exactly the same way as another successful person and fail miserably. I speak from experience.

Years ago, I met SuperMom—yep, the real deal. She was organized, cheerful, fit, cute, clean, smart, spiritual, strict yet fun and her methods produced impressive results.

I wanted to be just like her.

I picked her brain continually about parenting methods, cleaning schedule, fitness program, meal planning, and on and on. I worked tirelessly to implement her regime into my life to earn the big “S” on my chest.

I earned an “S” emblem, but it stood for StuperMom because the same methods applied in my life left me defeated and my family flailing. I finally realized that her methods worked for her because she was “her.” Her way of doing things fit her personality, pace and family.

I had to find my own groove.

A few years ago I took a writing workshop where a presenter discussed various writing methods. He explained how some authors meticulously outline before they start writing a story. Some start in the middle with the core of the story then work both ways out from there. Others have a basic concept in mind and start from the beginning to see where the story takes them spontaneously. Some start with the ending and work backwards. Each method has produced literary masterpiece. While there are common components that make up successful writing, the method in accomplishing it is variable.

Then the presenter said something that has become a motto for me, “Find your formula and honor it.” He talked about discovering what works for you, then being the best at it.

This advice has come in handy in my life way beyond writing.

For example, my daughter called the other day from her summer sales job far from home in tears because she hasn’t had much success and is discouraged. She said she’s giving her sales pitch exactly like the successful saleswoman who trained her, but not getting the same results. I replied, “Sweetie, her pitch works for her because she’s ‘her.’” She was confused until I said, “Remember the time I was trying to be just like Krissy?” She shuddered as childhood scars resurfaced, “Yeah, I try to block out that part of our life.” Then we talked about her unique personality traits and how they could be adapted for a persuasive pitch.

And I sang her a few bars in Peruvian Elvis.

Tom

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