Just in case you’re wondering if my fertile imagination reached a new pinnacle, “focused like a bullet in flight” were the exact words Barbara Walters used to describe Martha Stewart during a 20/20 interview. Pretty poignant!
When I was 5 years old I fell in love with baton twirling. I practiced every day after school for hours. I remember my step-mother calling me to come inside to eat dinner "Ungenita put the batons down and come inside". If I could have practiced inside I would (I tried a couple of times and when the batons went flying across the room I put that strategy to rest real quick).
Practice Makes Permanent
There was something about picking up a silver stick that inspired me. I was about 7 years old when I learned some pretty cool tricks, like spinning the batons in my hands. By the time I was 8 years old I was twirling 2 batons. By the time I was 10 I was the captain of the Majorette team and by the time I was 12 I was featured on TV for doing something that probably less than 100 girls in the world can do efficiently. I twirled 2 batons, kicked my leg up,sharper than a 90 degree angle and did a pirouette style spin while the baton went flying in the air and bam I caught it. Every time I did that trick in Mardi Gras parades, people's jaws would drop. They couldn't believe it. I never missed….during a live performance.
I always caught the baton and went about my business in Mardi Gras parades with fluidity, confidence and grace. So how did I do that?
How did I become one of the best Majorette's in the world?
How did I control my nerves and maintain my composure in the parade?
How did I maintain laser sharp focus, amidst the music from the band and the noise from the people on the street?
Here’s the trick…
I dropped the baton thousands of times...maybe more. You see I stood on the sidewalk in the Iberville Projects every day for years practicing and practicing. I think the only time I took a break were on the days I went to Ballet/Jazz class to perfect my pirouettes or pick up the jump rope to double-dutch with the little girls in the neighborhood.
Needless to say it didn't bother me that I dropped the baton, I kept practicing.
It didn't bother me that no one was watching. I had a goal in mind and I was focused like a bullet in flight.
On what you might ask?
I can't tell you exactly what 5 year old Ungenita was thinking,but I'm going to take a guess and think she just wanted to be the BEST. At 5 years old, I didn't know about TV cameras and competitions. Perhaps, I was motivated by the glitzy & glamorous uniforms and knew I had to strut my stuff in one.
Eye on the target...
If you're not familiar with majorette outfits, they are similar to the gorgeous skater dresses you see Olympic Ice Skaters wearing. Nancy Kerrigan put skater dresses on the map when Vera Wang designed all her glitzy costumes for her pre & post Olympic competitions. I also loved marching in those white boots adorned with tassels (an emerging Fashionista).
You will always find a pair of white (these boots are made for walking) boots in my closet. Nancy Sinatra would be proud.
Let me not get off target.
It was the first time in my life I experienced what it takes to achieve a goal. It also laid the foundation for my relentless nature. I'm pretty ferocious the minute I make up my mind to do something.
I have HER to Thank!
What would 5 year old Ungenita do?
The girl practiced her little butt off.
So whenever I want to learn something new I immediately go to work and practice.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice ensures that you’re permanently ~GOOD (grammatically correct my A$$ets).
Practice is the only way you can be the BEST at anything.
Over the years when my skills were sub-par in other fields, I would have a serious talk (with myself) and it always came down to practice.
Ungenita, you need to practice more (positive self-talk is a beautiful thing).
I can't tell you how many times I told myself you have to practice like you did when you twirled those batons.
You want to be a better actress, practice your lines.
You want to be a better writer, incorporate pen and paper in your daily regimen.
You want to do seamless chains in a tight first position releve, you better practice your technique in ballet class.
You want to spot like a Rockette and do a triple pirouette & pique turn like Ice Skaters that land a triple axel, sow cow or lutz, sashay your way to Jazz class.
You want to do a roundhouse, side and front kick and receive a green belt in Taekwondo, martial arts class a couple times a week won't cut it (I'm happy to report I retired from Martial Arts with a Blue Belt).
You want to be a better Make Up Artist, go to Beauty College and play with makeup (okay…I’ve taken that one way too far…lol).
Walking in 7 inch stilettos (that too takes practice)
It’s not bragging if you can back it up!
From sales, marketing, decorating and styling my clothes, I’ve applied this philosophy and can reap the benefits of those skill sets because I practiced. Heed my warning...
This is the #1 (and the only way - in my opinion) to stay focused.
You need to practice. It’s a strong word and can have a negative connotation and put one on the defensive BUT I can't stress it enough.
If you want to take a HOT Mess and turn it into a HOTSuccess…PRACTICE!
Practice is boring, mundane, lonely, and awkward, it's not glamorous, and it’s not pretty.
But if you study the lives of great leaders, athletes, movie stars, visionaries and influencers who have obtained success with diamond like precision, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them exceptional. They have the same mental faculties that you do.
Their will is stronger than their 'will not'. Maintaining a bullet-proof mindset and committing to their target goals is business as usual. They are passionate about developing their skills and fall in love with the daily practice, not the individual event.
Focused like a bullet in flight...
I LOVED twirling those batons, I had no idea that silver stick would be a metaphor for my personal and professional development.
I f you've been telling yourself you can’t FOCUS. Please stop. Find the baton in your life and use it to inspire you.
You want the GOAL. You want the GLAMOUR. You want the GREEN.
You must...ask yourself this question. Am I committed to my goal enough to practice?
The minute you’re able to answer that question with an unwavering YES. You will be able to FOCUS because nothing or no one will stop you from putting in the practice.
One of the few times in life 'Jumping The Gun' is a wise decision.
Practice makes permanent.
Fast forward today and you’ll still find me gallivanting around the world in skater dresses.
Creation of practice...
Beauty,Wealth & HOT Success,