This weekend we ran a fundraising gala for the 13 kids from our dance school competing next month in the World Irish Dance Championships in Ireland. Family and friends celebrated, watched the kids perform, and danced the night away.

It made me wonder what the kids were thinking about their upcoming journey. Taking the stage with other dancers from around the world in front of nine international judges.  The end result of all those nights of practicing, learning steps, stretching, doing drills, and dreaming.

Even though the athleticism of these dancers is paramount, so much of what goes on in a dance competition happens in your mind.  Do you believe in your skills and that you have done all you can to prepare? Are you dancing against the person beside you or are you dancing against yourself?

I’ve always told my son that as long as he tries to be better than he was yesterday, he has won.  Even if he doesn’t end up on the podium.

Motivational speaker Simon Sinek once said, “Champions are not the ones who always win races – champions are the ones who get out there and try. And try harder the next time. And even harder the next time. ‘Champion’ is a state of mind. They are devoted. They compete to best themselves as much if not more than they compete to best others.”

We can say the same thing about life.  Are you trying to dance like the person beside you or are you moving to your own beat?  Do you believe in yourself?  Are you willing to keep going even when you fail?  Do you try and try again?

As Major League Baseball pitcher Satchel Paige once said, “Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”