I’m currently reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.  He said, “Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits. ‘Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny,’ the maxim goes.”

I saw this concept in action this past weekend at the Eastern Canadian Irish Dance Championships.  This is where dancers who have practiced and sacrificed for countless hours step on stage for a handful of minutes to leave it all on the dance floor.  For some, it’s the first time they have pointed their toe in front of a panel of international judges.  Others are defending a title.  And the underdogs are hoping they can make something unexpected happen.  Each dancer has a dream and a goal.  Their habits are what got them to this point.

Some milestones are reached and some are missed.  But there are always lessons learned.  The confidence, the grit, the coachability and the believing in yourself beyond reason fuel the performance and remain long after the stage lights go down.

This Irish dance journey has brought us to Montreal, Orlando, Rhode Island, Cleveland, Buffalo, New Orleans, Glasgow, Dublin, North Carolina, Vancouver and home again.  This weekend we watched a fellow dancer, now in her early 20s, return five years after leaving dance due to injury and health issues and earn a medal.  We saw a group of girls come back from retirement to compete in the senior team and take home gold. We saw dancers as young as six get up and dance their hearts out in front of hundreds of people.  Their habits led to their destiny.

No matter what place we get, the medals and trophies will gather dust but the memories of walking through the fire and coming out the other side will be with us forever.  Along with the habits we put in place to help us climb the mountain.

Here’s to building habits that serve us, being better than we were yesterday, never giving up on our goals and always dancing like no one is watching.