Tango & Trust

It’s still the beginning of the year, may be you are back in to the swing of things: you’ve identified your goals and even what this year intends for you.  There are eleven more months to get it done and with it I hope a sense of hope.  Yet, do one or two confounding problems stick around, a problem that require a conversation: an obstructionist committee or board member, a client who is hard to read or reach, or a sensitive, fraught subject to discuss with a family member?  If yes, read on.  If not, ignore the rest of this message, please hit reply and tell me how you manage.

My tendency when I have such a problem (and I seem to have my fair share right now) is to try harder, plan more, negotiate harder, research, persuade or just avoid.  Meanwhile I have a nagging feeling that I am out of my depth and don’t want to admit it.

What’s this got to do with tango?  Well I just had my third tango lesson and am learning more about life than executing elegant steps.  Supposedly tango is all about the communication.  In fact I just went to my first milonga or tango salon in which dining tables surround the dance floor.  Initially a group lesson is given and then one dines on great food while watching the experienced dance.  To my surprise I was invited to dance.  I was like a teenager being asked to dance – excited and intimidated.  Like a newbie to golf I immediately breached several rules of etiquette.  Oh well!  But more importantly, Enzo, for that is his name I discovered, stopped several times with injunctions:  “Stop thinking, empty your head!”, “Trust!”, “Lean in!”  Ye gods, I was flustered.  Eventually I relaxed and found myself forehead to cheek, chest to chest dancing.  The more I leaned in and the more I trusted the better I read his intentions and my feet did fancy steps and moves by their own volition – steps I have only watched in others.  The more open I became the better my partner could dance and the better I performed.  Joy!  So this is what they mean when they say that tango is a conversation?

Here’s my take way:

  • On the dance floor when I let my defenses down and trust I am better able to read the other. Oh my!  Isn’t this a powerful embodiment of communication skills?  It also works off the dance floor with clients, friends and children.  The more I let my defenses down the better I read the other’s intentions.
  • By being open my partner shared and allowed me to succeed. The more open I became the more he made me shine.  Why do I repeatedly forget that co-creation takes openness and a sense of mutuality?  When I am open the other person shares more and I function better as a coach, friend, and mother.
  • It’s true, the quality of the conversations do determine the quality of the relationship.


Please hit reply and share your thoughts and how you create great conversations.

In the mean time I shall attend more classes and report back what I learn about structure and flow.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year.

Angela Nesbitt



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