March 14, 2013

Dance with the One What Brung Ya

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magaxine  

Growing up in the South you hear a lot of quaint sayings. One I have heard many times is, “Dance with the one what brung ya.” Proper English, no, but the meaning was well defined. I am sure that originally it meant exactly what it states. You should dance with the one that brought you to the dance. But it has evolved to mean stay the course with the talent, process or system that got you here.   

Many times we have a successful process and will stray from it. In the world of sales they make a reference toward straying from something successful like this by saying, “It worked so well we quit doing it.”   This sounds like it doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t. But it happens time and time again. We find our groove, our zone or process; enjoy our success then abandon the very thing that got us here. Why?

Many times the change comes from outside forces. Competition, the economy or technology can force us to change or adapt the way we do things. That is understandable. But just as often change comes from the inside. We begin to second guess our success and think of ways to make it better. We may get lazy and take shortcuts or decide to reinvent the wheel. Either way; we lose sight of what made us successful and in changing it we lose it.

“More often than not the process of refining an idea makes it vanish.”

Before we realize it our success fades and we are left to wonder why. It is at this point we must retrace our steps. We must consider we may have made a mistake with our decision to change, or as the quote above says, we refined the idea to the point it has vanished. Can this happen? Sure it can. Look at Facebook. In recent months the changes Facebook has made with Timeline, and other bells and whistles, has many people leaving Facebook. Is Facebook a great idea that has been refined to the point it is beginning to vanish? The verdict is still out.

For the writer that has worked hard and achieved success, it can be hard to continue dancing with the one that brought you. We may be tempted to take the shortcuts or reinvent our writing process. Outside forces can and will come into play as well but we must remember our success and how we got here. 

Do not stray from success. Do not refine your idea until it vanishes. Instead, “dance with the one what brung ya!”


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