​Tough Luck, Self-Awareness, Ballroom Dancing: A Well-Earned Win!

Ellevate Network
4 min readDec 2, 2020


By: Pichi Bellingrath McClure

We cannot change what happens to us, but we can choose what we can do next. To link these two statements successfully requires the key of self-awareness.

When tough luck strikes, self-awareness unlocks the understanding of our situation, by recognizing the behaviors that arise from that challenge and its consequence. If self-awareness is not present, the consequences of a person’s life can be disastrous; however, if a person is leading a destructive life, it is not necessarily the end. Tough luck does not have to win.

One always has the ability to harness self-awareness and become empowered by self-confidence, which often occurs when hitting rock-bottom. At such moments, an epiphany can lead to transformation.

There is a dramatic change in our thoughts, our emotions, and our behaviors. This new and empowered being that we become alters how we interface in the world, and in particular, how we victoriously slay tough luck. The consequence of new life results? An inconceivable life that one only dreams about.

Self-awareness, one of the most powerful tools of the mind, is the glue of cause-and-effect. With regards to cause-and-effect, logic is used for validity of facts. With regards to tough luck and how we cannot, at times, choose what happens to us; indeed, we might get stuck.

You ask: How do you change the reality of tough luck into a positive, constructive, factual reality? You need to bridge the two realities with an effective and practical plan. Then, with passionate, yet focused emotion — execute.

During this process, freedom manifests itself. We are not victims of our fate. The passion that drives our being draws forth the thrill of newfound personal power, ultimately presenting itself with fulfilling life results.

[Related: The Power of Perception]

My own a-ha moment was when I got pulled over by the police for my tail light being busted. I happened to be talking to my friend, who was hell-bent on giving me his two cents about authority. He declared that the reason he didn’t like authority was his father, who used to beat him. This was his “tough luck.” His passionate, yet logical, conversation made me think.

Realizing that I had a very similar background, I started to put two and two together. I have always reacted negatively to people who possess a faint undertone of authoritative attitude, even if they are constructive, positive, and helpful. I don’t like authority, and I — definitely — don’t like being told what to do.

The epiphany at the traffic stop changed my own self-awareness. Because of my lightning bolt flash of self-awareness, the pieces fell into place with the new information. It was poignant at the time, because I was rebelling against my ballroom dance teacher/partner, Dmytro Churchun, from Chevy Chase Ballroom. Over the past two years, I would have conflicts with him knowing full well that he was trying to help me. I couldn’t understand where my behavior arose from — at all!

But now, with my new self-awareness, I realized that Dmytro, a Ukrainian, possessed a barely-perceptible Eastern European style of teaching, which tends to be authoritative, commanding, and measured. All great characteristics to help me develop into an excellent competitor; however, I still could not rationally shake my defiant behavior.

[Related: Five Combination Traits of an Effective Leader]

Hence, I made a five-prong plan:

  1. Be aware of emerging defiant feelings.
  2. Mindful breathing.
  3. Focus on dancing body movement.
  4. Be aware of all three steps.
  5. Passionately execute.

It had to work, and it did work! I didn’t want Dmytro dragging me screaming and kicking into a Gulag. If I didn’t shape up my attitude, God forbid, Dmytro would have done just that! Thank heaven — Dmytro possessed the strength of patience.

I’m grateful for the following: the officer. My friend. My a-ha moment. And Dmytro. Because of them, I am now free from my defiance and my past associated with that tough luck. And yes, I’m a better dancer for it. Best of all, I didn’t get a ticket!

[Related: How to Get the Coaching You Need for Career Success]

Pichi Bellingrath McClure is a resilience expert. She helps people strengthen their personal leadership and overcome the impossible through her content, tools, and strategies. Subscribe to her biweekly Resilience Tips and follow her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.



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