Do You Remember Who Brought You To The Dance?

The dance of success, that is. The tango of today. The flamenco of good fortune.

Chances are—if you have experienced success in life, someone provided the opportunity for your “big break.”

For me it was a man named Jack Price. Jack is a boisterous music evangelist from Texas. We are as different as night and day.

But one day in 1992, the phone (remember land lines?) rang in my hot cramped office in the booming metropolis of Satsuma, Alabama and Jack was on the other end.

As music director for the Southern Baptist Convention, he invited me to sing a solo at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis in front of 30,000 people before the keynote address of the President of the Convention, Dr. Charles Stanley.

Little did I realize at that moment my life was never to be the same.

Sure, I had to perform, I had to pay my way to Indiana, I had to rehearse countless hours, and I had to show up.

But it would not have happened without the invitation from Jack and his belief in me.

And it changed my life forever.

After the solo, people were literally lined up offering job opportunities and the rest, as they say, is history. I accepted one of the offers as Arts Director at a South Florida mega-church of thousands. In one five minute span, I was transported from a hot, cramped office in a tiny South Alabama town with no assistant, to a South Florida air conditioned, spacious office that would have made any corporate CEO proud, with a staff of twelve people.

And I have thanked Jack. A lot. He brought me to the dance.

One of the paradoxes of mentoring is the thrill of taking people to the dance and the heartbreak of many of them forgetting—never to hear from them again once they find success.

Mentoring naturally means connecting people with each other, providing introductions that opens new worlds to them, helping them find their dream job, or giving them the “big break” to sign a record contract.

But many forget…who brought them to the dance.

What about you? Who brought you to the dance?

Have you thanked them appropriately?

Question: What are your thoughts?

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24 Responses to “Do You Remember Who Brought You To The Dance?”

  1. You brought me to the dance in so many areas of my life. I will never forget it and always be thankful for the role you continue to play in my life… Always. Great post Randy. I miss Tuesday’s.

  2. Jesus brought me to the dance.

    I thank Him (almost) daily for taking a bum like me, scrubbing me clean, and placing me in His tool box. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say I deserved it. On the contrary, I am the most undeserving soul I know.

    It is beyond my capacity to thank Him appropriately. Jesus deserves a tsunami of gratitude, but my best effort is as saw dust upon the sea.

  3. Love it! …Although my celebrations have been somewhat selfish lately. I bought my philosophy professor a flip cam so he could post more videos to YouTube and have more presence in my life.

    I also put together a blog for another mentor so I could continue to listen to his stories.

  4. It was a guy named, Greg Wheat. I grew up fishing on Greg’s farm in Rocky Face, GA. And he’s been at two pivotal forks in my life.

    I went to college to major in business administration, and I felt like I was selling my soul to Satan. My heart and soul called me to study Literature, but my head (and father) were adamant on me studying business. I started calling professionals for advice, and Greg said, “Study Literature. It will teach you human nature. And it will train you to articulate a story and argument orally and in writing.” Had I not studied Lit, I would not be who I am today.

    A few years later, I was ending an internship in New Orleans and preparing to move to Perth, Australia for a one-year stint in preparation for law school (note: my head had taken control my life again). I happened to have dinner with Greg in the French Quarter, and he said he was looking for a script writer/video producer and offered me the job. It launched what has become a successful career as a professional writer.

    Not only have I stayed in touch with Greg, I wrote him a very long letter years ago, sharing how he changed the trajectory of my life as a creative and professional.

    When the day comes that I publish my first book, he’s getting one of the first copies with another long letter reminding him of his role in why it got published.

    Beautiful post, Randy!

  5. In a lot of ways, Michael Hyatt brought me to the dance. He offered me a job, affirmed my writing, gave me a lot of practical advice. He and Gail even brought me into their circle of friends, and lifted me up any chance they got. I hope I always show gratitude and respect.

    You and Chris, and the entire campus, continue to mentor me as well. I appreciate you all!

  6. I know I have thanked Michael Cates, our mutual friend, before. But, It has been too long too and I should repeat it and thanks to you Randy for this article reminding me to do so. Thanks to Mike I was introduced to you and Re:Create in 2001! Michael has been a huge encouragement to me, especially during that time when I was a worship pastor at my first megachurch and really clueless in many areas. I have such a huge respect for that man! His humility and concern was genuine and still is today.

  7. I have been in the process of finding and thanking the guys who brought me to the dance. One is my friend, Ron Regas, who is one of my oldest friends and one of my first mentors. The others are Dennis Goodenough, who paved the way for me to put my faith in Christ, and Gary Engels, who took my love for music and turned it into a career. Those men laid the foundation for who I am and how I work and I am thankful for them every day.

    Great article (again), Randy!

  8. My 7th grade English teacher. After years and years of failing auditions, she took me into an empty classroom, handed me the music, and said, “Turn around, face the wall, do whatever you have to do, but show me that voice.” And I did it. Even I was shocked at the sound that came out of my mouth. I put the paper down and saw her big smile. “There it is,” she said. She gave me my first big solo at the school play. Soon after I was leading worship for the school, then our youth group. Then I was given a band and started training up musicians, all before I was 20.
    I’m 29 now, and though I’m not famous or anything, I don’t want to be. Because that teacher gave me a chance, I’ve had the amazing chance to play with bands, and some of the most talented musicians, preform, and lead thousands and thousands into worship for fifteen years. I’m 29, and I’ve already lived my dream over and over and over again.
    Thank you God!

  9. Two high school teachers, Bill Waddell in Michigan & Warner Dahlberg in Austin, back in the mid-60s both looked me in the face and told me that I was not living up to my potential & WAS BASICALLY LAZY!!! These two men believed in me when at a time when my parents never did…. it has taken many years to grasp what these men were doing for me & that they saw my potential & believed in me!

    It was about 15 years ago I tracked Bill Waddell down in Michigan and called him. His wife answered the phone, remembering me well, shared with me that Bill had just passed away several days before. I was able to share with her what an impact he had on me and express my gratitude that he believed in me even when I didn’t.

    About the same time I was able to connect up with Warner Dahlberg and invited he and his wife to the Round Top to eat at the cafe….. a special memory! He has since come to the cafe several times and each time e he enriches his belief in me and allows me to express my gratitude to him!

    As I reflect back on the many opportunities I’ve had to thank those that believed in me way before I believed in myself …. there are many more especially in the last 25 years of being in business for myself. I have a wall at the cafe covered with pics of many of those souls. It is called “my wall of heroes!” the list is long…. Tippy Newton, L.E. Simmons, Al & Wesley, The Haneys, The Samuelsons, Emma Lee Turney, Richard Tauban, Leon Morrison, Steve Macht, The Conlees, The Boltons, The Rupperts, Ender Tasci, alan Graham, David Bixby, Travis Reed, Fred Smith…. folks that have believed in our dance and have stayed at the dance with us over these past 24 years at the cafe.

    Now the sobering part is that as time moves forward some of these souls fall and we are left with only their memories…their embraces…their kind words of encouragement…. many times i have regretted that i didn’t reach out sooner & more often before they were gone. Such as it was with my high school teacher, Bill Waddell. So my encouragement to you, as i am speaking to my self, is to not just make a list of those believers in you BUT BE INTENTIONAL TO FIND THEM & CALL THEM! Not just a simple email but with a phone call and if possible a face to face while breakin’ some bread! I can assure you that you will treasure those moments forever and look back at them as time of communion, worship & redemption.

    Such moments will be a much GREATER blessing to the one you are thanking than it will be to you!!! DO IT NOW!!!! I know I am sending this reply and going to call up Shirley Swenson and schedule dinner with her and my wife. Shirley “be-mothered” Karen, my wife, & I some 39 years ago as we were engaged & during our first several years of marriage. She was the mother that neither of us ever had …. WOW! WHAT A DANCE PARTNER SHE WAS!!!!

  10. Great post Randy! For me, it was Lad Daniels… a mentor and friend that I stop by to see at least once a year for no other reason but to pray with him and thank him. An incredible influence in my life!!

  11. Randy, I wrote about this in a bit different terms in a blog post I don’t believe I would be who I am or where I am today without this important person in my life. I’m glad I was smart enough at the time to take in the lessons being taught.

    Great post.


  12. A guy named Wayne Flournoy brought me to the dance in 1999. He hired me, despite my having no sales experience, and he coached me, mentored me and trained me in my industry. I blossomed, got involved, and dug in. He then got fired from my company for supporting his people more than the company itself and a couple years later I joined him in starting up a new company. Seven years later we are still working together and he is my CEO, but I am now well respected in my field. He brought me to the dance and I am grateful.

Created by Randy Elrod

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