Put Yourself in the Front Row
This past Saturday I showed up 3 minutes late for my Zumba class. Ugh! My favorite instructor was teaching and the room was already packed! Obviously she’s pretty popular. So for the first time, I ended up taking the class from the very back row and I have to say, it just wasn’t as good. 🙁 From way back there, I could barely see the instructor. I felt distanced from the usual fun and had a hard time getting myself motivated to work hard. I caught myself lazing through…so unlike me!
Spending the entire hour in the back made me wonder why some people are always in the back row and others prefer front and center. I began to listen to the conversation back there and overheard one person say, I stand back here so no one can see me. Another mentioned feeling less awkward, especially if she needs to just stop or rest. In back, no one can judge her.
Was there a difference between people who consistently seek a front row position versus those who stand in the back?
If you took a Zumba class you might get the impression that those in the front two rows are simply better than those in the back. In general, they seem to know the choreography better and move more energetically than those behind them. But are they really that much better?
I don’t think they are. As a person who has always sought the front row kind of learning experience, I would argue that they aren’t standing in front because they are better, they become that much better by choosing to be in the front row.
When I was in high school, other students made fun of the kids who wanted to sit in the front. They were called brown-nosers and teacher’s pets. It was one thing to be assigned a seat near the teacher, but to choose to be there seemed entirely weird, like social suicide. Most students thought it was cool to sit in the back where you wouldn’t be scrutinized too closely, where notes could be passed, and gossip was easy.
And I get it. But although those habits might have served you on the social end in high school and even college, as an adult wanting to make it in the real world, the only way to succeed is to put yourself in the very front row as often as possible.
Yeah, I know it’s not easy being where everyone else can see you and people might judge you. It’s a lot easier to hide in the back and skate by with no one watching. But if you’re reading this article I’m going to assume you want more out of life and that you want to know how to get it.
So let’s dive into why you need to put yourself in the front row if you want to succeed, whatever your definition of success.
Put your Fears on Notice
Standing in the line of fire, where you’ll be seen by everyone, is a surefire way to give notice to your fears that you don’t intend to let them stop you. It’s about being brave and setting yourself right on the middle of the action so you force yourself to get better. Of course you’ll make mistakes and everyone will be able to see your flaws, but you’ll be that much more motivated to improve. It’s what they call, trial by fire and let me tell you, it works.
Get on Everyone’s Radar
You’ll never get to the front by standing in the back. So stop trying to fly under the radar so you don’t get noticed. How will you ever get the job promotion or make a difference if you keep hiding. Yes, people will notice you and maybe even scrutinize your efforts, but they will also notice as you improve and begin to excel at your craft. I love this quote by Jackson Brown, “Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.” So put yourself in positions where you’ll be noticed for who you are and get busy dancing your dance.
FOMO? Don’t Miss Anything
I noticed from the back row of the Zumba class I couldn’t see or hear the instructor as well. I was missing all the nuances of her movement, even though I’d seen it all before. Back in college, I always sat in the front row because I thought I couldn’t afford to miss any information. I wanted to get done with college quickly and excel so that I could get a good job after graduation. Staying in the front row ensured I wouldn’t get distracted by other students during class. There was plenty of time after class for socializing, but during class I was all ears and it certainly paid off when I got all A’s. Now I know why the people in back were always the first to drop the class and disappear.
Be Part of the Big Picture
Always standing or sitting in the back row means you don’t value your presence in a space. On the contrary, being in the front row demonstrates an attitude of belonging. It says, in no uncertain terms that you see yourself among the best, among the committed and motivated people. It doesn’t mean you are better or worse than anyone else, just that you see yourself in excellence. Let your worst be worthy of everyone’s attention and you’ve no place to go but up. Stepping out into the open you announce (mostly to yourself) that you belong and are worthy to be part of the big picture called LIFE.
Pump up the Volume
There’s a level of energy present in the front row that seems to be missing in back. That’s why people at sporting events and concerts prefer getting front row seats if they can afford them. The sensory, energetic experience of being able to see and hear fully means the transference of information from the teacher, or performer is just more powerful. More energy equals greater motivation, which in turn produces greater results, a winning combination.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Someone once told me, the way you show up in one area of your life is the way you show up everywhere. It’s easy to slack off when no one is looking. That’s the real reason people stay in the back. No one holds them accountable, not even themselves. If you are going to show up for anything, show up 100% Front row people commit themselves to excellence by showing up and being upfront with themselves. They want to learn and grow and get better and they don’t want to waste a lot of time with distraction and missed information. If you want to guarantee your success in life, there’s only one place for you to be, in the front row where all the action is. You’re worthy of it, so take your place.