Good Things Come To Those Who Dance
This story is one of those where one good thing happens after the other and you can only connect the dots looking back. It gets you believing: “Hmm, life works in great mysterious ways”. It’s a story of how I got to be associated with one of the world’s biggest sports brands. A story of how I got to be among people of influence that I felt were way beyond my reach. It’s a story of a defining moment in my life where I even need to tell myself: “Pull yourself towards yourself Neo! Keep it together girl. Stay in #Formation!” LOL. Okay, let me just calm down and tell you how it all started…
The Bold and the Beautiful Move
One day, some random day, I was listening to a podcast by Timothy Maurice on CliffCentral.com called unBranded. The topic for the day was: How a Blog Can Elevate Your Brand. He had the lovely down-to-earth fashion blogger Keabe Mautla [www.keabemautla.com]. They discussed the history of blogging to how bloggers today are transforming every dimension of society. Keabe shared her story and reflected on how she stared her blog to how she became associated with big brands, traveling the country, attending gigs – all while having a 9-5 job! I was so moved by her story because I felt I was in a similar situation. The only thing different is that I didn’t have a blog and I never knew how and when I was going to use this unearthed talent of mine for writing. Story of my life. At times I do feel as though I have this plate full of dreams and there is no clear focus on which one I should start with. In a panic, I expressed this to a friend and he quickly advised me that I should just focus on what I can control and all the other things will make sense and fall into place at the right time.
A week later, I found myself listening to TouchCentral this time round (wow, Gareth Cliff and Tbo Touch should just hire me as their greatest supporter lol) with the unconventional-duo-that-just-makes-sense, Arye and Katlego [Twitter: @AryeKellman and @Katlicous]. During their show they were promoting a competition by adidas as they were looking to support the next sports blogger! Immediately I thought to myself just about a week agooooooo *does the Shmurda dance*, I was listening to a podcast about blogging. It felt like a call from the universe saying: “This is your chance Neo! Take it!” – but I stopped. Contemplated. Second-guessed the situation. Pure lack of confidence. Then a little voice inside said to me: “Neo, you don’t take enough bold moves. Just do it – just enter!” I then wrote a short write-up on my concept called ConfiDance. I expressed how I felt the adidas brand embodies what I would love to do. ConfiDance hopes to be a platform that helps improve people’s confidence through dance. So, I asked adidas to help me start a blog to realize this dream because indeed – All.Day.I.Dream.About.Dance.
I closed by eyes and clicked ‘send’ and left it to the universe to decide what it wants to do with my dream.
The Call that Made Me Dance
Another day, some other random day, I get a call from Cape Town and on the line was a joyful voice that said: “Hi Neo, congratulations! You are one of the winners for the adidas Bloggers Day! We’re gonna fly you down to Cape Town and I quickly need your top, pants and shoe size…” I was like WHAAAAATTT… Me… Really?? Okay, I was taken aback because I’ve never been flown down across the country and won any competition remotely close to this level of brand association and on top of that being asked about my dress sizes! I needed to do some serious ‘calming down’ to take it in my stride.
Touch Down Cape Town
The day started at 4:00AM on a Friday morning. I was dressed-up with what I call my ‘Vintage #3Stripes with a touch of Africa’ and I was ready to receive all that the world could offer! I boarded the plane and after 2 hours it was TOUCH DOWN BABY, we are in Cape Town!
Arriving at the adidas Head Office was like entering a playground of optimal idea generation! Bliss. Meeting other people who were also honoring the brand with their #3Stripes made me feel like I was a part of something big!
What We Learned About Blogging
The program for the day started with sports blogger Ben Karpinski [www.thebounce.co.za] and he bounced off many ideas on how to start a blog! His best advice to us is to always be authentic. He challenged us to think critically about ‘What’s your thing? What can you do? What do you want to do?’. He really emphasized the importance of being YOU in this whole thing.
Next was self-professed nerd, Kelly Walden – Digital Marketing Manager for adidas. She gave us some super cool insight on how the internet has changed throughout the decades and gave us great advice on how to stand out in the digital world using free software! She also hinted that one should be a bit of a digital stalker (lol) and that it is best to always be engaging in the digital world!
Lastly, and certainly the most fabulous of them all, it was fashion blogger Aqeelah Harron [www.fashionbreed.co.za]. She shared valuable experience on how to manage your blog like a business. The most powerful statement she made was: “People think having a big following is what matters. It’s not that. It’s the work ethic and standard. That’s what brands pay for. Not just fans.” That advice alone gave me so much courage knowing that the numbers don’t matter but the person you are makes all the difference!
After that fruitful program, I was well equipped to pirouette into my aspirations of being a dance influencer using the blog platform as my Center Stage (man I love this dance movie).
The Future Sports Influencers
Take a look at all the wonderful people I met!
The day drew to an end and now it was time to say goodbye to the Mother City with a back pack filled with adidas goodies! Wow, that’s why that lovely voice asked for my dress sizes:). I landed back home with the widest smile on my face that I cannot wipe off until today. I can confidently say (or should I say ConfiDancely say *did you see what I did there* LOL) – welcome to ConfiDance! This is a platform where I share stories of confidence through dance. Are you ready to move with me?
ConfiDance note for the day: Have the ConfiDance to make a bold move each day!
Author: Neo Motshologane
Photos: By adidas [Luigi Bennett]