Don’t be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor

June 22, 2023

By Jeff Becraft


Back in my Youth Corps era, one of my favorite sessions was dance night. The reason for that was because there were so many valuable leadership and life principles that came out of that night.

One of them was this: don’t be afraid to be the first one out on the dance floor.

This is what we usually see happen… say you go to a wedding… and what’s happening? People are sitting around waiting for the first person to get out on the dance floor.

This is why leadership takes courage. Because when you’re a leader, you have to make decisions, you have to make choices. And the danger is that you can make the wrong choice.

But to do something great, and to do things that are right, takes risk. Someone has to be the first person out on the dance floor.

You can talk to many business leaders who are very successful… that started businesses that were not successful.  Or look at someone like Abraham Lincoln… who had failure after failure before he became president of the United States.

It takes courage to be a leader and to do the right thing. My encouragement to us today is don’t be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor.

It is said that the greatest fear in people’s lives is the fear of public speaking. I don’t really believe that. I think the greatest fear in people’s lives is the fear of being rejected. Public speaking simply comes under that umbrella. A person is afraid to get up front and say something in front of others… because what if they’re not accepted? What if they are rejected? What if they look bad?

How often is our life hindered or something is not accomplished because… we are afraid of looking bad in front of others. That is why people wait to see who will be the first person on the dance floor. We want to see if it is safe to get out there.

We also have all been to weddings where some couple goes out there and are dancing because their song came on.  No one else is out there with them.  They seem to be totally undisturbed by it.  They are not worried about the evaluation from others.  It is a fun way to live.

So, if we want to accomplish something great in life let’s not be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor.

That’s what leaders do. And then guess what? Other people get out there with us. But it takes courage to be that first one.

It’s a great day to have a great day!


Jeff Becraft is the Interim Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].