Over the years, baseball legend Satchel Paige and iconic author Mark Twain have both been credited with the inspirational phrase, “Dance like nobody’s watching!”

It’s the soulful stuff of Internet memes and country songs, a passionate challenge for all who will hear to live with reckless abandon, regardless of who might be paying attention.

But what does it really mean? How do you truly “dance like nobody’s watchin'”?

You have to feel the rhythm… Know the beat that matches your step, the step that uniquely YOU… Feel it… Not every cadence matches yours, so know your own, hear your own, FEEL the rhythm that is yours. This is YOUR dance. Set your own beat, even if it sets you apart from everyone else on the dance floor.

Hear the music… Do you hear it? Does the sound of the song stir your soul? Are you listening to the songs that matter, or do yet the white noise and the tones of discord drown out the song that matters most?

Decide that the dance is more important than the audience, and that the opinions matter little compared to the freedom and the ecstasy of the dance. So many in this life never make it to the dance or through the dance because they fear the gaze and the gawk of critics, sloths and ignorant fools. Will they mock your dance, judge you for having the courage to step out? Probably so. But their own insecurities or jealousy should be the gates that hold them back, never you.

Finally, you have to take that first step. Only you can dance for you. So dance…

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,

Love like you’ll never be hurt.

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

By the way, it wasn’t Twain or Paige that made this phrase special. It was a quiet, unassuming educator named William Purkey. Just a normal guy, with an extraordinary challenge. So don’t let the excuse that you’re just “ordinary” keep you from dancing!