Sometimes it’s Best to Take a Big Step Back

Greetings from Latin America!

As you can see from the pictures, above, tango lessons have begun. Our hope is to arrive in Buenos Aires with a modicum of understanding of (if not the skill and grace to perform) the tango.

It’s been great fun.

One point our instructors made (they’re the ones on the left, although I doubt you were confused…) is that when you step back it’s important to take quite a large step back so that your partner doesn’t end up crowding you and/or throwing you off balance.

This struck me as an important concept to take off the dance floor and into daily life—where it’s often quite hard to do.


Well, at least for me, the idea of taking a step back is often associated with giving up… loss of face… defeat.

After all, how often have you heard someone say, “Our winning strategy is to take a big step back.”?

That said, it can be an important choice to make.

Yes, it gives your partner more space, but it gives you more space, too: space to pivot, space to sidestep, space to adios yourself around the obstacle in question and arrive at your desired destination.

So I am writing today to remind myself—and you, if it’s helpful—to consider the benefit of taking a big step back if someone or something is throwing you off balance.

Which will leave you room to pivot to the place you want to be.


For more lessons learned from the dance floor, take a look at “Don’t Break the Connection: What Learning to Salsa Can Teach You about Teamwork”