I’m not a zen person.
I’m what you might call entertainingly high strung.
I take many deep breaths throughout the day because I find myself…agitated.
This agitation is what initially led me to yoga.
First to Hatha yoga, which I enjoyed but only when Karen taught. Karen taught once every other week.
Then I tried Rodney Yee yoga but between trying to inhale and exhale alongside him, I got light headed.
Finally, I tried Yin yoga and discovered my soulmate workout.
Unlike other styles of yoga, yin is all about longer, slower poses (you hold a pose for anywhere from 3-5 minutes).
I mistakenly thought this would be easier than breathing with Rodney.
When you hold a pose for longer than you’re used to, it’s natural to become fidgety.
I fiddled with the waistband on my yoga pants, the underwire of my sports bra and one time, I had to pull a wedgie out of my butt.
At about my third class, the instructor said this “don’t become distracted by your clothes or the person next to you, breathe into your discomfort.”
Breathe into your discomfort…
Four little words that carry as much meaning on the mat as they do growing a business from my laptop.
You can’t trip over an inspirational quote or caption in social media without someone touting all the ways money likes speed or how good is better than great.
It’s like you won’t succeed as an entrepreneur unless you’re moving at the speed of light or hustling until your ears bleed.
I’m no stranger to the hustle and grind. In fact, it’s the excessive need to push out more, create more, doing what I do ugly, that created my agitation and sent me to the mat.
On the one hand, I created over-created, over-promoted and over-did it on so many fronts... It’s time I’ll never get back and lost opportunities I can only hope circle back my way.
On the other hand, I’m grateful because my overdoing led me to discover a way to decompress my body and mind.
A way to keep myself centered when the world is telling me who I should be, how I should be and what I should make.
Yoga taught me options.
I can either transition my body into and out of poses, with very little time in between each, alongside other sweaty mat mates.
In my business, that looks like throwing offers together without a lot of thought or research and packaging them as the world’s best fill-in-the-blank.
I can go for the slower, longer game where it seems to the outside world like I’m making little effort and progress when in fact, I’m breathing into the discomfort as I stretch and expand into new ways of thinking, creating and doing in service of my mission and people.
It’s not always easy to go against the grain.
But you’ve got to ask yourself this…
If most courses are only mildly well designed.
If most coaches are mostly hype over substance.
If most businesses say they care but won’t reply to an email or DM, maybe the speedy route isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
Today, I run my business like a session on the mat because in order to succeed from one year to the next, we need to treat our tiny businesses like a practice.
A practice of listening, understanding and synthesizing.
Listening because the noise level is super sonic. If you’re out of range, you won’t hear what your people need and you’ll have a tougher time making decisions that are best for you.
Understanding because if you don’t listen, you’ll forever ride the copy-cat merry-go-round, follow the wrong advice and make choices with no foundation to back them up.
Synthesizing because just as each twist and pose, in yoga, creates a sense of whole-being on the inside, combining your perspective, your values and your voice with what your people need and want creates a whole lotta’ appreciation, significance and recognition on the outside.
In the end, you’ve got to make the decision that’s best for you.
Take the train that’s set up to help you succeed for the long-haul versus a shuttle that abandons you midway to your final destination on some dusty, random road leaving you with no choice but to hitch a ride…and hope the driver isn’t an axe murderer.